If you’ve been searching online to find a free vehicle history report on a used car, one that gives you access to DMV records, the number of previous owners, frame or weather damage, previous accidents or an odometer check, unfortunately you’re simply not going to find it, as it doesn’t exist.
Although many sites tout a free report, when it comes down to it that’s simply not the case. What is always free when you enter your Vehicle Identification Number is very limited information, which includes the year, make, model, and possibly a partial history if you’re lucky. For the most detailed reports, like the ones from Carfax and AutoCheck, you’re going to have to pay. If you didn’t, these companies wouldn’t stay in business. 🙂
But fear not…the amount that you have to pay is well worth it if it’s going to help you avoid a used car that may cost you thousands of dollars in repairs. And you have the ability to check multiple cars, so you can end up with the ideal used car.
OK so there are no free vehicle history reports…what are my best options?
Well there are two major players in the US, and one in Canada. If you’re in the market for a used vehicle, these are the most well respected vehicle history report companies you’ll find online…
One of the most well known names in vehicle history reports, Carfax has a documents database with over 17 billion records gathered from over 100,000 data sources including every major American and Canadian DMV agency. Their reports are highly detailed and include title information, flood damage history, accident report, service records (whether it was used as a taxi, fleet, or rental vehicle), and more for any vehicle built after 1981.
Many people ask about how to get a free vehicle history report from Carfax, but again, you simply can’t. In order to access their database and reveal all of this information, interested users must pay a fee.
There are currently three tiers for different uses: a one-time report will cost you $39.99 (You can check one car); for $59.99 you can check up to three different vehicles. The third $99.99 package offers up 6 reports. There used to be an unlimited report option, but that’s not being offered currently
AutoCheck has partnered with various online used vehicle sellers like eBay Motors and Edmunds to help their users determine if a car is worth the asking price. These businesses use AutoCheck because it generates one of the most comprehensible and meticulous reports available for a cheaper price than their closest competitors. It also has a free mobile app that sends any purchased information directly to your phone when you’re window shopping.
Like Carfax, they don’t offer a free vehicle history report, but there are currently three options available to you: a $24.99 single report, 25 reports for $49.99 and a $99.99 for 300 report option that gives you unfiltered access to their database for 21 days. It’s easy to understand why some dealers love picking the third option for their business as well as used car shoppers looking at many choices.
AutoCheck also offers an easy-to-read score system, which provides a lot of information at a glance such as the impact of the used vehicle on current sale prices, the expected future value, and value compared to similar used vehicles in the area. For those interested in auction-style purchases in America, AutoCheck also provides detailed alerts to your smartphone for upcoming sales.
CarProof is arguably THE brand name in vehicle history reports for Canada with three different report options. You have a single Claims Report for $39.95, giving you access to accident and damage history as well as recall information. The most popular option is the Verified Report for $51.95, which adds a Canadian lien search to the mix. Lastly you have the Proof Pack for $79.95, which gives you the ability to check up to 3 cars.
CarProof also has access to American databases and information so shoppers do not have to be limited to Canadian vehicles. Any VIN going over the border on either side will probably have information recorded in CarProof’s database. If you’re a Canadian resident or looking to purchase a used vehicle from a Canadian dealer, CarProof should be your first choice for up-to-date information. However, they do lack a smartphone app for shoppers at dealerships and they currently do not have an unlimited VIN checking option.
What’s the Best Vehicle History Report Option?
If you’re still asking, Where can I get a free vehicle history report online, you’ve clearly missed the benefits of a paid report. A paid report gives you additional information to help you make an informed decision about a used vehicle. While it’s entirely possible to purchase a vehicle without looking into itw history, chances are you’re going to discover problems that could have easily been identified through a simple VIN number check.
There really isn’t an excuse to save a few dollars now only to have to pay for repairs later when your lemon car starts acting like a lemon. If you’re still concerned about paying for a report, Carfax, AutoCheck, and CarProof offer money back guarantees or buyback programs for any vehicle you checked out with their services. A paid report is simply smart thinking.
Between Carfax and AutoCheck we believe AutoCheck is the better option. This is based on price, comprehensiveness as well as feedback from thousands of used car buyers. If you’re ready to check out a few cars just enter the VIN on this page.