A Carfax vehicle history report is worth reviewing if you are shopping for a used car. In this article, we share how to get a free Carfax report, alternatives to Carfax, and things to look for when buying a used car.
Vehicle reports help give customers valuable information when shopping for used cars. The more money you invest in a car, the more important it is to make sure you invest wisely and don’t end up with something that has problems.
How Much Is a Carfax Report?
A report costs $39.99. This may not seem like all that much to ensure that the car you purchase is all it claims to be.
How To Get a Free Carfax Report
Although certain websites run promotions occasionally, there are three well-known ways to get a free Carfax report. These three ways work well, regardless of the time of year or type of car you are purchasing.
1. Use Carfax to Shop for a Used Car
There are many websites with used car listings to shop from. However, at the beginning of your search process, you may find that you like one used car company better than another.
Each one of the vehicles listed on the Carfax website comes with a Carfax report. This is a benefit giving shoppers peace of mind when purchasing a car.
The Carfax website has a large selection of vehicles since they pull from different sources. As a result, you don’t have to worry about missing out on potential deals shopping on the website. Overall, we have found it easy to use and navigate.
2. Check With Car Dealers
If you find the used car of your dreams on a dealer’s website, you can usually get a free Carfax report. Many dealers have a relationship with Carfax allowing them to show the report for each of their listings.
If you are looking at the car’s listing and there is no report available, don’t give up hope. One option you have is to call the dealership. Some dealerships have the report but don’t put it on the website for public viewing. A great used car dealer will understand the importance of vehicle history reports and ensure you get what you need.
3. Find Carfax Reports by Visiting Online Car Sites
Carfax is not the only online car website that offers users access to a report. Look at other local websites. Most used car sales associates and dealerships understand that people won’t make large purchases without a Carfax report.
If you are interested in a particular car, sometimes a call for more information can help you get the information you need without giving up $39.99.
Even though Carfax is likely the most complete used vehicle report repository on the market, it is not entirely necessary to use the Carfax brand name to source a used car report. Sometimes you can collect enough information on your own that you don’t need the entire report.
Here are things to look for to help you make a smart purchase.
A VIN number allows you to track the vehicle back to when it was first produced. If you have the VIN number of the car you are interested in, you can use VINCheck.info. This website is entirely free of charge and gives background information.
A VIN number is a valuable piece of information to have. It gives buyers a way to check up on the previous owners and how well they took care of the vehicle. Although VINCheck.info does not provide buyers with everything that a Carfax report does, you can get valuable information, such as: if the car has had any serious accidents, thefts, or liens against it.
Do yourself a favor and take advantage of free vehicle history reports with LemonChecks.com.
VIN number checks are easy to do, and at the very least, you can check to make sure that the VIN is accurate. If the VIN number you are given on a used car does not pull up the correct vehicle, chances are there is a problem that needs to be dealt with.
With LemonChecks.com, you will get information on major accidents, title history, car damage from a flood, and potential odometer rollbacks. Odometer rollbacks can be challenging to track, but you should be able to spot major issues.
iseeCars Vin Report
Of the three free alternatives to a Carfax report, the iSeeCars is the most comprehensive. The only problem is that not all cars will be available in their system.
One trick for getting a free Carfax report has been widely shared across many websites. But we will include it so you can try it, but we recommend shopping on the Carfax website.
If you choose to try the hack, follow these steps.
- Go to Google and search “dealer auto check inurl:vin” (don’t put the quotes in when you do this search).
- When you press enter, a link will show up. Make sure this link matches the information you are searching for and is relevant. If it is, click it.
- When this page opens up, you should see at the top there is a website URL followed by a backslash and then a VIN number. Take this VIN number out and replace it with the VIN number you are searching for.
- Once you have replaced the VIN number, you can press enter.
- What pops up will be a vehicle history report for the car whose VIN number you entered.
This is not necessarily the safest or best way to access a free Carfax, but you might want to try it.
What Does a Carfax Report Show You?
If none of the ways to get a free Carfax report are working for you, it’s time to determine if the $39.99 is worth it. Understanding exactly what this report has on it and whether or not it is worth it is essential.
A Car’s History
The most important part of the Carfax report is the general history of the vehicle. You will get a rating and information about the type of life the car has had.
The first year of VIN numbers was 1981. Since then, people have been able to track everything in a car’s history. Not only does this keep the next buyer safe, but it also keeps car dealerships and car mechanics honest.
If a Vehicle’s Been Damaged
One of the biggest things to look for in the car’s history is whether or not the car has been damaged. If a vehicle has been damaged, it may change your mind about the future of the car.
Depending on the type of damage, there may be no effect on the vehicle’s future functionality. If, however, the car has a major accident, you will probably want to think twice about purchasing the car.
Many people use the Carfax report to negotiate a better price for the car they want. You can sometimes use the fact that the car was in an accident to try and talk the previous owner down on their total sale price for the vehicle.
A Vehicle’s Odometer History
One of the major issues people run into when purchasing a used vehicle is the odometer. Tampering with an odometer is not legal, but unfortunately, it does happen. When an odometer on a car is changed, it can make the vehicle seem much newer than it is.
Each time any work is done on a vehicle, a reading of the odometer is tracked. If the car goes in for an oil change and the odometer is at 80,000 miles, it certainly won’t make sense if the next reading is 50,000 miles.
Vehicle History Report
The car's ownership history is another important factor you will see on the Carfax report. The ownership allows you to see if this was a car passed from one person to the next or if it had one loyal and caring owner.
Another thing the ownership history will allow you to see is if a rental company or a private user owned the car.
One of the things that you will realize when purchasing used cars is that people who purchase one car and hold onto it for many years tend to take better care of it. When a car gets passed from one owner to the next each year, the quality of the car's care tends to decrease.
Look for a car with only one or two owners if you want something well cared for.
Did you know that each time you take your car in for an oil change or any scheduled maintenance, it is recorded on a Carfax report? This is a great way to keep a vehicle maintenance history report without you having to do anything.
If you are a person who likes to work on your car yourself, make sure that you keep detailed records. With the convenience of vehicle history reports, people want to see these maintenance records. If you do the maintenance on your own, you will have to supply your records.
Roadside assistance and vehicle maintenance need to be kept up with. For example, purchasing a three-year-old car that has 50,000 miles but has never had an oil change is probably a poor decision. Some parts of the vehicle will not hold up long-term if the proper maintenance is not followed.
Of course, you will want to look over all of this information and take it seriously.
Does Carfax Have a Report for Every Car
Carfax does not have a complete vehicle history on every single car. Their database is more extensive than any other car vehicle history competitor, but it does not have everything.
How To Find Your Car’s Vin
The VIN Number should not be difficult to find on your car. For most cars, the number will be on the front of the dashboard on the driver’s side.
You will usually have to read the VIN by exiting the car and looking in through the driver’s side windshield. These VINs are printed relatively small and can be challenging to read.
VIN numbers can also be found on car insurance documents, the vehicle title, and registration cards. If you enter your VIN and it returns as invalid, ensure you have correctly entered the information.
Another location where you may find the VIN is on the driver’s side door. The area where the VIN will be located is where the door closes. You may see other information imprinted in this area with more details in addition to the VIN.
If you can’t find the VIN on your vehicle, check the owner’s manual for the exact location. Most of the time, it is quite apparent.
Is Carfax Ever Wrong?
The short answer to this question is yes; Carfax can be wrong. That being said, the chance for error is small. If you find an error on your report, you can contact Carfax, who will work to correct the mistake.
Carfax is not 100% accurate, but it is close. The company does its best to ensure that all information in the report is accurate.
Does Carfax Expire?
No, your Carfax report does not expire. The information in your report is historical and remains valid indefinitely.
That said, they issue credits valid for four years from the date of purchase. These credits can be used to get updated reports on the exact vehicle or to get reports on other vehicles.
So, while your report never expires, the credits do.
There is no doubt that the information on a Carfax report is valuable. The problem is that this information will cost you $39.99 for each vehicle; if you are looking at multiple options, this can get pricey.
Getting a Carfax report free will help make your car-buying process a bit cheaper. With all the money spent on purchasing a car, if you can save $39.99 or more, you will probably be quite open to the idea.
Remember that sometimes all it takes is a phone call to a dealer to get the information you want. If you show interest, they will be more than happy to help.
Don't forget to check out these tips for getting free gas for your new car!
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.