Vehicle History Report

People Phone License Plate VIN
People Phone License Plate VIN

How To Get a Vehicle History Report

A vehicle history report (or VIN check) is an invaluable tool if you are planning on buying or selling a vehicle. As a buyer, you can use a vehicle history report to give you peace of mind that the vehicle you are thinking of purchasing is in good condition. On the other hand, if you are selling a vehicle then a clean history report can help entice potential buyers.

vehicle history report

How to Obtain a Vehicle History Report

You can obtain both free and paid VIN lookups. Free vehicle records will typically include less information than paid ones, but they may be sufficient depending on what information you need. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) offers a free VinCheck. As with a complete vehicle history report, you will need to provide your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) when using VinCheck. You can also only make up to five searches within a 24-hour period and certain vehicle records may take up to six months to be updated with VinCheck.

Alternatively, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers a more limited history report. The NHTSA’s search tool is useful mainly if you want to see if your vehicle or any of its parts have been recalled.

Third-party databases, including, also offer both free and paid VIN lookups. The paid records offered through third-party companies tend to be the most complete. The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System provides a list of approved providers of vehicle information and history data. Note that some approved providers will only provide records to car dealers and not directly to consumers.

What is Included in a Vehicle History Report

Not all vehicle history reports will include the same information, but in general you can expect your VIN report to include some or all of the following:

  • Accident history
  • Previous owners
  • Liens held against the vehicle
  • Recalls
  • Flood damage
  • Title checks
  • History of airbag deployments
  • Maintenance record
  • Problems with the odometer
  • Records of theft

Note that not all VIN checks will include the same type of information. A record from the NICB, for example, is designed to prevent the exchange of stolen vehicles, so it’s great if you want to make sure that the car in question wasn’t reported stolen. On the other hand, it won’t include much information about that vehicle’s maintenance history.

Vehicle Records from the DMV

Most DMV’s don’t provide vehicle history records. However, many do provide vehicle registration and title abstracts, which contain much of the same information that you would find in a history report. In New York, for example, the registration abstract includes some useful history information, such as parking fines and insurance lapses. A title record abstract, meanwhile, will include information about previous owners of the vehicle.

License Plate and VIN Search

In many cases, looking up a car’s VIN is simply about peace of mind. Every car built after 1980 has its own VIN, which is unique to that vehicle. You can find the VIN on the dashboard on the driver’s side and next to the latch in the driver’s door frame. Remember that the VIN, unlike a license plate, does not change even if you change the car’s registration from one state to another. That’s why conducting a VIN search can typically provide more information than a simple license plate search will provide. However, searching for a license plate number is also a useful way for finding out the VIN associated with a particular plate number.

Can I lookup a vehicle history report online?

Yes, there are a multitude of motor vehicle website where you can lookup a vehicle's history. You will need the entire 17 digit VIN to run a vehicle history report, each vehicle has a unique VIN. The report should include the entire vehicle history, vehicle specs, accidents, recalls and safety warnings.

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Responses to “Vehicle History Report

  1. I’m looking for a car that was registered originally in 1969 Dodge Charger RT special edition registered to Michael D Gillian 1976

    1. Babatunde, can you please expand on your request and how this is relevant to your vehicle history report? We are happy to help if you can give us some more information

  2. i’m looking for my childhood car my dad amd mom owned 1976 4door sedan Chevrolet Nova owned from New 1976 till 1986 license plate California 951-FTP traded into dodge dealership for – 1986 dodge minivan Green with Rally Wheels tan brown interior 305 v8 if the car is still on the road i want to buy it back what a long shot car was last seen on a commerial in Yuba city 1986 for sell a real cream puff one owner used car comercial

  3. I’m having a popping sound on the front of my car on the outside and my air conditioner does not cool good I\’ve had it checked several times I have heard that somebody said that it was in a wreck how do I find out if it was

    1. You can see if the vehicle has a salvaged title, which is part of the vehicle history report, but it might not reveal an accident that did not total the car

  4. Hello there My Cadillac Escalade Is Missing I have ownership and the Title, I need help locating my vehicle, I have the 17 digit vin number as well.

  5. We traded in a car at a dealership for $10,000.00 and also put $1,000.00 down. on a leased car. now the dealership says they have no record of us trading it in. so the balance of our leased car is &10,000 more then it should be. We have moved since we leased the new car from the dealership and have 2 Hugh storage spaces to go through to find the original paperwork. I can see that the put our old car up for sale the very next day. how can I prove that the took our car and did not credit us the 10,000 dollars

    1. Barb, you will want to contact the DMV office in the state you previously lived in and verify what name is on the vehicle title. As far as the paperwork goes to prove that you were credited the $10k, it would be helpful for you to find the bill of sale paperwork so that you have evidence of your claim. If you feel foul play is at hand, you might want to contact your local police department and file a police report and/or contact an attorney for advise

  6. I purchased a dirt bike/ motorcycle that I am needing to titled. When I bought it the owner said he had no title. How can I gain title to this bike?

    1. James, we only have vehicle records for street legal vehicles. It’s fairly difficult to obtain a vehicle history report on a dirt bike or any off-road vehicle as they are not registered the same with the DMV as street legal vehicles

  7. I’m trying to find out where my title is after paying off the car. The Car Store in Piney Flats Tennessee, last ones that had it. They said that they mailed it, but where did they mail it to???? It was totalled in an accident. Only thing wrong was the side swiped passenger side and the right rear shock was broke. Still a great running car.

  8. I’m looking for a vehicle history report on a 1976 Honda CB550F there is no 17digit vin or plates how do I go about getting a history report for it?

    1. Brandon, unfortunately this vehicle history report is not accessible with our vehicle record resources. You can contact your local DMV to inquire about running a vehicle history report on this older vehicle. Sometimes it is difficult to obtain information on older vehicles if their vehicle history was not entered into a centralized database

  9. I am needing to speak to someone regarding trying to get some titles corrected. It seems their were some typos that the DMV have made. I have been calling 304-558-3900 and have been unsuccessful on reaching a live person.

    1. Alicia, you will need to contact the DMV directly. During COVID there are typically longer wait times than normal to get someone on the phone. We are a public record website that has not affiliation to the motor vehicle department to request changes to your vehicle titles.

    1. Victoria, if you plug your VIN into our search, you will have the option to purchase a vehicle history report. This report will also have the vehicle title information included which will tell you if the vehicle title is clean

    1. Richard, you might want to contact the DMV about this. Most VIN lookup resources can only lookup vehicles in the last 30-40 years, those that have VINs with 17digits. Before then there were mostly paper records for vehicles and most of them did not get uploaded into the current vehicle databases.

  10. I let a so called friend borrow my car and they went and did a abandoned title on it I\’ve got the bill of sale where i just bought it why in the world would I abandon it ? What steps do I need to do to recover it back before they destroy it

    1. Zachary, it sounds like this was an intentionally unlawful act your friend pulled on you. If this is the case you might consider calling the police and filing a police report and then contacting the DMV with all the information you have on the vehicle and exactly what happened. Unfortunately this is a new one for us and we don’t have any recommendations we can offer you from our experience. Best of luck and please reach out if we can assist you with any future public record or vehicle record resources

    1. Anita, typically vehicle history reports will have limited information about the owners of a vehicle. First however, you must go through our search and read and agree to the terms of the DPPA before receiving information about any vehicle. The other option is to make your inquiry directly with the DMV in your state

  11. I had owned a 2012 Hyundai Elantra from 2012-2017 and do not have plate or Vin or reg info. I need to check the Conn state records to see when I cancelled the plates. The Lien was held by Santander – and I lived in the City of NEw London Ct at the time.

  12. Would like to know how I can get a plate number for a moped scooter so I can get a plate made. It doesn\’t have a plate and the person I got it from claims he doesn\’t have it. Please get back to me asap

    1. Unfortunately our vehicle history report will only work for cars, truck, SUVs and motorcycles. Your best option would be to visit the DMV in person and provide them with your registration, bill of sale or any other documentation you have on the moped, as well as your driver’s license. The DMV will be able to do a VIN search for you with and instruct you on what to do in order to obtain a license plate for your moped.

  13. Your system does not work for vehicles that was made before the new vin system came out. Older have a shorter vin number than new cars.

    1. Our vehicle report resources will only work for vehicle with 17 digits. You might consider contacting your local DMV office about this matter. A Vehicle History Report can reveal a lot about a vehicle. There is probably a long vehicle history for the Cadillac you mentioned since it’s over 50 years old.

    1. Typically a vehicle history report will not include mileage reports unless there is a previous transfer of title. That is the only time we notice the mileage records being recorded. You can use our VIN Decoder below and see what information is available. If you don’t find what you’re looking for then you’ll want to check with the DMV for that specific vehicle history report information.

      Vehicle VIN Decoder – Click Here To Get a Vehicle History Report Online

  14. Former army freind lied about not possesing my mustang. I was serving overseas upon my return I flew to Ohio to get it. Her husband & her made story about it. Found out recently online she still has it. Would like history of my 1968 mustang.

    1. That’s an unfortunate turn of events and we’re sorry to hear that a friend has taken advantage of you. Check out our VIN Decoder where you can get a vehicle history report online. This should give you the vehicle history information you’re looking for.

  15. My 2004 expedition Eddie Bauer.. 5.4 it run for 50 miles and then it quits. It stop running while driving. I can figure out what the problem is. Can you help?

    1. You might check the fuel filter and battery and alternator to start. There are many possibilities as to why your vehicle quits on you but unfortunately it is not our expertise. This is really a question for a mechanic as we only provide vehicle history records and not maintenance records.

    1. What information are you looking for that you did not find in the vehicle history report? Please let us know how we can further assist you

  16. We do appreciate the time that you take to read this and respond to us at your earliest convenience it is a really big concern for both me and my wife thank you.

  17. Both I and my wife had bought a car some lashes Volkswagen. Year 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SE and we see that there was something mentioned about. Possible Title Liens Reported. We don’t quite understand exactly what that means but it seems a little shaky to us would like to know more information about this car if you could please help us thank you!

    1. Typically a title lien means that a bank or other financial institution has a lien on the vehicle and there might have been a loan taken out on the vehicle that hasn’t been paid back. This is unfortunately something we cannot lookup for you. Your best bet is to contact the DMV in your area and inquire about the potential Vehicle Title Lien.

      That being said if you have the title to the Volkswagen and there is no lien holder listed then you might be in the clear. You might still want to follow up with the DMV in case a secondary loan was taken out on the equity on the vehicle.

Author: SQAdmin
Last Updated: November 17, 2020

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