Is there a free or cheap vehicle history report site? Carfax is too expensive


#1

Hi, I am looking to buy a used car, but I want to check its history. Does anyone know of a cheap but reliable vehicle history report service site?
I just think Carfax is overpriced.


#2

I’ve never used CarFax but have used AutoCheck - it was more reasonable though they’re all nutty expensive unless you buy some kind of package. (Unlimited for X time or XX # of reports or something).

I also found AutoCheck to be much more complete. On several occasions I was able to compare CarFax & autocheck on the came car. On more than one occasion autocheck had info that carfax did not. A used car manager at a dealership told me that was also his experience.

Do note that these services are way overrated. All you’re looking for is red flags, but just because you don’t find any it doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Don’t assume they tell you anything about maintenance & repair histories either. They mostly just pick up official state reports (registration events; title changes; officially reported accidents, etc.)

I would get them and look for red flags; check out the number of owners along with ownership time & place; check any mileage reports present to make sure that they made sense…stuff like that. They aren’t worthless, but don’t assume they tell you a whole lot.


#3

I agree that they don’t offer all the information I need to buy a car. I am planning to use it in addition to taking it to my mechanic for a check-up. I thought I heard somewhere there is free vehicle history report.


#4

Dealers will give you the Carfax or Autocheck for nothing if you are looking at a car. Also you can sign up for the 30 day service. It used to be $30 and you could access as many reports as you wanted in the 30 days.


#5

If Carfax reports a problem/incident with the vehicle, then you know there was at least one problem/incident.

However, if the Carfax report doesn’t report any problems, then you know nothing more than you did before you read the report.


#6

Carfax or AutoCheck can only report to you what was reported to them. Many times problems are never reported…so you may get clean report, but the car had been in 3 accidents and actually had 400k miles on it…


#7

…or had been in a flood, and was a salvage vehicle until someone moved it to another state and “sanitized” its registration.


#8

And the list goes on…


#9

Or the car was reported stolen, but it really wasn’t(OK4450?)


#10

Yes, that was me. CF was also inaccurate on several other family members cars.
One of mine (a SAAB 900) was shown to be “currently stolen”. That was at odds with the DMV and the car being in my drive.
One of my old Subarus was on a Salvage Title for about 7 or 8 years and CF showed it to be a clean non-salvage title the entire time.

One of my youngest son’s cars was shown to have suffered a major collision. Not.
Someone broke a T-top and heisted the stereo is all.

The automotive world is so vast I don’t see any way that any reporting agency could ever be anywhere near accurate. Too many cars, too many people with their hands on them during the repair processes, too many title changes (even interstate), makes it a convoluted mess.

One major insurance carrier (Allstate or State Farm, I forget which) was fined a ton of money for laundering titles on flood cars. This was not a small number of cars either; it involved thousands of them if I remember correctly and you can bet the ins. co. is not letting CF or AC know about it.