Tips for Vehicle History Reports

Whether you are purchasing a used vehicle or trying to sell a used vehicle, a vehicle history report can come in very handy. When purchasing a used vehicle, you can not always trust what the seller (or dealer) tells you. Plus, if you are buying from a used car dealer, the dealerships may not know everything about the car. Many of the vehicles on used car lots are purchased at auctions or are trade-ins from previous customers.

Several companies sell vehicle history reports and free VIN checks, such as AutoCheck® and CARFAX vehicle history reports. AutoCheck® offers more competitive on pricing, a longer window for ordering "unlimited" reports, and also offers TitleGuard (which insures you against defective titles and transfer problems) than CARFAX vehicle history reports. However, both AutoCheck® and CARFAX vehicle history reports offer you valuable information about used vehicles.

AutoCheck® offers a Free VIN Check to show whether there are any records on the vehicle. You can upgrade to a one time vehicle history report check or unlimited vehicle history report checks. The best part, if you are shopping for a used vehicle and comparing several vehicles, AutoCheck® offers Unlimited Vehicle History Reports for a flat rate. For $24.99, AutoCheck® Unlimited lets you check unlimited Vehicle Indentification Numbers through vehicle history reports for 60 days. This is a savings versus the CARFAX's vehicle history report 30 day window at $29.99.

Each auto history report includes an AutoCheck® score to help you compare vehicles. If you are selling a used car, this can be helpful in determining how your vehicle compares to others that are for sale in your city. Websites like eBay require sellers to include the VIN number on their vehicle sale listing. With a few clicks, you can compare these vehicles within minutes using AutoCheck® Unlimited vehicle history reports.

Each AutoCheck® vehicle history report includes:

Number of owners

Assembly Location

15 Different Possible Title/Problem areas

AutoCheck Score

Odometer Check

Vehicle Use & Event Check (including liens on the vehicle)

Full History (including DMV registrations)

Definitions of items appearing in the report

Keep in mind, that most sellers will not disclose every little detail about their car. Vehicle history reports can be very helpful in discovering major flaws of a vehicle before you’ve wasted time with a test drive, had an inspection, arranged financing, etc. Do not buy a used vehicle without purchasing a vehicle history report.

We recommend getting familiar with the reports before pulling reports on cars you may buy. Run your parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts & uncles cars through AutoCheck® to understand the different remarks that appear in the vehicle history reports. It’s important to realize that a vehicle may be “totaled” by an insurance company, but people often buy and fix up “totaled” cars. Unfortunately, many of these rebuilt vehicles barely meet the standards to be re-sold.

Any items without a checkmark on the AutoCheck® vehicle history report needs your attention – especially in the “Title and ProblemCheck” section. If you run across a vehicle, that has anything other than a checkmark in this section – don’t buy it! Rebuilt titles, water damage, fire damage, salvage value/title, etc – most of these vehicles will be priced much lower than other similar vehicles. There is a reason for this. These vehicles are likely to have mechanical and electrical problems. Keep in mind, the factory warranty (if it is a late model) will be void after a vehicle has been “totaled” and you will not be able to purchase an Extended Warranty 101 .

Other things to watch for:

Odometer reading:

Does the vehicle have lower mileage than what appears on the AutoCheck® report? If a dealer or individual is trying to sell a vehicle with mileage that appears to be lower than what appears on the report, confirm (by phone) the correct mileage. If they insist that the mileage is lower, but the AutoCheck® report states otherwise, don’t buy the car. Lower mileage = higher vehicle value. High mileage = lower vehicle value. Unfortunately, there are people that will rollback the odometer to reflect lower mileage on a vehicle. (This can be done on digital odometers too.)

From this number, you can also determine how many miles the previous owners was putting on the vehicle each year (based on the age of the vehicle and total miles). Keep in mind, that if a vehicle was purchased at the beginning of the model year, in most cases, it will have more mileage than vehicles from the same model year that are purchased at the end of the model year. These differences account for the mileage adjustments that are made in the purchase.

Number of owners:

Though there may be legitimate reasons for a vehicle to have multiple owners in a short period of time, if a vehicle has a high number of owners during the first few years, this should raise a red flag. Dig deeper to make sure you aren’t inheriting a lemon. It’s recommended that you request the vehicle maintenance records, have the vehicle inspection completed by a trusted mechanic, and look for other red flags on the vehicle history report.


Lien is just a fancy word for “loan” or rather “debt”. If you see this on a vehicle history report, it means that the owner currently owes money on the vehicle. If you are purchasing from a dealership, this should be cleared before you sign any documents. If you are purchasing from an individual, this means that the bank has the title, because the vehicle loan has not been paid off yet. If this is the case, you will need to arrange a person-to-person loan. MyAutoLoan offers person-to person loans and makes this transition easy. MyAutoLoan walks you through the entire title transfer process. Many banks do not offer these loans.MyAutoLoan offers low interest rates to buyers with good to excellent credit history. If you are in a jam, check out MyAutoLoan offer person-to- person loans to buyers with "bad credit".

AutoCheck® Score:

While searching for vehicles of the same make/model, the AutoCheck® score can be used to compare vehicles. This score takes into consideration several valuable factors, such as, the number of owners, the mileage, age of the vehicle, and any incidents appearing on the report.


Single Vehicle History Report $19.99

Unlimited Vehicle History Reports for 60 days $24.99

Unlimited Vehicle History Reports + Titleguard $59.99


Single Vehicle History Report $24.99

Unlimited Vehicle History Reports for 30 days $29.99

*Rates are current as of September 28, 2007 AutoCheck® and CARFAX vehicle history report rates may change at any time. Current rates may be confirmed on their website.

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