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Research - Vehicle History

What is a Vehicle History Report?

A Vehicle History Report is the easiest way to research the history of a vehicle. It gathers all of a vehicle's insurance* and DMV records into one place. At a glance, you can tell if there are major accidents*, odometer problems, flood damage issues or if the vehicle is a lemon.

As you conduct your research for your next used vehicle purchase, you should consider obtaining one of these reports on any vehicle you are interested in. Each company that provides these reports offers a free records or VIN check feature (these features advise you on how many records there might be for a particular vehicle, not what those records actually represent). You will need to purchase the actual vehicle history report to obtain further information or clarification**.

With this additional information in hand, you can make a more informed buying decision to help you negotiate the best deal possible.

Click on an image below to begin your vehicle history check.

* Insurance and accident data might not be available from every state, please check the provider’s website for an up-to-date list.
** Please check the provider’s website for up to date information and fee structure.

Research - Used Vehicle Values

Find out how much your vehicle is worth now. It’s fast, easy and FREE! Simply click on one of the below links to find the most up-to-date retail and trade-in pricing and information for your vehicle.


Established in 1926, Blue Book has become one of the nation's leading sources for used vehicle pricing information.


NADA (National Automobile Dealer's Association) is the nation's largest publisher of used car and truck value guides. With headquarters on the East and West Coasts, NADA guides provide the most up-to-date used car retail and trade-in pricing information for anyone looking to buy or sell a used vehicle.


Since 1955, Black Book has published a guidebook for consumers to quickly find the latest wholesale prices direct from auto auctions. Used vehicle prices displayed in Black Book are updated within 10 days of an auction.

Don’t Fall Victim to Natural Disasters

Don’t Fall Victim to Natural Disasters

Here's How to Protect Yourself

Though the terrible winds and rains have passed for now, law enforcement officials insist that the danger of Natural Disasters is not yet over violent storms and other disasters hit the United States all the time and this can lead to fraud and potential health hazards in the resale of vehicles damaged in them.

Insurance companies often crush these cars that were damaged beyond repair, but the rest, as routinely happens after disasters will simply be sent to other states for resale. After all, different state laws make it easy to obtain a clean title in one state for a vehicle that has been given a "flood" or "salvage" title in another.

The damage done by these disasters are anything but typical. Vehicles can sit for days in fuel and sewage contaminated floodwaters as they did in New Orleans. They could have been turned into biohazards on wheels, according to the non-profit Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair.

Let the buyer beware.

It is more important than ever that consumers look into the histories of used cars they are considering for purchase, as well as carefully examining them for any signs of water or other serious damage.

In the case of hurricane and flood damaged cars the dangers have been spelled out by the Committee and include a warning that contaminated sludge could be present in a vehicles doors, gas tanks, rocker panels or frame rails. Dangerous pathogens like E. coli could also have found a home in interior trim and carpets.

The number of cars typically damaged in these disasters guarantees that the risk could spread far and wide. Vehicle "History Check" companies, estimates that more than a half million cars may have been damaged by Katrina alone, and Louisiana officials admit that 300,000 of those may have been from New Orleans proper.

Help is available, however. The National Insurance Crime Bureau currently lists more than 60,000 damaged vehicles on a registry posted to their web site. To track the history of a vehicle on the NICB website, consumers simply enter a vehicles 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (or VIN) to find out whether it is among those listed as damaged by these natural disasters.

The Crime Bureau, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting auto theft and insurance fraud typically works with the States to develop and maintain the vehicle registry database. Though it will never be totally complete, the database grows larger every day.

Before considering the purchase of a used automobile, we highly recommend that you perform a free vehicle records check using the tools provided on our website and then consider whether you want to purchase a full vehicle history. Although the information contained in these databases is not perfect, it can afford you an added level of comfort about your next used car purchase.

Access to Your Credit Bureau Reports

Access to Your Credit Bureau Reports

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months (This credit report does not include your credit score). The FCRA promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nation’s consumer reporting companies. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces the FCRA with respect to consumer reporting companies. 

The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have set up a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address through which you can order your free annual report. 

To order your free report annual credit report, visit annualcreditreport.com , call 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Do not contact the three nationwide consumer reporting companies for your free report. 

To purchase a copy of your credit report, contact any of the listed bureau companies below. A consumer reporting company charges you $9.50 or greater for an additional copy of your report within a 12-month period. 

Under federal law, you’re also entitled to a free report if a company takes adverse action against you such as denying your application for credit, insurance, or employment and you ask for your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. The notice will give you the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting company. You’re also entitled to one free report a year if you’re unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you’re on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft. 

  • Under state law, consumers in Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont already have free access to their credit reports.
  • States may enforce the FCRA, and many states have their own consumer reporting laws. In some cases, you may have more rights under state law. For more information, contact your state or local consumer protection agency or your state Attorney General.

click here to obtain a copy of your credit report
To order your report, call: 800-685-1111 or write: 
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 
Hearing impaired call 1-800-255-0056 and ask the operator to call the Auto 
Disclosure Line at 1-800-685-1111 to request a copy of your report. 

click here to obtain a copy of your credit report 
To order your report, call: 888-EXPERIAN (397-3742) or write: 
P.O. Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013 


click here to obtain a copy of your credit report
To order your report, call: 800-888-4213 or write: 
P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022 

What is a credit score? 

A credit score is a term used to refer to credit bureau risk scores. It broadly refers to a number generated by a statistical model, which is used to objectively evaluate information that pertains to making a credit decision. Your credit card history; amount of outstanding debt; the type of credit you use; negative information such as bankruptcies or late payments; collection accounts and judgments; too little credit history and too many credit lines with the maximum amount borrowed are all included in credit-scoring models to determine your credit score. The most widely used credit score is called FICO for Fair Issac Co., which developed it.  

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Understanding your credit report 

To have a complete picture of your credit history, it is important to get a credit report from all three reporting agencies. Since credit reporting is a voluntary system, and creditors may subscribe to only one agency, it is best not to assume the information will be the same on all three reports.

A credit report is basically divided into four sections: identifying information, credit history, public records and inquiries.

  • Identifying Information:  This information identifies you. Review this information to ensure it is accurate. Any variations will stay on your credit report and could complicate loan applications. Other information might include your current and previous addresses, your date of birth, telephone numbers, driver's license number, your employer and your spouse's name.  
  • Credit History: Each account will include the name of the creditor and the account number, which may be scrambled for security purposes. You may have more than one account from a creditor. Many creditors have more than one kind of account, or if you move, they transfer your account to a new location and assign a new number. The entry will also include:
    • When you opened the account
    • The kind of credit (installment, such as a mortgage or car loan, or revolving, such as a department store credit card)
    • Whether the account is in your name alone or with another person
    • Total amount of the loan, high credit limit or highest balance on the card
    • How much you still owe
    • Fixed montly payments or minimum monthly amount
    • Status of the account (open, inactive, closed, paid, etc.)
    • How well you've paid the account
    • Public Record:  This cites financial-related data, such as bankruptcies, judgments and tax liens.
    • Inquires: Inquires are divided into two sections. Hard inquiries are initiated by filling out a credit application. Soft inquiries are from companies that want to send out promotional information to a pre-qualified group or from current creditors who are monitoring your account.

    Once you review your credit reports, any mistakes should be reported to the reporting agency.

    Obtain your credit report now!

    Research - Rebate or Low Financing

    Taking the Guesswork Out of Saving MoneyIt’s a question that has perplexed car buyers for some time. Which to choose: the manufacturer’s rebate or low financing? Fortunately, Prestige Motors Tampa can help you take the guesswork out of saving money.

    In the salesroom, of course, the choice has never been easy. You’ve taken your time to decide just what kind of car you want, what options, even what color. You’ve taken a test drive or two, and are confident that you know what you want.

    Now it’s time to make the deal. The sales agent takes out a contract and begins asking questions. It’s all going well until he turns to you with a big smile and asks, “Which do you prefer, 0% financing, or the rebate of $2,500?”

    They both sound enticing; it’s tough to beat 0% financing, but it’s also nice to get a portion of the price taken right off the top. So how do you decide which is the better option for your wallet?

    The real question, of course, is what is the total amount that you will pay over the life of the loan? Will all the payments, plus that low (or no) interest, add up to more or less than a loan for a lesser amount (after rebate) at a slightly higher rate of financing? Over the life of a loan that will last several years, the answer does matter, and Prestige Motors Tampa can help you determine which option is the right answer.

    To determine which option is best for you, click on the “Financing Calculators ,” located in the right hand column, under “Tips and Advice.” Then click on “Which is Better: A Rebate or Special Financing?”

    This link will open the online calculator.

    Enter the required information, including price, taxes, financing percentage, length of loan, down payment and cash rebate.

    You may be surprised at your answer. Quite often the rebate is your better option, especially if you couple it with financing through your local credit union. Credit unions typically can provide their members with a great loan rate, which then can be applied towards a lower overall purchase price, after taking that nice rebate offer. 

    At last, you can feel at ease when being confronted with the rebate or 0% financing option. And remember to give that salesman a big smile when you tell him your answer

    Research - Buying vs. Leasing

    Each choice has its own advantages and disadvantages and making this decision depends on several factors, including your personal preferences and finances.

    : You don't own the vehicle; you must return it at the end of the lease unless you choose to buy it (which is not recommended due to the total cost involved).

    Buying: You own the vehicle once you make the last payment.

    Up-Front Costs
    : There may be up-front costs such as first month's payment, refundable security deposit, capitalized cost reduction, taxes, registration or other fees.

    Buying: Some of the up-front costs could include the down payment, taxes, registration and other fees

     Monthly payments are usually the same as a purchase; the term is shorter since you are paying only for the vehicle's depreciation.

    Buying: Monthly payments are usually the same as a lease; the term will be longer because you are paying for the entire purchase price of the vehicle.

    Early Termination
     This is possible at any time, but you are still responsible for the balance of the lease payments (without tax), the original residual value, plus any early termination charges.

    Buying: This is possible at any time, but you are still responsible for the balance of the loan (without interest).

    Returning the Vehicle
     When the lease is up you are required to return the vehicle to a location designated by the lender and pay any end-of-lease costs such as; penalties for excess wear and tear or mileage over the agreed upon limits set forth in the lease agreement.

    Buying: Not required, when you make the last payment you own the vehicle.

    Future Value
     The future value of the vehicle is predetermined by the lender at the beginning of the term. The lender then assumes all the risk for the vehicles value.

    Buying: Since you own the vehicle, you assume any risk of the vehicle's future value.

     All leases have mileage limitations that you negotiate upfront. If you exceed these limitations you will be assessed a mileage penalty at the termination of the lease (so make sure you understand what you are signing up for, the low lease payments advertised in the paper are always low mileage 10,000 to 12,000 miles per year).

    Buying: There are never limits to the miles driven on the vehicle.

    End of Term
     The current lease has ended and you must decide to purchase the leased vehicle (which is not recommended) or turn it in (Returning the Vehicle above) and purchase or lease another vehicle.

    Buying: made your last payment and you now own your vehicle.

    Additional Information 
    : This is not for everyone, so be sure you understand the terms of the lease agreement and ask questions if you do not understand something. Leasing may be a good choice if the vehicle is being used for business, but you should still talk to your tax agency to see where you get the best write-off.

    Buying: Although it may take longer to pay off, there are no restrictions for mileage, wear and tear or how you use the vehicle and the money is going towards something you will eventually own. 

    Research - Know the Facts - 0 Percent Financing


    When it comes to getting an auto loan, take the time to carefully look at all your options. What you initially think is a great offer, may end up costing you more money in the long run.

    With 0% financing, I’m guaranteed to get the best priceOffering 0% financing may inflate the price of a vehicle to make up for lost finance charges. This may make it more challenging to negotiate a lower price. A reputable dealer will allow you to negotiate the best possible deal before the 0%.
    0% is good on long-term loans.Although there are exceptions, ask upfront about the length of the loan term available with 0%.
    0% is available for the car I want.With 0%, your choice of vehicle options can be greatly limited. Usually the most popular vehicles and new models are not available with 0% financing. Be sure to research whether or not you can obtain 0% on your car of choice.
    I can use the cash rebate and 0% financing to save more 
    Typically, most auto manufactures offer a choice between a cash rebate and an interest-free loan, not both. If you opt to take the special financing, you can lose out on thousands of rebate dollars. Do your homework in the beginning. Take advantage of the CUDL AutoSMART calculator to determine if you’ll save more money on the rebate or the 0% financing.
    I’m sure I’ll qualify for 0%.Unfortunately, not everyone qualifies for the 0%. It’s often reserved for buyers with the best credit. Find out if you meet the requirements for 0%.
    With 0%, I do not need to worry about the price of the car.So you think 0% financing means you’re already saving all you can? Even if you qualify for the 0% rate, you can save even more money by negotiating your vehicle’s final price, and taking advantage of any additional offers. Watch your bottom line and don’t leave money on the table

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    Research Your Options
    As a credit union member you are already aware of the many benefits your credit union offers, including low interest rate auto loans and great service tailored to your needs. By researching your auto financing options before you visit a dealership, you may find that when using your credit union's low percentage rate you are still allowed to use any rebates offered by the manufacturer. This could be your best deal! Refer to Chart A for an example of a 36-month term on a $22,000 vehicle at 0% vs. taking the $2,000 rebate and a credit union loan at 6.00%.

    As you can see, when taking the rebate, the price of the vehicle drops to $20,000 and the monthly payment also drops lower. Since with the rebate, you are reducing the amount that you are financing even further; and in combination with the Credit Union's low rate your overall costs are lower than if you had received the special factory financing.

    Chart B shows an example of a 48 month term on a $19,000 vehicle. Taking a $2,500 rebate lowers the cost of the vehicle to $16,500 and again lowers the monthly payment vs. taking the zero percent with no rebate.

    Chart C is an example of a 60 month term on a $21,000 vehicle with a $3,000 rebate. Again, credit union financing with the rebate is the best deal. Refer to Chart D for a complete breakdown and example of factory financing vs. credit union financing.

    To insure you are getting the best deal, contact your Credit Union to find out about their auto financing rates. Also take a moment to review CUDL's 10 Tips for Buying a New or Used Car. Or click here to research pricing information, locate a dealer, receive price quotes from participating dealers or configure your dream car, through the CUDL AutoSMART Program

    Updated Google Business Page

    Prestige Motors Tampa has done a complete refresh to its Google Business page. Please take a second to check out our newly renovated home on Google.  If you are a Google user, please feel free to stop by the page and leave some feedback, we would greatly appreciate it. See us at https://plus.google.com/108200026405582320384/about .  

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    Prestige Motors Tampa Accepts All Road Loans Check

    Prestige Motors Tampa happily accepts all Road Loans Checks. We are a Roadloans Certified Dealer and are happy to work with all roadloans customers. Call 813-908-9191 for more information.