The decision to buy a used car always follows many questions. What will be the car’s actual condition? Will it work properly, or will it require huge maintenance?
So, getting the used car’s report is essential before buying it. Before you purchase, you must know about that car’s history.
Carfax is the best vehicle history provider out there. The company provides a perfect and comprehensive history report of your car. However, Carfax reports are expensive, and that is the only drawback.
Below are the prices of Carfax reports:
- For one report, it’s $39.99.
- For three reports, it’s $59.99.
- And, For six reports, it’s $99.99!
This indeed is an expense you don’t want to make. So, what’s the way around it? Skipping the car report is not a wise option. Here’s why you need to get the car history report before buying a used car:
Why It’s Important to Check a Car’s History
It goes without saying that buying a used car is far cheaper than buying a new one. However, the used car might not be up to the quality you want. So, to check your needs and the car’s durability, you need to check the car’s history report.
You can see if the vehicle’s been damaged.
The car’s history report can tell you about the damages that are not visible on the outside. Obviously, you cannot expect the seller to tell you about such details. You will only get to know about such inner problems after you start using the car. So if you don’t want to regret your decision, or get betrayed, then get yourself the car’s history report.
View odometer history
Mileage is one of the most important we look at in a car before buying it. It is illegal to change the odometer; however, sometimes, the sellers do it to increase the car’s credibility. The Carfax history report gives you the most genuine and exact car’s mileage.
The mileage is recorded when a vehicle is registered, and every time it goes into the shop for maintenance. So, the car history report gives you the mileage listings. In this way, you can ensure that the odometer reading hasn’t been tampered with.
You’ll get a clear picture of its own history.
You will never know how many times that has been sold. It is possible that it has many more past owners than what the seller tells you. Only the Carfax report can tell you the exact and true number of owners of that car. It also tells you the time for which each owner possessed the car and the area in which they drove. Additionally, the ownership gives you a clear idea about the car’s life expectancy.
You can see if the vehicle’s been properly maintained
Regular maintaining a car increases its life expectancy and mileage. The Carfax report tells you precisely about the car’s maintenance history. This includes oil changing details, engine works, and much more. If the car is not properly maintained throughout its lifespan, then you can make your decision as per that.
You’re less likely to waste your money!
The Carfax report will help you make the right decision and save you a lot of money. It tells you everything about the car’s history. Buying a used car needs assurance that it is of good quality and will work as per your expectations. Without knowing its genuine history, you can never know those things for sure.
What Does a Carfax Report Show You?
Now, you must be wondering what exactly a Carfax report shows. I have already given you a superficial account of the report. Below is the entire list of parameters and attributes that a Carfax history report includes:
- Major accidents
- Multiple owners
- Vehicle service
- Mileage rollback
- Flood damage
- Airbag deployment
- Mileage rollover
- Not actual mileage state-owned
- Total loss
- Structural damage
- Open recalls
- Registration history
- Warranty information
- Salvage titles
- Estimated miles are driven per year
- Last reported mileage
- Length of ownership
- Commercial or personal use
- Service history
- Hail damage
- Branded a lemon
Does Carfax Have a Report for Every Car?
Carfax provides history of all the vehicles manufactured since 1981. It provides information about cars and light trucks. The Carfax database is huge and is updated regularly. The database has billions of records from more than 100,000 domestic and international sources.
Now, you’re going to need a VIN to get your report.
What’s a VIN?
All the vehicles from 1981 onwards were assigned a 17 digit (letters and numbers) number known as ‘Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)’.
The number provides the vehicle’s information like its manufacturer, model year, and where it was built. It is like the vehicle’s identity.
Where to Find Your Car’s VIN
You can access your vehicle’s VIN from both on and off the vehicle itself.
Following car’s documentation has VIN on them:
- Vehicle title.
- Registration card.
- Insurance documents.
- Owner’s manual.
- Body shop repair records.
- Police reports.
To find the VIN on the car itself, look at these places:
- The driver-side interior dash. This is the most common place to find your VIN.
- Under the hood at the front of the engine.
- Between your front carb and windshield washer unit.
- In the trunk under the spare tire.
- In the rear wheel well.
- Inside the driver door jamb (open door).
Once you have the car’s VIN, you can easily get the history report.
How to Get a Carfax Report for Free
Carfax reports are a must if you want to buy a used car. However, as I said earlier, they are not cheap. So, the other way around this drawback? You can get the Carfax report for free! Yes, yes, you read that right!
Below are a few ways to get your Carfax report for absolutely free:
Shop for a used car with Carfax
Carfax has a huge used car listing on its website. If you buy a car from its website, then you’ll get a Carfax history report for free!
Check with car dealers.
You can directly ask the car dealer about the Carfax report. If the car dealerships don’t provide you with a report, then you can ask for the same. In most cases, all of the dealers (even local) do provide you with a free Carfax report.
Visit online car listing sites.
Many online car listing websites like AutoTrader and Cars.com provide their customers with Carfax reports at no cost. However, do keep in mind that this is not the case always, and they only provide reports for some cars.
Free Carfax Alternative
So, what to do if you cannot get the Carfax report for free? Buy one? Well, that’s one option, but there’s also one more option. There are numerous alternatives to Carfax reports, and they all are absolutely free.
VIN lookup from VINCheck.info
VINCheck.info is one of the best Carfax alternatives, and it also offers the same quality. The advertisers cover the report’s costs, and so for you, they are completely free. It also as well knows the platform and protects you from fraud and unsafe deals. Their strict rules and verification prevent the resale of stolen cars.
To get the report, just enter your VIN on their website, and you will get it for free. It covers the below-mentioned things:
- Serious accidents
- Title brands
Overall, it’s an awesome service that’s free!
Vehicle history report from LemonChecks.com
LemonChecks.com is another alternative to Carfax. Just like VINCheck.info, it also provides the report for free.
The report includes:
- Major accidents
- Full title history
- Flooded car damage
- Odometer rollbacks
- Undisclosed liens
- And more!
All you need to do to get your report is to visit the site and enter your car’s VIN.
iSeeCars VIN Report
Last but not least, the iSeeCars VIN report is also a free car history report service. This report is incredibly in-depth and includes up to 200 data points!
The process is the same, just like the other two websites. Enter your VIN and get the report for free!
Free Carfax Hack
I found this amazing hack on Reddit.
Your vehicle’s report might be from Carfax or AutoCheck (a big competitor), based on your vehicle and location.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Go to Google and type in “dealer auto check inurl:vin” (without the quotes).
- Click the first link that pops up.
- When you land on the page, look at the URL, and you should see a VIN.
- Replace that VIN with your own and hit enter.
- The results will be a vehicle history report for the car associated with the VIN you entered.
A word of caution, I do not know the legality of this thing, so do proceed at our own risk.
As we saw, getting a history report is very important before buying a used car. Also, even though the Carfax report is the best, it’s not free. Fortunately, there are a few alternatives to this, as we discussed above.
You can get the Carfax report for free by following the aforementioned steps. Additionally, there are few free alternatives to Carfax reports.
Let us know in the comments section below what your favorite site is for vehicle history reports.