Buying a used car can be daunting. This is especially true if you’re not purchasing a vehicle through a dealership. How do you know the seller is being honest with you? Is the car mechanically sound? Is it up to date with maintenance? Has the vehicle been in an accident?
Thankfully, we live in a technologically advanced world, where the answers to these questions are right at your fingertips. If you’re wondering how to get a free vehicle history report on any used car, this guide is for you.
What Is a Vehicle History Report?
A vehicle history report can be an invaluable resource when you’re considering purchasing a car. These little reports contain tons of information, including title history and accident reports. Let’s take a closer look at what’s covered in your free vehicle history report.
- Information about previous owners. Your vehicle history report will tell you the location (city and state) of the previous owners of your vehicle. Generally, no names will be provided in the report.
- Accident and damage history. If any accidents or vehicle damage have been reported through law enforcement or insurance, this information will be included on your free vehicle history report.
- Title information. If your car is a salvage, bonded, junk or other title, this information will be on the report. Liens and lienholders will also be listed on your document.
- Service history. Some maintenance, such as oil changes, will be listed on your vehicle history report. Keep in mind, however, that “DIY” maintenance will not be listed. Recall notices and recall repairs will also be listed in this section.
- Odometer readings. Your vehicle history report will include your vehicle’s odometer reading. Check that this information matches the actual reading!
A vehicle history report is by no means a comprehensive assessment of the condition of your vehicle. However, it will give you a better idea of how the car was used and maintained by previous owners.
Whether you’re buying from a private seller or a dealership, getting a free vehicle history report can save you money and frustration later.
How to Get a Free Vehicle History Report
If you simply run a search for “free vehicle history report” online, quite a few results will be returned! There are some websites that are more reputable than others, and we’ll look at those here.
Keep in mind that a free vehicle history report may not be the comprehensive list of information you want. For more specifics about your car, such as maintenance history, you may be required to pay a fee.
If you’re purchasing your car through a dealership, you can often receive a free vehicle history report that’s more exhaustive. If you’re buying through a private seller, check the following sources for your report.
CARFAX is one of the most well-known brands in vehicle history reports. You may know the CARFAX fox from the television commercials, or maybe your dealership offered you a CARFAX report.
To use the CARFAX service, you will need to pay around $40 for a vehicle history report. However, we’ve chosen to list this as a free vehicle history report provider because it’s the service most dealerships use.
National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)
If you’re buying from a private seller, you’ll want to run your vehicle’s VIN through the lookup tool at the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Entering the vehicle identification number will let you know whether your car has been reported stolen and not recovered, or if it’s a salvage title.
VinCheck Pro isn’t a free vehicle history report, but it’s the most comprehensive report you can get, and for the lowest price. A vehicle history report will usually cost you less than $10 on this site, and the company is frequently running specials and promotions. At the time of writing, a report can be obtained for $7.
VINCheck Pro will provide you with an exhaustive list of structural damage, accidents, recalls, title transfers, and more, giving you the information that you need to purchase with confidence.
Summary: Free Carfax Report and More for a Used Car
When you purchase a used car, you’re making a big investment. You want to know prior to paying your hard-earned money that that investment is sound.
Now that you know how to get a free vehicle history report, you can shop with more confidence. Knowing details about the history of your vehicle can save you time, money, and frustration over the life of the car.