SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Soldiers in the market for a used car are encouraged to obtain a free vehicle history report through the Financial Readiness team at Army Community Service (ACS), here.

The report is provided by Carfax, which performs a background check on any automobile by using its vehicle identification number, or VIN. The report informs used-car shoppers about such things as accident/frame damages, title problems, the number of previous owners, and service records.

Normally, Carfax would charge $29.99 for the service. In removing the cost, ACS is providing Soldiers and their family members with an invaluable informational tool in warding off potentially shady car salesmen or owners hoping to pass on a "lemon," or defective vehicle.

"It gives Soldiers something to take with them when they go in to purchase a used car," explained Robin Rogers-Sherrod, financial readiness program manager, ACS. "That way, if the salesman or car owner is telling them one thing about the vehicle, they'll be able to pull out their report and say, 'Well, that's not what the car's history says.'"

Before buying a used car, Rogers-Sherrod also advises Soldiers and spouses to ask themselves the following questions:

Aca,!AcDo I know the type of car and features I'm interested in'
Aca,!AcHave I educated myself about the vehicle of choice and its options'
Aca,!AcDo I know what the cost of insurance will be'
Aca,!AcHave I been pre-qualified for an auto loan so that I know what I can afford'
Aca,!AcHave I shopped around for the best deal before signing a contract'

For more information on this offer or to speak to a member of the Financial Readiness program team, call ACS at 808-655-4227.