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The average transaction price for a used vehicle in 2020 is expected to top $21,000, a record high, according to Edmunds.com. In 2019, the automotive research site reported nearly 41 million used cars, SUV’s and trucks were sold at an average price of $20,600.

With so much money at stake, your Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals (NARPRO) want to help you avoid being taken for a ride. A vehicle inspection performed by a certified mechanic before you buy can reveal:

  • Problems with the body, frame and engine.
  • Fluid leaks and electrical and mechanical issues.
  • Overdue maintenance and recalls.
  • Poor repair work, fire and flood damage.

As a potential buyer, you’ll also want to check the vehicle’s history. The Department of Justice’s National Motor Vehicle Title Information System offers information about a vehicle’s title, odometer data and certain damage history. Expect to pay up to $4 per report.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) offers a free service to determine whether a vehicle has been reported stolen, but not recovered. The NICB says vehicle cloning is a lucrative crime. For less than $2,000 a criminal can use a computer, printer and engraving pen to counterfeit a vehicle’s numbers, stickers, labels and titles.

Here’s how the NICB says cloning works:

  • Criminals copy a vehicle identification number (VIN) from a legally owned and documented vehicle. The copied VIN is used to create VIN tags.
  • Criminals steal a vehicle similar to one with the legitimate VIN. The stolen vehicle’s true VIN is replaced with the counterfeit VIN, making the stolen vehicle a ‘clone’ of the original.
  • Criminals often cross state and international borders to sell to unsuspecting buyers, typically using counterfeit ownership documents.
  • Because most licensing agencies don’t check for duplicate ownership when an out-of-state ownership document is surrendered, the odds of discovery are low.
  • If you buy a ‘cloned’ vehicle and it is discovered, the car you bought will be confiscated and returned to the original owner of the insurance company.

 

For a complete checklist on used car use our Vehicle Purchase Checklist

NARPRO (Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals)

The Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals (NARPRO) helps car owners find skilled and honest car repair shops. NARPRO only recommends independent, family-owned, full-service auto repair shops that have passed 26 rigorous tests. Visit www.NARPRO.com to find recommended shops near work or home. NARPRO is the easiest way to find an honest mechanic in the Valley.