• Avoid car repair headaches, look up title history for free

    By: clark howard

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - Before you buy a used car, Channel 2's consumer adviser Clark Howard recommends making sure you get the vehicle’s title history.

    “A lot of hiccups will show up on that title history,” Howard said.

    Vehiclehistory.com allows you to access a list of vehicle recalls, problems, cost, structural damage and more.

    Enter the vehicle’s vehicle identification number and the site will give you a free report.

    Andrew Nelson said he might have avoided a repair headache with his 2011 Ford Explorer if he’d taken that step.

    The power steering in Nelson's Ford failed last month. 

    “Once you come to a complete stop, it’s almost impossible to make a turn,” Nelson said. “I called Ford Motor Co. direct, talked to a really nice lady who, after reviewing some stuff, said there was a recall. She gave me the recall number and told me just to go to any Ford dealership in the area, give them this number and everything would be fixed.”

    When Nelson took his 2011 Explorer to the dealership, he was told that the repair would not be covered under the recall because it had been serviced once before for the same problem in 2012.

    “They said that the repair cost would be about $2,500,” Nelson said. “It didn’t seem right to me.”

    Mark Rasmussen/Getty Images/Hemera

    Nelson started digging and found that the recall had not been issued on his vehicle until 2014.

    “The service manager said that doesn’t sound right, then gave me a call back, saying 'Oh, now we’ll cover it because it was under warranty, not under recall” Nelson Said. 

    Howard said that while Nelson did a great job advocating for himself, the vehicle history report could have helped him avoid the issue in the first place.

    Howard also recommends having a vehicle checked out by a mechanic before you buy it.

    “You'll eliminate a lot of cars you would think you would love otherwise,” Howard said. 

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