How to Check Car History
Want to know how to check a vehicle history? If yes, here is everything you need to know. A vehicle or car history report abbreviated as VHR is a declaration that has information about repair history and ownership of a particular car. Although you can get VHR online for free, the information offered for free may not be as detailed as you would want. To be on the safe side, it is prudent to acquire full VHR in case the information you get free is severely limited. Below are some of the steps you should consider when checking the history of a car:
1. Decide whether to use the free VHR or the paid one
Most of the free car reports only contain general information about your vehicle’s make and model without offering specific details associated with your car. Some of the details you can get from a free VHR include recall information, service history & alerts, model, manufacturing details and a summary of the full report.
On the other hand, you can buy a full VHR from various sources like AutoCheck, CarFax among others for less than $50. With a full report, you can get the information you need regarding a particular car using its VIN (vehicle identification number) to identify it. Some of the information available include flood repair history, accidental history repair, lease/rental history, maintenance records, periodic odometer readings, clean ownership/title verification and ownership history.
In the near future, almost all the information you need to know about a car will be available for free. And this argument is amplified by sites like vehiclehistory.com that have started offering complete VHRs for free. According to their website, the information in their reports includes state records, historical records, background history, public records, government records, vehicle information and vehicle ownership records.
2. Generate a car history report
In order to generate a report for a specific car, you need to have its VIN. The identification number can be found in several places, for example, in car stickers on the various parts of the car including underneath the auxiliary tire and rear wheel, and essential car documents like manuals.
Now what you need to do is check for a reputable online service offering free VHRs even if you will eventually buy the comprehensive one. Some car dealers include a link pointing to a free VHR that you can use for preliminary research.
After you have decided which company to use for reports generation, enter your VIN and other required information like license plate number and zip code. Then, accept the terms and conditions offered and click “Run” or “Submit” so that your free VHR can be automatically loaded. In case you purchase the full VHR, you will get information that is more detailed and easier to interpret.
3. Involve the previous owner or the dealership
To save on costs, you can ask the previous owner or the dealership to purchase the full VHR but only after you are satisfied with the car and its free VHR. Moreover, it is good to show an interest in a particular car and concentrate on it rather than showing interest in a number of them. Why? The dealership will likely be willing to pay for VHR for such a customer.
However, that is not all as you will require a trustworthy mechanic to check the car for you before taking it for a spin. When you have done all these things, the salesperson will provide the necessary support information you need if you have any reservations. Nonetheless, remember to always check whether the VHR you get from the dealership is up to date. In addition, proceed with caution if the salesperson refuses to hand you a VHR.
4. Check for fraud
It is always advisable to check whether the car you are about to purchase was stolen. You can use the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) database to do that as the data is accessible through the website provided you have a VIN of the car that you want to run.
The NICB website search process is straightforward and you only need to navigate to “VIN Check” page. To do that, use the “Fraud and Theft awareness” tab dropdown to navigate to the page. And when you get to the page, fill in the required information, accept the terms of service, solve the captcha and finally hit the “Submit” button. Here, the report you get includes all the information related to police reports and theft reports for the last five years.
Better safe than sorry – do your due diligence to avoid buying a car that has problems. Francis Bacon was not wrong when he said knowledge is power!