Get a Free Car History Report.com
Used Car History Reports
An estimated 34-percent of consumers are buying vehicle history reports for used cars more frequently, partially in reaction to the number of vehicles that may have been damaged by flooding during hurricanes. Vehicle history reports also help consumers avoid various types of auto fraud, such as odometer fraud. About 30-percent of manufacturer franchise dealers provide vehicle history reports to customers at no additional cost. In addition, some car retailers, such as CarMax, offer vehicle history reports for their inventory at no charge to customers. Consumers can also purchase vehicle history reports online through companies like AutoCheck and Carfax.com.
Free Car History Report Services
Lemon and/or recall checks can be performed at no cost. However, these checks do not contain all of the information that is contained on a full history report.
A user may purchase a single report or an account which allows unlimited reports for a period of time. Car dealers can also be requested to run reports for free on vehicles they have for sale. Thousands of dealers buy reports and make them available for free to potential car buyers.
Users enter the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) into the website to receive a report. The service will not work for any vehicle that has a VIN of less (or more) than 17 digits, which includes most vehicles that are older than model year 1981. The service will only work for cars and light trucks.
What is included in a free car history report?
A record on a report may not be something negative. A car with six records could show:
- When the car was built
- When and where the car was first registered
- When the first annual inspection was done
- When the second annual inspection was done
- When the car was registered in a new state
- When the car was offered for sale
However, records can provide information that addresses a buyer's concerns, including accidents and inspection failures.
CARFAX reports contain information which provides a history of ownership (how many, where, when), usage (odometer readings, maintenance/repair events, registration type), title brands (salvage, junk, fire, flood, etc.), and miscellaneous events (accidents, recalls, certifications). In aggregate this information provides one perspective for analyzing the quality and value of a vehicle.
- Accidents - Not all accidents are reported and not all reported accidents are included, but a substantial number are listed
- Advisories - CARFAX aggregates enough data on most vehicles to infer certain events. When the inference is sufficiently strong CARFAX will provide an advisory explaining the inference.
- Airbag Deployment
- Auto Auction - Many vehicles are sold at auction and CARFAX reports on these sales
- Certified Pre-Owned Status - Many manufacturers report the cars they certify to CARFAX
- Dates of activity - Most events shown on the report include a date of the event
- Emission Test Results
- Frame Damage - In addition to reporting accidents, frequently frame damage is reported
- Lease / Lien events
- Location - Most records include some indication of the city and state of origin for the event
- Maintenance and Service Events - Like accidents, not all are reported, but a significant number are
- Non-Branded Lemon - The manufacturer bought back the vehicle as a courtesy instead of due to legal requirement
- Odometer Readings - These may include readings or title designations that the readings are not reliable
- Odometer Rollbacks - Some rollbacks are certified while other irregular readings are highlighted with suggestion for careful review
- Open Recalls - Many manufacturers report their open recalls to CARFAX
- Ownership Transfers
- Repairs - Like accidents, not all are reported, but a significant number are, particularly when paid by an extended warranty company
- Stolen Vehicles
- Title Brands - Official state designations found on the title such as Salvage, Flood, Lemon, and Junk
- Title Numbers
- Titling Activity - transfers, renewals, etc.
- Vehicle Use - taxi, fleet, commercial, personal, rental car and other uses are reported
Some information is not available on a report. Personal information such as names, telephone numbers and addresses of owners is neither collected nor reported. CARFAX Reports do not include owners' names and addresses (for both individuals and companies). The 1994 Drivers Privacy Protection Act prohibits third parties such as CARFAX from distributing such information.
Information on events in a vehicle's history that have never been reported (unreported accidents, owner performed maintenance, etc.) is also unavailable.
Sources of report information
The CARFAX database contains over four and a half billion records that have been collected over the course of 20 years from over 20,000 sources. Mistakes and errors, although uncommon, can and do occur. Common causes for report errors include incorrect mileage readings by emissions technicians, owners estimating miles on registration forms and dealer inventory labels keyed incorrectly. A data amendment process is available.
These sources include, but are not limited to:
- Auto auctions
- Canadian Motor Vehicle Departments
- Consumer Protection Agencies
- Dealer Inventory
- Extended Warranty Companies
- Fire Departments
- Import/Export Companies
- Inspection Companies
- Law Enforcement Agencies
- Rental/Fleet Vehicle Companies
- Salvage auctions
- Service and Repair Facilities
- State Inspection Stations
- State registration records
- State title records
- U.S. Customs
- U.S. Department of Transportation