Copy down the car's VIN number. This is the number printed on the car's dashboard, right near the windshield. It also is on the side of the door frame. If you are looking at cars online or in classified ads and don't have access to it, ask the dealer or private seller for the VIN. If they don't want to give it to you, that is a red flag. Buy a car report before you go any further.
Log on to the National Insurance Crime Bureau website or another car site that offers a totally free VIN check or car report.
Enter the car's VIN into the box where it says, "get your free VIN check" and click submit. You will see the free VIN check on the screen. If there is a theft or salvage title it will be reported here. If not, there will be no instances reported.
Review the report and then buy the complete vehicle history to check up on accidents, oil changes, review the mileage and then make a final decision on the car.