How to check used car history records by the VIN number
What is a used car history report • Where is the car VIN number • Vehicle title search
I recommend to check a used car history records as a first step before buying a used car.
The used car history report can't give you a 100-percent guarantee that the car is perfect, but when you about to spend thousands of dollars on a used car, it is worth to pay for a history report that could give you some information about the car's past.
Here are few examples of the information you may find in a used car history report:
The car was totaled in an accident/salvaged
State emissions inspection results
Lien activity (US only) and/or
Vehicle use (taxi, rental, lease, etc.)
If available, service and repair history
of a real CARFAX® Vehicle History Report™.
Click for larger image
Look at the picture I made at a collision repair shop yard. Why do you think they keep that rear piece of the car?
Because when they find the same vehicle with rear-end damage, they will just weld two pieces together into one car, paint it nicely and sell it through the auction somewhere in a different state or province. Soon it may appear in a used car dealer lot as "Immaculate condition with low mileage" vehicle. The car may look clean and shiny, but if you check the car history report, you may find that the vehicle was salvaged.
Another example: I received a message from the person who bought privately a "low mileage" car. He even had it inspected by a dealer and had been told that the car is OK. Few days later, he checked the used car history report and found out that previous reported mileage was a lot higher - very unfortunate situation.
By the way, when you bring a used car to a mechanic or a dealer for an inspection, have a look at items covered in the inspection checklist - usually it does not include things like previous accident check or odometer fraud check.
For these reasons, when buying a used car, it is worth to check the used car history as a first step and then have a car inspected by a mechanic of your choice.
How it works and how much it costs?
All you need to order a history report is the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of the car you are going to buy. You can find this number in the vehicle title or under the car windshield (look at the picture).
For a used car history reports we have partnered with CARFAX®.
A single Vehicle History Report™ at CARFAX will cost you $34.99 (US dollars). You can order 5 reports for $44.99.
You can pay them online; they accept VISA, MasterCard and American Express. CARFAX® works in Canada as well.
The CARFAX® Vehicle History Report™ also includes Safety and Reliability Ratings, Warranty Information and Consumer Ratings and Comments for a model you order the report.
First, you may wish to check if there are records any available, it's free:
Free CARFAX Record Check
[it shows you how many records available for the VIN number you enter, it's free.
If you want to see those records, you need to pay]
Or you may go directly to:
Order CARFAX Vehicle History Reports
Don't forget, if the used car history report doesn't show anything bad, it doesn't mean that the car is one hundred percent perfect. Not all accidents are reported. That's why I definitely recommended to have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic before buying it.
Also, check my Illustrated used car checklist for more tips on what to look for when buying a used car.