Carfax is the #1 provider of vehicle history reports in the world. The business helps save would be car buyers thousands of dollars by helping them make informed decisions about the car they are interested in! Individuals interested in selling their vehicles benefit by using Carfax as well by providing a vehicle history report to would be buyers as a show of good faith.
A vehicle history report is a crucial tool when buying a car or selling a car. Without a vehicle history report, the information you have on a vehicle is he said she said and isn’t based on any documented information. Yes, owners may provide maintenance records, but that isn’t the full picture. Most car owners don’t keep great records anyways and it can be hard to know if maintenance documents they do have are accurate.
Cars are lasting 15-20 years which gives them a lot of time to get into accidents or be involved in some form of weather disaster! Because of this it is crucial to gather as much information about a car as you can when purchasing and to verify a fair asking price is for the car. A vehicle history report is the answer to getting a clear picture on what type of vehicle you are looking at and Carfax is the brand to buy!
A Vehicle History Report From Carfax Will Cover:
- Ownership history
- Accident history
- Current mileage
- Past odometer readings
- Maintenance records
- Insurance data
What Are Vehicle History Reports?
Vehicle History Reports, which are sometimes referred to as Carfax reports, are essentially a well kept record of the car over its lifetime. The vehicle history report, which you can get online or through a car dealership, will tell you how many owners a vehicle has had, if it has ever been reported in an accident, where accident damage was located, the title status, odometer readings over time, and any maintenance that was done through a dealership or mechanic that reports its work to these VHR companies like Carfax. Carfax is the only brand of vehicle history report that shows maintenance records.
What Vehicles Carfax Will Have Data On
Carfax vehicle history reports are available on vehicles as old as 1981. At this point in time Carfax began collecting data on vehicles and just about every car made since that date will have a thorough file on it. Carfax is the largest database for vehicle history reports and now has over 24 billion records. The best part is, all you need is the car’s VIN and a vehicle history report will instantly be created for you at the touch of a button.
How To Get A Vehicle History Report
To get a vehicle history report, you simply fill out an online form and provide the VIN, which is found in the lower corner of the windshield on the driver’s side in most cars. If you are looking at a report from a dealer or a seller, take a look at the car’s VIN to ensure it matches the number on the report.
The easiest way to get a vehicle history report is to purchase one yourself, you can expect the VHR to cost you somewhere between $30 and $40 for a single report or you can get a deal when you purchase the reports in bulk by buying a package. This is ideal if you are interested in multiple vehicles. You can buy 3 VHR from Carfax for about $60 or 6 VHR for $100.
In addition you can ask the owner of the vehicle to send you the Carfax report, which many are willing to do to. This helps to speed up the sale of their vehicle by making the purchaser feel more comfortable. Many sellers like to provide the vehicle history report as an act of good faith and to prove they have nothing to hide.
If you are buying from a car dealership, they will likely already have a vehicle history report ready to go for the vehicle you are interested in and all you have to do is ask.
How Can I Check A Car’s History FOR FREE
The best way to get a FREE vehicle history report is by getting a free quote from Protect My Car. Yes, you read that right. We will give you a free Carfax report just for getting a quote with us!! No obligations, just a free Carfax Report.
If you scroll to the bottom of this page you will see an orange button “Click For A Free Quote”. By clicking this button and completing the subsequent steps you will receive a completely free Carfax report! You aren’t obligated to buy anything from us, just tell the agent you want to get a free quote and that you are interested in a free Carfax report.
In addition to the above method of obtaining a free Carfax report through Protect My Car, you can also follow one of these other paths.
If you are interested in a used car from a third party seller, you can request that the vehicle owner pay for the Carfax and send it to you. Many will offer to do this without you having to ask as it shows good faith and they can send out their copy to multiple potential buyers.
A car dealership will 9 times out of 10 have the Carfax ready to go and somewhere on the vehicle for you to look at. They have contracts with the vehicle history report companies which give them discounted rates on these history reports.
Finally, if you are financing a vehicle you can ask the lender to provide a vehicle history report. This may or may not work for you, but in some cases the lender is willing to pay this upfront cost. The reasoning here is that it is in their best interest to ensure the car (which will be used as collateral for the loan) is actually worth what you are borrowing. If you default, the lender will repossess and sell the vehicle, but if the car isn’t worth what you paid they will incur the loss if you never repay what you borrowed.
Why You Need A Vehicle History Report
There are 8 main reasons that you need to have a Vehicle History Report on a vehicle that you are buying or already own. Especially if you are buying a vehicle, you don’t want to go in blind. Make sure you have all of the information on a vehicle in these categories by getting a vehicle history report.
- Car Accidents
- Weather Damage
- Title Status
- Maintenance Info
- Where The Vehicle Was Titled And Sold
- How Many Owners The Vehicle Has Had
- Inspections And Registrations
The #1 thing you should be on the lookout for are cars that have been in accidents. Especially major accidents. A car that has been involved in a collision is more likely to have issues. A vehicle history report from Carfax will show a vehicle’s accident history as reported by the state highway and motor vehicle departments, tax collectors, and insurance companies. They do sometimes even get data from body shops and other mechanics about accidents.
Data you will be able to find about an accident on a Carfax report includes If the airbags deployed, where the damage occurred (front, rear, side), if the damage was structural or cosmetic, etc. Sometimes the data on the accident will be incredibly detailed, other times you will just see that a collision occurred.
Avoid purchasing cars with severe structural damage or those where the airbags have been deployed and also check to see if these vehicles are salvage or rebuilt titles (more information on the types of titles below). If the airbags in the vehicle aren’t the originals and you can’t verify how the airbags were replaced this is a huge red flag! Request documentation and verification on where these repairs took place if you are still considering the car, which is ill advised.
If you are interested in a vehicle that has had any form of collision, know that it is worth less because of the accident and shift your offer price accordingly.
Weather and other forms of damage can be just as bad for a vehicle than collisions. And what is worse, insurance won’t usually cover them so people can try to sell these vehicles and hide the damage to them. The types of damage we are talking about here generally comes from hail, flood, fire, or falling tree limbs.
There are usually signs a vehicle has incurred this type of damage, but some vehicles have been restored to the point where it isn’t always obvious. In these cases, a vehicle history report will save you a lot of money in the long run by helping you avoid these vehicles. Hail damage may be able to be repaired, but flood and fire damage is usually for keeps.
If a vehicle has been in a flood or fire like those listed above, the title will likely reflect that. It doesn’t take much water to total a vehicle. Vehicles that have been declared a total loss will have different titles than damage free cars and trucks. A vehicle history report will show the current title status as one of the 5 titles listed below.
Types of Car Titles
Clean: The vehicle was never considered totaled by an insurance company. A totaled title can come from flood damage, falling trees, accidents etc.
Clear: A clear title is given to a vehicle that is owned outright by the owner. So vehicle’s that have liens on them (were purchased using financing options) will not have a clear title.
These are positive descriptions, however if you see any of the following 3 title statuses listed on a vehicle history report you will want to avoid buying the car. There are many reasons to avoid these types of titles, an example of this is that a vehicle with a rebuilt title may be inexpensive, but the cost of insuring the car will often be much higher than for a car with a clean title.3
Salvage Titles: A salvage title is indicative of the car being declared totaled by an insurance company. This may be because the car was involved in a natural disaster that flooded the car, it could also mean the vehicle was in a bad car accident. Regardless of why the vehicle was given a salvage title, you should generally avoid these cars. A salvage title will be shown on the title document and can also be seen when looking up the VIN using a tool such as Carfax.
Lemon/ Factory Buy Back: A lemon is a car that was riddled with problems from the start. The laws on what is declared a lemon will vary from state to state, but in most cases it involves the vehicle which has a lot of issues that stemmed from its manufacturing which affect the safety and value of the vehicle. In the case of titles, a car that has been deemed a lemon will carry that in their title. It is inadvisable to buy one of these vehicles as it will likely be a money pit.
Rebuilt: A vehicle with a rebuilt title will be exactly what it sounds, the vehicle will have been rebuilt after being declared a total loss by an insurance company. While rebuilt vehicles can be great and reliable cars, more often than not they have more issues than the same car that was not rebuilt. If you intend on buying a rebuilt car, know that it should not command the same price as the
When and Where It Was Sold
One thing that is always on a vehicle history report is the record of when the vehicle was sold as well as where the sales took place. From the vehicle’s first sale and when it hit the road to how it came to be the possession of its current owner.
Avoid vehicles that have been titled in multiple states in a short period of time as this can be a sign of title washing.
A car is more valuable the fewer owners it has had. A vehicle history report will tell you how many owners a vehicle has belonged to over its life.
Each time the vehicle is transferred to a new owner the state will take an odometer reading of the vehicle. There are other points in time where the odometer reading will be reported such as maintenance repairs and vehicle inspections. This data will be reflected in the vehicle history report and is important to verify the current odometer reading is legitimate and has not been tampered with.
Not all maintenance is reported to Carfax, but some repair shops will share repair data with the vehicle history report company. It is important to still ask the owner of the vehicle for maintenance records for this reason. Verify that the maintenance records match some of what is shown on the Carfax report.
Some states like Colorado require the vehicle pass an inspection before being legally allowed on the road. Other states, like Florida, don’t have vehicle inspections at all. If a vehicle does go through an inspection, the results will likely be seen in a vehicle history report like a Carfax.
A vehicle history report will show any open or closed recalls for the make and model of the vehicle. These can be major or minor repairs, but it is good information to have. If there are recalls listed on your Carfax report, you’ll want to verify that the issue was taken care of and request proof of the fix.
Who Provides Vehicle History Reports
Though people frequently will simply ask for a Carfax, there are other companies that offer vehicle history reports. AutoCheck is one of these companies which falls under the umbrella of the credit bureau Experian. While there are other providers of vehicle history reports, there are a couple reasons why you shouldn’t cheap out and just go with the least expensive option.
Why Choose Carfax Over Less Expensive Competitors
There is a reason that the brand Carfax is a household name that most of us know and trust. Carfax has been providing data on vehicles for the last 40 years and they are a trusted source of information because of how they get that data. Carfax will be the most expensive vehicle history report you can buy. A single report will cost $40 and sets of 3 and 6 will cost $60 and $100.
Carfax has over 24 BILLION records from over 112,000 data sources in their files that they pull information on when creating vehicle history reports. This is more data than any of their competitors have. The bottom line when it comes to these vehicle reports is the more accurate data, the better.
The final perk of purchasing a vehicle by utilizing Carfax data is their buyback guarantee. Carfax backs up their reports by offering to buy any vehicle purchased using bad data provided by Carfax. If their data on DMV issued title or odometer readings are wrong, Carfax may buy back the vehicle for the full purchase price.
For these reasons, as well as their customer service and user friendly interface, Carfax is the brand we recommend when purchasing a vehicle history report.
Can I Check My Car’s Service History Online?
Carfax is the only vehicle history reporting service that will show you your maintenance history on their report. They won’t show all of the maintenance though, it is likely that your oil changes and other minor items won’t show up so it is important to keep your own documents of these things! Any maintenance done at a partnering dealership or mechanic will be reported to Carfax and will be shown on a vehicle history report provided by the company.
Get Your Free Carfax Report By Getting A Free No Pressure Quote From Protect My Car
The best way to get a FREE vehicle history report is by getting a free quote from Protect My Car. Yes, you read that right. We will give you a free Carfax report just for getting a quote with us.
If you scroll to the bottom of this page you will see an orange button “Click For A Free Quote”. By clicking this button and completing the subsequent steps you will receive a completely free Carfax report. You aren’t obligated to buy anything from us, just tell the agent you want to get a free quote and that you are interested in a free Carfax report and have the VIN of the car ready to go.
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