2018 VW Golf GTI
Marc Stern's picture

Interested In A Used Car? Finding The Right Info Through VIN Search Is The Key

If you are interested in finding out information about a potential used car, start with the VIN number search and you can see how much info it gives about your car.
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Let’s say “Old Faithful” has had it. After 250,000 miles of excellent service, your car is on the verge of cashing it all in. The front wheels are running backward; the exhaust manifold is getting tired; the valve lifters can barely support themselves, and there’s a funny noise from the engine that sounds something like a large rock being dropped regularly on the ground.

Once A GTI Buyer, Always A GTI Buyer

With all of these assorted noises – plus a few unidentifiable wheezes, clangs, whooshes and such – your 2009 Volkswagen Golf, which carried you on trips across the country; to family affairs all over, and which had your back when you were courting your bride is telling you it is definitely time for a change. Since you are a confirmed Volkswagen buyer, at least you know the brand you are most keenly interested in.

Your next course of action is figuring between a new model or a late model used. Each choice has its merits. For instance, the new car:

  • Is new
  • Has low miles
  • Has the latest and greatest safety and tech
  • Has only one owner, you

The late model used car (anything from 2015 on is considered late model):

  • Is already “broken in” in that it has had its first major service appointments completed
  • Is less expensive than a new model
  • May be part of the Certified Preowned program
  • Has many later safety and tech features installed

Consumer Stays With VW Product

So, okay, you’ve looked at the pros and cons of both schools of thought and have come down on the side of a late model used Volkswagen. And, since you have liked Golf GTIs for the last few years, you further decide that you want a VW Golf GTI. It all makes sense. But, now comes the interesting part where do you buy it and how much should you pay for it?

Now it becomes a bit more complicated, but not as complicated as you may think. With the wealth of data available to you online, figuring out exactly which VW Golf GTI is easy. Indeed, one of the options is CarVertical.com. Using the features of this site, you can find out any information you need to make your buying decision much more straightforward. Indeed, you can see the depth of information about a GTI or GTIs, easily. Here’s an example of the type of information you need, Sample CarVertical report.

And, with this information in hand, you can begin to sort through the Volkswagen Golf GTIs that are available on such sites as Kelly Blue Book site., Autotrader Information Site., or Cars Auto Information Site.

Each of these sites offers a wealth of information about the many VW Golf GTIs that are available. CarVertical helps you further by enabling you to obtain completely free VIN checks of the GTIs you are interested in, so you can see the condition the cars are in.

Further, by taking advantage of the completely free VIN (vehicle identification number) checks the condition of the vehicle becomes immediately apparent so that you winnow down the number of possibilities available.

Data Site Adds To Possibilities

There’s more to the options offered by CarVertical information site. as well. For instance, aside from the completely free VIN checks, you can also get a look at the car specifications by VIN. With this feature, you can compare GTIs side by side so that you can obtain full looks at some of the more surprising GTIs that are available.

Here’s a for-instance that should help to explain this. Let's say that after your completely free VIN check using the CarVertical site that you have what looks like eight solid contenders ranging in years from 2015 to 2018. After you run the car specs check on each vehicle, you should begin to see points where they vary.

For example, one of the reports that you receive shows that the 2015 GTI that looks promising at a local car sales site has more than 100,000 miles on the odometer. Now, that’s not a super problem because GTIs are tough vehicles that can easily hit 200,000 miles. However, since the VW has more than 150,000 miles in four years – which is admittedly very high – you can easily discount that particular vehicle.

Next, let’s say that the completely free VIN check shows a 2017 GTI with about 50,000 miles on the odometer at another dealership near you. Indeed, that is perfect mileage for the age range of the vehicles you are seeking. However, the car specification check by VIN also shows something rather interesting. At 15,000 miles, there was an accident reported on that GTI. A little research shows that the vehicle was involved in a two-car crash that pitted the front right of the GTI that looks interesting and a Honda Pilot. Right there, given the size difference of the vehicles, it is possible that there could be underlying damage that may make the GTI suspect as a solid purchase. So, there’s another of the eight vehicles that are no longer in the picture.

And, now you are down to four candidates, one 2016, and models from 2017, 2015, and 2018. Looking at the various possibilities against which you can compare, you find that there may be a title problem with the 2015 model. It seems that the title may be a “salvage” title that has to be “reformed.” A salvage title implies that there might be a significant problem the title on the vehicle. Again, a completely free VIN check can confirm that there might be a problem or there might not be. At any rate, it can quickly disqualify this entry, which leaves models from 2016, 2017, and 2018.

More Interesting Data Turns Up

Again, looking at the completely free VIN checks, you begin to see other issues that might disqualify the 2016 and 2017 models. The completely free VIN check shows that the 2016’s mileage may be a tad high, while the same examination indicates that there is a different repair issue with the 2017 model that will probably disqualify it as well.

And, there you have it. With a little bit of work and some understanding, you have found the perfect model for you. And, best of all, one last check using the completely free VIN check, showed that the 2018 is a covered by the Certified Pre-Owned Program by VW which gives you a 12-month or 12,000-mile limited used car warranty, plus a multipoint engine check.

Oh, and the best price for the GTI will be whatever you and the current owner work out.

Marc Stern is a general reporter for Torque News who also writes extensively on the Volkswagen companies. You can follow him on Facebook or on Twitter


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