How many times have you gone shopping for a used car and wondered if the person selling the vehicle is being honest, e.g., has the car been in a crash? are the miles on the odometer correct? I think you get the point. It really can be a crap shoot and honestly your gut feeling is usually your only means of direction in these deals.
One very cool thing I learned about toyota is that all body panels, doors, hood and trunk from the factory come with a vin number tag AND these vin numbers should all match the main vin number on the dash.
If they are not the same or the vin number sticker is missing that means one of two things.
- If the vin is present, but doesn’t match, that part has been replaced with a part from a donor vehicle, e.g., a car from a junk yard.
- If the vin number isn’t present, the part has been replaced with an OEM replacement.
My buddy that works for Toyota told me the all new replacement body parts from Toyota do NOT have vin numbers on them. I would assume any part from any other distributor wouldn’t either — at least not a matching one for sure.
So what does all this mean?
If the vin numbers don’t match that means that body part has been replace due to accident or whatever. Regardless, this only driven to church on Sunday vehicle has been in a fender bender and as such the price should reflect that.
It doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy the car, but it does means you should pay close attention to how it was fixed, if it’s going to affect drive-ability, longevity, etc.
Toyota makes really great cars, and as such, demand is higher which means you will pay a premium to own and drive one. That also means unscrupulous rip off artists are prevalent. My hope is that by paying special attention to the small details, you can avoid getting ripped off.
As the old adage goes: “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is!”
I hope this has been helpful. I’ll end my buying a Toyota Series by wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!