In the 21st century, neither gold nor diamonds are the most valuable commodity. Reliable, proven and credible information is the most desired thing. That is why AutoDNA reports are so popular among drivers. How do you read such a report? Why is it worth ordering and how much can it help you earn? In a moment this will all be made clear.
What’s a VIN decoder?
It’s a website that lets you know the detailed history of a specific car. Decoders obtain information from many sources. Many of them are unavailable to an ordinary person. The most popular Polish VIN decoder is autodna.pl, which has been operating for over 10 years now; it is the leader in Europe and one of the leading websites of this type in the world.
What can you learn from the AutoDNA report?
To paraphrase the title of Woody Allen’s comedy: with the AutoDNA report you’ll learn everything you wanted to know about your car but had no one to ask about it.
For example, the report can tell you:
- how much mileage, on average, you can expect from cars of a given year,
- whether the vehicle was stolen,
- if the car has a history that suggests trouble.
What information in the report is the most valuable?
It is certainly the information which couldn’t be obtained otherwise, or which would require, for example, the expertise of an experienced car mechanic, a service worker or an appraiser. In a word, in the case of such info you either need the report or a person with access to expert systems, who is able to read and correctly interpret the data contained therein or determine, for example, the mileage of a vehicle by testing worn parts in the car. This concerns two things in particular:
1) Accident/collision information pertaining to the vehicle. You can find it in the following sections:
- the Vehicle history section, as “damage history”: this data refers to the damage which has been registered,
- the photos in the Archived photos of the vehicle section,
- the Equipment section which lists the elements the car had when it was brand new,
- and finally, the Price history section which will show you any significant changes in the car price. A sudden change in the price may suggest an accident and repairs.
2) Information determining whether or not the car was ever reported stolen.You can find it in the Stolen Vehicle Database section. We use over a dozen databases to make sure the overview presented is as comprehensive as possible.
Autodna.com does not guarantee that the vehicle was never stolen even if it does not appear in any stolen vehicle database.
What other information should you pay attention to?
Of all the information available in the report, the following deserves the utmost attention:
1) The time gap between the date of manufacture and the date of the first registration of the car. A gap longer than 6 months means something is wrong. Why is this information so important? Presenting the model year as the manufacture year is a common practice in the second-hand car market. As a result, the vehicle is overpriced. You probably won’t know that you’re being asked to pay too much until you have the car professionally evaluated, for example with a VIN decoder.
2) The average mileage you can expect from cars of the same year and the same engine version as yours. If you notice that the tested car clearly stands out from the average in this respect, i.e. its mileage is much lower, it means that the odometer has been reset. In case of new cars (e.g. up to 3 years old) which don’t have a service book, do not undergo periodic inspections, and aren’t subjected to administrative work (or when the autoDNA report doesn’t include the exact mileage), this section will allow you to estimate the correct number of kilometres on the clock nevertheless.
3) Last enquiries. This is a very interesting section of the report. It is here that you can learn who viewed the information about the given car and ordered the AutoDNA report on it, when they did it and where from.
Frequent data searches should raise your suspicion because they may indicate that the car is constantly changing its owner or that it still hasn’t been sold because the potential buyers resigned when the report warned them that the car was faulty.
What other information will help you decide?
In addition to the aforementioned data, the following sections will also help you make an informed decision:
1) Archived photos of the vehicle You will appreciate this section when it shows you that an allegedly undamaged vehicle was, in fact, damaged pretty badly. What’s more, archived photos can tell you whether the car was well maintained.
2) Vehicle history. Here you’ll find odometer readings, damage history and price history (past prices of the vehicle displayed on various advertising or auction sites).
3) Information regarding the vehicle: its brand, model, vehicle type, body and engine, manufacturer’s country of origin, model year, gearbox type, steering, etc. Any deviation from the facts should give you food for thought. What can you learn from this section? For example, it can tell you whether the given vehicle was a right-hand drive car in the past and whether it was chiptuned.
4) Equipment information, which can be compared with the actual condition of the vehicle. Particular attention should be paid to any discrepancies in the factual state of such elements as varnish, upholstery or glass colour, number of air bags or the type of air conditioning.
How much money can you save with the report?
The answer is relatively simple.
Firstly, thanks to the AutoDNA report you’ll save roughly as much as you would have to spend on repairs of the faults that the previous owner of the car didn’t tell you about.
Secondly, knowing whether the vehicle hasn’t been stolen, you are more likely to rest easy and not be stressed by the risk of losing both the money and the car.
One more thing:
If you’re buying a car from:
- The Netherlands
- or Estonia
We have great news for you! You can download an additional report for vehicles from the countries listed above. The information contained therein will allow you to fully reconstruct the history of the car you are interested in. This report is prepared on the basis on data derived from Central Vehicle Registries and drivers from the aforementioned countries.
Where to start?
If you want to access the report, visit autodna.com and enter the 17-digit VIN number. Basic information about the vehicle is free. Before buying the access, you’ll see a table showing you which sections are present in a given version of the report.