How To Find a Car's History

Not every individual can afford purchasing a brand new vehicle, that is why many people resort to buying secondhand cars. Of course after weighing what you would want and need in a car, and how much budget you have, you just don’t go straight to buy a secondhand car. It would entail lots of research and good judgment before a purchase can be completed. To make sure that you are in for a good purchase, follow the steps below:

  1. Get the car’s VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number to request for a copy of the Car History Report. You cannot find a vehicle history report without the VIN. The VIN is a unique seventeen digit alphanumeric code that is assigned to identify a manufactured vehicle. You can find the VIN on a strip on the car’s driver’s side, where the windshield and the dashboard converge.
  2. Use an online tool or website that generates the said Car History Report. Expect to pay for reliable vehicle history reports, and the prices would range from $20 to $50 for each report requested. It is often suggested to use services by CarFax and Experian. Sample of the details you will see in the Car History Report are as follows:
    • Car Specifications – make and model, engine size, condition, mileage, etc.
    • Accident Report
    • Latest Odometer Reading or  Possible Odometer Tampering
    • Possible Fire, Flood or Hail Damage
    • Police Use
    • Salvage or Junk Report
    • Ownership History
    • Warranty Details
  3. After securing the Vehicle History Report, check with the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Go to, as they will give you a free VIN check to see if the vehicle you intend to buy was already reported lost and was never recovered.

Since you are already online, and it sometimes would take about two days before you get the Car History Report you have requested, it would never hurt to do a little more research while you wait. Try searching for reviews of previous car owners for the make and model of the car you are intending to buy so you get a rough idea on what you will be expecting with the car. This would be a good addendum with the Car History Report when you are about to decide whether to purchase the car or not.


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