Are you looking for the best CarFax alternative? Here is a list of websites that allow you to get free or paid history reports similar to what you get from CarFax.
AutoCheck allows you to check the vehicle specs for free. If you want to check the full vehicle history, you can buy a single report or in bulk.
AutoCheck, while not completely free, is one of the best alternatives to CarFax. In fact, AutoCheck has a huge advantage over CarFax. AutoCheck shows information such as frame damage that was reported at car auctions.
Frame and structural damage reported at car auctions typically do not show on CarFax.
In addition, AutoCheck is Experian, a credit card monitoring company. One advantage of CarFax over AutoCheck is that CarFax shows more maintenance and service records. AutoCheck shows very few maintenance records. If you are trying to figure out if the vehicle was maintained, go with CarFax instead.
2. VINCheck - FREE
You can use the National Insurance Crime Bureau to check if a vehicle has any Theft Record or Total Loss / Rebuilt / Salvage History.
Visit the National Insurance Crime Bureau website and enter the VIN.
It's completely free, but it does not provide any vehicle maintenance or minor accident records.
NICB's VINCheck is a free service provided to the public to determine if a vehicle has been reported as stolen but not recovered or reported as a salvage vehicle by participating NICB member insurance companies. To perform a search, a vehicle identification number (VIN) is required. A maximum of five searches can be conducted within a 24-hour period per IP address.
3. Vehicle History
VehicleHistory.com is another site that has been providing free history reports.
Enter the vehicle's VIN, and you should see title transfer and information on when the vehicle was bought or sold.
What does a Vehicle History Report show?
A Vehicle History Report can tell you a lot about a car, including.
- Title History (Clear, Salvage, Restored, Rebuilt, Flood)
- If the car was a lease or rental car
- Maintenance History if it was reported by the facility
Always run a history report to find out major title problems. But keep in mind that even issues can be missed by a history report. We strongly recommend also doing a pre-sale inspection of cars that you are looking to purchase.
Note! Based on our experience, CarFax is good at showing maintenance history. On the other side, CarFax does a poor job at reporting auction announcements, such as accidents, frames, or title problems. AutoCheck is better at showing car auction notes such as frame damage or flood announcements made at car auctions such as Manheim, Brashers, or Adesa.
Buying from a Dealer or Private Party
If you are buying from a dealer, ask them to be private the vehicle history report. Most of them provide it for free.
And even if they don't normally, if you state that you will buy the car but want to see the history report first. The same goes for private party owners as well. The only concern is if the seller is honest or not. A history report provided by someone else can be easily faked, or items can be erased from the downloaded report.
When dealing with a private party, it's best to run your own history reports, and here is your best alternative. If you are looking at lots of cars and need a cheap alternative to CarFax or Autocheck, look at our top 3 alternatives above.
Which VIN History Report is Best to Use?
That's an excellent question. The information provided on a car vehicle history report can vary depending on the provider.
All the VIN providers will show you at a minimum this data:
- Accident History
- Total Loss Records
- Junk and Salvage Title
- Structural Damages
- Taxi, Lease, Police Use
- Theft Check
- Last Reported Odometer Reading
This is some of the most basic data pulled from NMVTIS Data (National Motor Vehicle Title Information System) - Official Government Source.
All vehicle history providers listed above, including CarFax and AutoCheck, pull data from the NMVTIS Government Database. From our experience, AutoCheck is good at showing the damage announcements related to cars sold at auto auctions.
CarFax does better with showing maintenance history. Keep in mind that even the car history report can miss important problems with the car. Especially frame and auction announced damages.
Key Items in Vehicle History Reports
- Title and Last Title Date Verifying the validity of the title helps prevent auto fraud and theft.
- Brand History Brands are descriptive labels (applied by state motor vehicle titling agencies) regarding the status of a motor vehicle, such as "junk," "salvage," and "flood." NMVTIS keeps a history of brands that have been applied to the vehicle by any state.
- Odometer Reading, The crime of odometer fraud may result in a consumer paying more than the vehicle's fair market value or cause the consumer to purchase an unsafe vehicle.
- Total Loss When a vehicle has been deemed a total loss, generally, the vehicle has had severe damage. Knowing whether a vehicle has been declared a total loss helps consumers avoid purchasing a potentially unsafe vehicle.
- Salvage History Similar to a vehicle with a total loss history, a vehicle that has a salvage history has had severe damage. Salvage history helps consumers avoid purchasing a potentially unsafe vehicle.
What is title washing?
- Title washing hides the history of a vehicle that's been salvaged. Titles are washed by transferring a salvaged vehicle to a state that doesn't recognize the brand. When the state issues a new title, it may no longer show that it was salvaged. If not, the seller will move it from state to state until the title is washed clean. Because a vehicle history report shows the car's full history, you will know if the title has been washed.
- Odometer tampering continues to be a serious crime and consumer fraud issue. There are dishonest sellers out there who intentionally roll odometers back to artificially inflate the vehicle's value. Vehicles that have low mileage are priced higher. If you believe you have been a victim of odometer fraud, report fraud to a federal government investigator in your state.