CARFAX Europe Glossary - Explanation of Terminology Used

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Imported cars from USA

The United States has exported near 2 million units of cars in 2013. Traditionally, the United States was an importer of vehicles, but since the interest in US cars rose sharply in the last couple of years the tables slowly seem to turn.

Vin Check

A ‘’VIN Check’’ is basically a background check for used vehicles in the automotive industry. But what is a VIN? VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number and is the unique serial number for every vehicle on the road since 1981. The VIN is used to describe the unique facts and details of a vehicle such as color, make, date of registration etc... By a concept called VIN Decoding, consumers are able to uncover large amounts of information regarding the vehicle of their interest.

Vehicle History

Used cars often have a negative history. A history of that might include mileage rollback, car theft, salvage titles or scrapping that any consumer would prefer to avoid at all cost. In case of such a history, consumers often lose significant amounts of money due to expensive reparations and inspections, not to mention the over-pay on the vehicle and overestimation of the residual value.

Vehicle tax

The vehicle tax is the amount of tax that is paid annually to the taxing authority for a particular vehicle. The amount of tax owed is set by a schedule in each country and will vary from vehicle to vehicle. The tax rate is of importance to consumers as it can be a significant factor in the overall annual cost to own and operate a vehicle.

Different units for meter reading

This phrase is used to describe a situation involving a used vehicle that has been exported from a country with a different unit of measurement for distance traveled. A typical example is when used cars are exported from the U.S. and imported into Europe. In the time spent in the United States, most vehicles’ odometers record the distance a vehicle has been driven in miles. Sometimes when the vehicle is exported from the U.S. and imported into Europe, the odometer is altered to display the distance traveled in the local unit of measurement: kilometers.

Number of Owners

Knowing the number and type of previous owners can be as important as knowing the number of miles the used car was driven.  Many experts indicate that vehicles with fewer owners, who only used the vehicle for private, use are the best to buy. They believe these vehicles are generally better maintained, have less mileage and may require fewer costly repairs in the long run.

Number of odometer readings

Every vehicle has an odometer that tracks the number of kilometers (or miles) the vehicle has been driven. At different stages in a car’s life, for example during inspections or service maintenances, this mileage or odometer reading is noted down. Service and repair shops do this as one of the ways to verify a vehicle. The odometer reading is also always recorded upon a transfer of title for the vehicle.

Coupling Device

Over the lifetime of a vehicle, many modifications and add-ons are possible to be made. One of the most common is the addition of a coupling device. Essentially, this is an attachment which allows a trailer of some kind to be pulled by the vehicle. While some vehicles come with this pre-installed at the factory, there are many which are added at a later time. For example, perhaps the original owner had no use for a coupling device and another owner found it necessary.

Average Mileage

Just like there are many different types of vehicles on the road, there are also many different types of drivers. Some of them use their vehicles infrequently, while others use their vehicles all day, every day. This variation in vehicle usage can be measured through the mileage which is put on a vehicle’s odometer. Vehicle mileage is one of the top determining factors which can “age” a vehicle. While there is no indication whether a vehicle’s mileage was accumulated while driving in a city or on a highway, there is other information which can be assumed.

Loan Reported

These days, it’s possible to finance the purchase of just about anything. After buying a house or apartment, the purchasing of vehicles is the number one reason many people take out loans. In many cases, buying a vehicle is a big investment, and not everyone has the cash on hand to buy a car outright. Or even if they do, sometimes people choose to finance a vehicle anyways. Nevertheless, when buying a used car, it’s important to inform yourself about the financial history of the vehicle. This can help protect yourself from potential problems after completing the purchase.