How to Get a Car History Report
Buying a used car is a big decision, and if you’re like most people, you’ve spent a ton of time looking for the right type of vehicle to purchase. Once you’ve narrowed down the perfect fit and figured out your budget, you begin your search for the car you’ll call your own. Unfortunately, your research isn’t quite done yet. There are many elements to this process and an important one is answering the question of ” How to Get a Car History Report “.
That’s because every car has a history, and unless you’re buying brand new off the lot from a dealer, you need to know that history. If you don’t, you could end up with a car that needs serious repairs in the future whether that’s a few days from when you buy it or a few months down the road. You could even end up with a stolen car in the worst case scenario!
Doing your research can help you make an informed decision with your hard-earned money. Keep reading to learn more about how to get a car history report on any vehicle you’re buying for personal or business use.
Why Get a Car History Report?
A car history report is designed to tell you about the life of the car before you owned it. While some dealers may provide a report, it’s always a smart idea to get your own unless you’re involved in the process.
With used cars you’re buying from an individual, getting a report on your own is paramount to protecting yourself. That’s because a shady private seller could easily take you for a ride by selling you a car with hidden issues or a history they don’t inform you of.
Don’t worry – getting a car history report isn’t an impossible task. It is absolutely something you can do whether you’ve tried to get one in the past or you have no experience with buying used cars at all.
What is Included in a Car History Report
- Records of how many previous vehicle owners
- Any accident history related to the vehicle. A history of airbag deployments, if any, will also be provided in a car history report.
- Maintenance records. Note that not all maintenance services will be recorded depending on the owner and service performed.
- The title status of the vehicle. This is important since you’ll need to buy the car from the current title owner and transfer it to your name for legal ownership.
- The car’s current mileage. Note that mileage may be slightly higher in person than in the car history report due to the recording date of the report.
- Records of liens or legal issues with the vehicle.
A vehicle history report provides vital records that you need before you buy any car. Here’s what you’ll find in a vehicle history report:
These are just a few of the most common pieces of information you’ll find in a car history report. In most cases, these are all you’ll need to make an informed decision about buying a car and see if the owner is on the up and up about the history of the car.
Car History Report By VIN
Obtaining a car history report typically requires you to have the unique vehicle identification number (VIN) of the car. If you have that, there are a variety of ways to get reports. Here are a few common methods:
- Use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website. They provide limited information on a car’s history.
- Use a paid service designed specifically for car history reports. These can be costly, but if you’re considering buy a car, they’re often the easiest way to get thorough information.
Not sure about how to read a VIN number on a car or obtain the VIN number you need? Use the free VIN decoder tool to simplify the process.
Free Car History Reports
The best way to do this is perform a VIN check through a third-party website. Third-party websites often provide some information about a vehicle and its past.
You can also use third-party websites to lookup a car VIN by brand.
How to Get a Used Car History Report
For used cars, a VIN search is typically the best bet for obtaining the right information. For a preliminary search, using the VIN decoder above and getting a limited vehicle history report through a third-party site can tell if you if a car is a good option or not.
When working with a dealer or private party, you should ask for the full VIN so you can run a thorough car history report before buying. If the seller won’t provide this or work with you it’s best to move on to a different vehicle.
Getting a vehicle history report is vital when you’re looking to buy a safe used car for yourself or your family. With the methods outlined above, you can get a paid car history search with detailed information or a quick, fast and free report before you consider buying a car.
Remember that you should never buy a car – unless it’s new off the lot – without a car history report. Buyer beware really means buyer research in today’s modern era.