Did you know that many used cars actually come from car rental companies? And some people end up buying rental cars from used-car dealerships without even realizing it.

When John Perry bought his used Ford Taurus 14 years ago for $12,000, he thought it was a steal. But the car began to rust, raising his suspicion that there may have been more to the car’s past than he knew.

A check on the history of his car proved Perry’s suspicions were right.

By entering the vehicle identification number (VIN) on Carfax, an online service which provides information about used cars – he learned more.

The Carfax report said his Ford had in fact been a rental car for seven months before he bought it.

“So the miles that were on the car were rental miles,” said Perry.

“When you’re buying a used car, it’s important to know the vehicle’s history. For example, was it in a flood or was it a rental car? Some important details might change your mind about buying a car,” warned Jen Stockburger, Consumer Reports car expert.

Consumer Reports also says it’s a good idea to get any used car you’re considering inspected by an independent mechanic before you buy it.

“That can be a better indicator of the car’s history and what its condition is today,” added Stockburger.

You may also want to check for recalls, by visiting Transport Canada’s website.

Perry says he definitely won’t buy used again without checking the car’s history, and he considers himself lucky.

“It could have been worse for me. Mechanically, the car has been a terrific car. It really has,” he said.