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free car history report

Used Car History Reports
An estimated 34-percent of consumers are buying vehicle history reports for used cars more frequently, partially in reaction to the number of vehicles that may have been damaged by flooding during hurricanes. Vehicle history reports also help consumers avoid various types of auto fraud, such as odometer fraud. About 30-percent of manufacturer franchise dealers provide vehicle history reports to customers at no additional cost. In addition, some car retailers, such as CarMax, offer vehicle history reports for their inventory at no charge to customers. Consumers can also purchase vehicle history reports online through companies like AutoCheck and Carfax.com.

Free Car History Report Services
Lemon and/or recall checks can be performed at no cost. However, these checks do not contain all of the information that is contained on a full history report.

A user may purchase a single report or an account which allows unlimited reports for a period of time. Car dealers can also be requested to run reports for free on vehicles they have for sale. Thousands of dealers buy reports and make them available for free to potential car buyers.

Users enter the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) into the website to receive a report. The service will not work for any vehicle that has a VIN of less (or more) than 17 digits, which includes most vehicles that are older than model year 1981[3]. The service will only work for cars and light trucks.

What is included in a free car history report?
A record on a report may not be something negative. A car with six records could show:

  1. When the car was built
  2. When and where the car was first registered
  3. When the first annual inspection was done
  4. When the second annual inspection was done
  5. When the car was registered in a new state
  6. When the car was offered for sale

However, records can provide information that addresses a buyer's concerns, including accidents and inspection failures.

CARFAX reports contain information which provides a history of ownership (how many, where, when), usage (odometer readings, maintenance/repair events, registration type), title brands (salvage, junk, fire, flood, etc.), and miscellaneous events (accidents, recalls, certifications). In aggregate this information provides one perspective for analyzing the quality and value of a vehicle.

Some information is not available on a report. Personal information such as names, telephone numbers and addresses of owners is neither collected nor reported. CARFAX Reports do not include owners' names and addresses (for both individuals and companies). The 1994 Drivers Privacy Protection Act prohibits third parties such as CARFAX from distributing such information.

Information on events in a vehicle's history that have never been reported (unreported accidents, owner performed maintenance, etc.) is also unavailable.

Sources of report information
The CARFAX database contains over four and a half billion records that have been collected over the course of 20 years from over 20,000 sources. Mistakes and errors, although uncommon, can and do occur. Common causes for report errors include incorrect mileage readings by emissions technicians, owners estimating miles on registration forms and dealer inventory labels keyed incorrectly. A data amendment process is available.

These sources include, but are not limited to: