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Check the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System at vehiclehistory.gov before you buy a car. Insurers, self-insured entities, salvage pools, auctions and junkyards in all 50 states are required to report all total-loss vehicles to this Justice Department database within 30 days. For newer vehicles that are within a warranty period, call the manufacturer and ask if it is still honoring the warranty. If it's not, ask why. A free vehicle information number check is also available from the National Insurance Crime Bureau at www.nicb.org

( Spencer Platt / Getty Images / November 8, 2012 )

Check the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System at vehiclehistory.gov before you buy a car. Insurers, self-insured entities, salvage pools, auctions and junkyards in all 50 states are required to report all total-loss vehicles to this Justice Department database within 30 days. For newer vehicles that are within a warranty period, call the manufacturer and ask if it is still honoring the warranty. If it's not, ask why. A free vehicle information number check is also available from the National Insurance Crime Bureau at www.nicb.org

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