If you go to www.carfax.com and scroll to the bottom of the page, there is a section labeled “Free Services”.
One of these services is their Lemon Check. If you enter a vehicle’s VIN, they will tell you if it has a “lemon history”. Of course, as we all know, Carfax does not necessarily include everything that someone might want to know in their paid reports, so none of us knows how accurate the free Lemon Check actually is. But, I guess that it is worth a try.
They also have free links to active recalls from all major car manufacturers. Again, you just enter the VIN for the info.