Tag Archives: inspections

repo vehicle

5 Things to Look for in Online Auto Photos

When you’re browsing for clean or salvage title cars for sale, you have no choice but to rely on the information and photos provided. The quickest way to get an overall idea of each vehicle’s condition is by looking at the images. You can learn a lot from these pictures, including what the interior and exterior look like. However, there are things you can miss if you’re not careful. 

To help you select the best repo car for your budget, here are five things to look for in online auto photos.

1. Check for pooling liquids.  

Look at the ground under and around the vehicle. Is it dry? Or do you notice spots of pooling liquid? It’s not always possible to see this, and even if you do, the liquid may be from another vehicle. That said, pooling water or oil can indicate a serious mechanical problem so it’s important to check up on it. 

2. Look over the engine. 

Check for photos of the engine, and if there aren’t any available, ask for them. You’ll want to know if engine damage, corroded connections or missing parts are a problem. Repossessions are sold as is, so any engine issues are your responsibility to fix. Unfortunately, some people tamper with the engines when they know their vehicle is going to be repossessed. 

3. Locate the keys. 

If you plan on driving the vehicle off the lot, you’ll need a set of keys. The best way to check for them is to see if they’re physically present in the photos. A lot of times, the keys are hanging around the steering wheel. Other times, they’re held in an office to prevent theft. If you do need to replace the keys, budget roughly $100-$400 a set. 

4. Follow up on panel gaps.

Panel gaps don’t always indicate serious damage, but they are worth looking into, especially if the listing mentions “damage history” or “partial repair.” For example, a panel gap between the front panel and hood may mean that the vehicle was in a front-end collision that resulted in frame damage. 

5. Make sure the wheels match up. 

One last thing to check is the wheels. Many repossessed vehicles are not properly maintained, so it’s common to need new tires. But, some tire problems can indicate a more serious problem. For instance, misaligned wheels may be a sign of a bent or broken axle that will make the car inoperable.  

At RepoFinder, we always recommend having an inspection done. It’s best to search for repossessions in your local area so that you can visit them in person. However, if you find a vehicle you love but can’t inspect it yourself, hire a third party service. This way, you’ll have the clarity you need to make a confident and competitive offer. 

man looking at vin in car

Buying a Repo: What Does a VIN Lookup Tell You?

If you’re interested in buying a repo car or truck, you can learn a lot of information from the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). A VIN is a unique code given to every vehicle when it’s manufactured. It contains 17 letters and numbers that can be found on the vehicle’s dashboard on the driver’s side. The numbers may seem random, but each section gives information on the vehicle’s origin.

Here at RepoFinder, we always remind car shoppers to inspect the vehicles they plan on purchasing. There are many great repos out there, but you have to do your research! The VIN is a good place to start. You can use this free tool from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to check if the car is subject to a recall. 

Breaking Down a VIN 

VIN information is organized into groups. By looking at each section, you can get a lot of information on a vehicle. For detailed charts breaking down the meaning of each digit and letter, visit driving-tests.org

  • First letter or digit. The first letter identifies the country of origin. For example, cars made in the U.S. start with a 1, 4 or 5, whereas cars made in Canada begin with a 2. Letters may also be used to indicate a country, as is the case with England (“S”), Germany (“W”) and South Korea (“K”). 
  • Second letter. The next letter tells you about the manufacturer. In some cases, the letter stands for the manufacturer’s name – “A” for Audi, “B” for BMW and “G” for General Motors. However, this isn’t always consistent because the letter “A” can also refer to Jaguar or Mitsubishi. 
  • Third digit. The third number, when combined with the first two letters and numbers, tells you the vehicle’s type. 
  • Numbers 4-9. The next set of numbers describes the vehicle’s model, body type, restraint system, transmission type and engine code. 
  • Number 9. This number is the check digit, which is used to detect invalid VINs. 
  • Numbers 10-17. The next group of numbers indicates the vehicle identifier section. For example, Number 10 is the model year, Number 11 is the manufacturing plant and the last six numbers are the production sequence numbers. 

VIN Checks are Free

Now that you have the basics on what a VIN stands for, you can get to work checking the VINs of the repos you’re looking at. You can run a VIN check for free, but this will only provide you with basic information on the car. We still recommend talking to the bank or credit union that has possession of the vehicle and doing a thorough inspection. For a full list of bank repos in your area, visit RepoFinder.com

how to get a repossessed truck

3 Steps to Buying a Repo Truck

Are you interested in buying a repossessed truck? 

It’s easier than you might think! 

Plus, buying a repo truck is a great way to get the vehicle you want at a price you can afford. Banks and credit unions often have lists of repossessions on their websites that include new trucks, old trucks, compact trucks, mid-to full-size trucks and more. Some of these repossessions are in great shape and ready for a new owner.

Here are three simple steps to buying a repossessed truck – or any vehicle for that matter!

Step 1: Browse the Listings.

The first step is to find a truck that meets your needs. Because it can be tiresome to search through all the local banks and credit unions in your area, use a tool like RepoFinder.com. This free tool allows you to search for banks that are selling repossessions. Choose your state and click on the bank names to start your search. 

Step 2: Make an Offer. 

Once you’ve found a repo truck, you can make an offer. Usually, the banks already have a price in mind that is based on the truck’s book value or recent appraisal. Don’t be afraid to offer less. Banks just want to get rid of repossessions and recoup their losses. 

Typically, offers are made in the form of bids. Some bids are open, where you can see what other people are offering, and other bids are closed. Open bidding is most common because this allows people to compete against each other and win the highest bid. If your offer isn’t accepted, don’t get discouraged. There are plenty of repossessed trucks that need owners! 

Step 3: Complete the Inspection.

Most lenders allow bidders to do an inspection of the vehicle. If you’re not sure what to look for, bring along someone who does. Once you buy the truck, it’s your responsibility, so you want to know what you’re getting into. 

Below you’ll find some of the things we recommend inspecting or testing. You can find more detailed information on what to look for when buying a used vehicle in this article

  • Heating/cooling
  • Brakes 
  • Power steering 
  • Windows and locks
  • Tires, battery and air filter 
  • Signals, brake lights, reverse lights, headlights 

Also, pay attention to signs of water damage or rust. Severe water damage can leave the truck totaled. Repairing or fixing rust is expensive and generally not a cost you’ll want to incur. 

In the end, buying a repossession is a lot like buying a truck from a dealership and a private seller. You get assistance with the financing and paperwork while have the power to negotiate. For a full list of repossessions in your area, visit RepoFinder.com today.