Used Car Inspections

Title Fraud and Title Cleaning

When purchasing a vehicle, check the title for any "remarks" on the title that will denote problems such as:

  1. Reconditioned
  2. Salvage
  3. Flood
  4. Theft recovery
  5. Stolen
  6. True miles unknown
  7. Exceeds mechanical limitations
  8. Out of state title

Remarks such as these above are causes for alarm. Also, be aware of the limitations of a CARFAX vehicle title report.

A vehicle with a "Recondition" or Salvage" title has been rebuilt from the junk yard. These vehicles have been declared a total loss and not repairable. These vehicles should be sold to salvage yards for parts. However, many totaled vehicles were never give a "Recondition" or Salvage" title. "Curbstoners and unethical dealers and repair shops buy these totaled vehicles and cosmetically repair the damage.

Other remarks such on a title such as Flood, Theft recovery, Stolen, True miles unknown, Exceeds mechanical limitations, or Out of state titles can be types of "Reconditioned" or Salvage" vehicles. While these cars with these titles may look good, many are structurally and mechanically unsound and worth only a fraction of book value.

Caution: Titles which contain the above discrepancies can be "washed" or "cleaned" by simply transferring the title to another state that does not include discrepancies on the title. A professional inspection will detect these discrepancies even if the title has been "cleaned."

NOTE: The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) has 17 alpha numerical characters. (The letters "I", "O", and "Q" never appear in a VIN.)

Always look at the title for remarks. However, a professional mechanical, electrical, and frame inspection from will determine the vehicle's true condition regardless if the title has been "Cleaned".

You cannot negotiate your best deal until you know the EXACT condition of every component and system.

Here is more information to help you buy a good used car:

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