Car Ownership History That Affects the Buying Process

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If you're considering a used vehicle imported from the US, don't just ask how many miles it has – ask how many owners it's had, too.

That's the advice from experts who say second hand cars that have had only one owner may be in better shape than cars that have had multiple owners. Many one-owner cars are relatively new, have fewer miles on them and less overall wear and tear. While these cars may cost a bit more, the chances of a new owner having to unexpectedly pay for major repairs could decrease dramatically.

This one-owner preference has helped drive many car buying decisions, according to a recent study. Nearly nine out of 10 shoppers said they find it important to know how many owners a car has had. In addition, nearly 80% said they were more likely to purchase a car identified as having one owner than they were to purchase a car that had multiple owners. Two out of three shoppers are even willing to pay more for a one-owner vehicle.

Checking Used Car Ownership History

To verify an imported used car's ownership history, a good place to start is with a CARFAX Vehicle History Report. With data collected from 34,000 sources throughout the US, CARFAX's reports give a detailed timeline of a used car's ownership, and clearly indicate whether a vehicle has had one or multiple owners. The reports may also indicate whether a car has been in an accident, flood or fire, or if it has been totaled and rebuilt.

In addition to running a report on any car you consider buying, it's important to talk to the seller about the car's previous owner. Find out why the owner is selling the car in the first place and ask if the seller can show you proof that the vehicle you are considering is a one-owner vehicle. Make sure you ask for a CARFAX Vehicle History Report.

If you are buying from a private seller, ask all the questions you would normally ask a dealer, but also ask for the seller's address and phone number. If he or she is not willing to provide that information, walk away from the deal. You can get a CARFAX Report yourself at