How to Conduct an Alabama Vehicle Title Search
Running an Alabama vehicle title search is fast, easy and relatively inexpensive. The entire process can be completed online in a matter of minutes, using your laptop, tablet or smart phone. It is essential to conduct a vehicle title search before purchasing any used vehicle, whether from a recognized car dealer or a private seller. The results of the search will provide detailed information about the history of the vehicle, including previous owners, mileage, and a record of any damage the vehicle has sustained. This information is held in a national vehicle database built to protect consumers from buying illegal or potentially unsafe vehicles. All you need to get started is a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
Finding Your Alabama VIN Number
Every vehicle in the United States has a unique, 17-digit identification number known as a VIN, which is assigned when the vehicle is manufactured. This number is the only information you will need to conduct your Alabama vehicle title search. In most vehicles, the VIN can be found on the driver’s side dashboard where it meets the windshield, printed on a fixed metal plate. This VIN plate is sometimes also found on the driver’s side door.
How to Run an Alabama Vehicle Check?
Conducting an Alabama vehicle title check will give you access to what is known as a vehicle history report. Consumers need this information to make sure the vehicle they are purchasing is not stolen or unsafe to drive. Any person selling a used vehicle is legally required to disclose this information to potential buyers. Unfortunately, not all sellers are as forthcoming with information that may scare buyers off as they should be. In extreme cases, sellers may actively seek to mislead buyers by concealing serious safety issues. By conducting an Alabama vehicle title search, you can make sure you know what you are getting for your money.
What Information is Listed on an Alabama Vehicle Title?
Vehicle title reports list the following information, which should also be present on the physical copy of the vehicle’s title (or ownership documents):
- The current owner’s full name and address (this can be used to check that the person selling the vehicle truly owns it)
- The make, model and manufacturing year of the vehicle
- The license plate number
- Details of previous owners and sales
In addition, the Alabama vehicle title report may include “brands”. These are essentially markers which tell you a bit more about the history of the vehicle, such as whether it has ever been rebuilt or subject to water damage. Keep in mind that any vehicle branded as ‘salvage’ cannot be registered or driven on public roads.
Alabama Vehicle Title Definitions
- Clear – This is the result all used car buyers hope for; it indicates that the vehicle has no negative history or potential safety issues.
- Custom/ Replica – This indicates that the vehicle has been altered since manufacturing. While it does not mean the vehicle is unsafe, you should obtain details of all deviations from the manufacturers original design.
- Gray Market – Vehicles with this brand have been manufactured outside the United States. This may mean the vehicle cannot be legally registered here.
- Salvage – This means that the vehicle has been wrecked or damaged to the degree that the cost of repairs outweighs its value. Salvage vehicles can be resold, providing they have been rebuilt.
- Rebuilt – These vehicles previously carried the “salvage” brand but have been rebuilt and have passed all relevant safety checks.
- Junk – This brand means the vehicle is unsafe and cannot legally be driven on US highways. These vehicles cannot be used for anything other than scrap.
Above are some common vehicle title brands to look out for when conducting your Alabama vehicle title search.
Where to conduct an Alabama vehicle title check
Title checks can be run on all kinds of vehicles, including passenger cars, motorhomes, pick-ups, motorcycles and buses. There is usually a small fee involved which may be as little as a few dollars, depending on the search facility used. Whichever search facility you choose, the data you are presented with will be the same; it is a federal requirement that all VIN search facilities access the National Motor Vehicle Information System.