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The costs of new vehicles are continually rising. With the car’s value immediately plummeting once it leaves the dealership, many people prefer to go the second-hand route. Purchasing a second-hand car is more affordable, but many people have one concern when buying a second-hand car: that is the car’s history. While Carfax offers detailed reports on the car’s history, it can be costly.
How to get a free Carfax report and our list of 10 free alternatives are below. Scroll down to see them all.
Table of Contents
- Key Takeaways
- How To Get A Free Carfax Report And The Alternatives
- Related Questions
- There are many free alternatives to Carfax.
- It is possible to get a Carfax report for free on the Carfax website.
- Carfax alternatives offer VIN searches and vehicle history reports.
- Search the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) website with a VIN number to access information on whether the vehicle was involved in insurance theft or not.
- Carfax reports can also be accessed at reputable used car dealerships.
- Sites that offer VIN number searches and vehicle history reports provide comprehensive reports and provide enough information on a used vehicle without paying for a Carfax report.
How To Get A Free Carfax Report And The Alternatives
When considering purchasing a second-hand car, you may have thought about the car’s history and what possible problems the car has had or could have. This is where the Carfax report can help guide you when purchasing a second-hand car.
But what if you’re already on a budget and don’t necessarily want to pay for this report? Is there a free way to get a Carfax Report? And are there alternative methods to checking the history of a car?
We’ll explore a few of the options you have to check the history of your car before purchasing it in the sections below.
1. Get A Free Carfax Report
Carfax is one of the most reputable car reports you can get when you want to purchase a second-hand car. The Carfax report has 26 billion records used when generating a report. In addition, it covers information such as the description, accident details, recalls, and the number of previous owners. This information is vital for purchasing a car.
Despite being highly trustworthy and one of the most used car report services, it can get costly. For one report, it costs $39.99. For 3 to 6 reports, it costs $59.99-$99.99. Understandably, some prospective car buyers may look for free or cheaper alternatives.
You can get a free Carfax report; here’s how:
- Go to the Carfax website. Once you’re on the Carfax website, go to the “find a used car” section on the home page.
- Search for a vehicle. Once you are on the “find a used car” page, enter the make and model of the car you want to purchase and your zip code. All the relevant listings will then be displayed on the Carfax website.
- View your report. To view information on a vehicle, select it from the list of vehicles. Then scroll down to the bottom of the page, where there will be an option for a “Carfax Snapshot.” This will display information on the vehicle and is a summarized report.
- Access the full report. If you’d like more information on the vehicle, you can access the free report. First, look for the button in the snapshot box which says “download the free report.” Once selected, a page will open up in a new tab displaying the full report.
This is a great way to view cars in your local area and get a free Carfax report on them.
2. Check With Car Dealerships
Suppose you are considering purchasing a second-hand car through a dealership. In that case, you may find that they have a Carfax report for the vehicle you are looking at purchasing. Carfax reports are available at most authorized used car dealerships, so visiting one in your area is worth looking into.
Some dealerships have partnered with Carfax. A list of dealerships that offer Carfax reports can be found on the Carfax website. These reports are accessible to prospective buyers.
3. Online Car Sites
On the cars.com website, you can search for the make and model of the vehicle you are looking at purchasing and select the distance. Once the results are displayed, there will be a Carfax report link under each listing. This report is easily accessible and free.
4. VIN Check
Vincheck.info is an excellent alternative to use instead of the Carfax report. This service allows you to access the car’s history, specifications, market value, and title check. The VIN check is completed in 3 easy steps and is absolutely free. First, enter your VIN number in their search bar, wait a few minutes for the search to be processed, and view or download the 10-page report.
This in-depth 10-page report provides all the information needed to purchase a used car. Safety ratings, flood damage, fuel efficiency, and defects are also included in this report.
5. I See Cars Vin Check
I See Cars is another popular tool for getting detailed reports on a car’s history. Their renowned data and research abilities have made them a trusted company by second-hand car buyers. I See Cars has also been featured by media companies like CNBC, New York Times, and Forbes for their VIN check services.
Some of the unique information on I See Cars reports are the car’s depreciation value, the best time to buy, and the supplier analysis. All the information provided in this report gives buyers the ability to make the most informed decision when purchasing their second-hand car.
6. Lemon Checks
Lemon Checks has a range of reports for consumers interested in purchasing a used car. Lemon Checks offer a worldwide check by entering the vehicle’s VIN number. In addition, their special car history report includes information like the previous title holders, odometer rollbacks, significant accidents, and theft.
7. National Insurance Crime Bureau
The National Insurance Crime Bureau has a VIN search for those interested in purchasing a car. While this service does not give you a complete history of a previously owned car, it does provide information as to whether the vehicle was involved in insurance theft or not. Additionally, this service can be used with an additional car report service to ensure the car you’d like to purchase passes all the relevant checks.
If you’re looking for a legitimate vehicle to purchase, looking up the VIN number on the NICB’s website is highly recommended.
AutoDNA is a popular alternative to Carfax and has been around since 2010. AutoDNA is a leading provider of vehicle history reports in the United States and Europe and offers a simple free VIN check. Their VIN check provides essential information on a car’s history. In addition, this report covers data on odometer readings, stolen vehicle records, damages and accidents, and manufacturing defaults.
9. Vehicle History
Vehicle History reports have a free VIN lookup service that offers a report on a car and other helpful information like the fuel economy and the cost to own the vehicle. This site is rated a 4.9 out of 5 based on customer reviews. Most customers report it is an excellent alternative to Carfax.
Verispy has an advanced free VIN check service that covers millions of records for a comprehensive vehicle history report. Their data accessed covers 50 states and includes vehicle recall, accident history, sale history, and problems with the car. They also cover the list of title holders and other relevant information to give you a comprehensive look into the history of the vehicle you want to purchase.
There are many alternatives to a Carfax report; it depends on how much information you are looking for before purchasing a car. For example, if you are buying a second-hand vehicle from a used car dealership, they will more than likely have a Carfax report on the vehicle.
If you are purchasing it from a private seller, you could request that they pay for a Carfax report on the car. This way, you’ll determine if the used car is a good purchase and a car that you should buy.
Lastly, many of the alternatives to a Carfax report offer a comprehensive look into the history of a car and the issues it may have. If you are hesitant about purchasing a Carfax report, using one of the free alternatives can provide enough information when buying your second-hand car.
Should You Pay For A Carfax Report?
Carfax reports are highly reputable and are trusted by consumers. In addition, their database of records is impressive. Considering you may only be purchasing a second-hand car once to a handful of times during your lifetime, it may be worth buying.
This being said, the fee for a report can be costly. And suppose you are considering more than one vehicle because you haven’t decided on which to purchase. In that case, the cost of the reports can start to add up, despite a slight discount for purchasing more reports.
The free alternatives are great, but they may not give you peace of mind when purchasing a second-hand vehicle. However, if the free alternative lists as much information as the Carfax report, it’s worth trying out. The free alternatives can also give you enough information to decide to purchase a second-hand car.
Another option is to purchase a car through a legitimate dealership. Most of these dealerships have Carfax reports for all the vehicles being sold. Buying from an honest dealership is also a safer option because they can offer extra services and guarantees. These additional services and guarantees won’t be available if you purchase your vehicle through a private seller.
Are Free Alternatives Better Than A Carfax Report?
Free alternatives like Vehicle History, Lemon Checks, and Vincheck.info are great for getting information on used cars. Most of these provide a basic report on a vehicle, including title holders, flood damage, accident history, and manufacturer faults.
Free alternatives can be as good as a Carfax report but may not be better than a Carfax report. Carfax remains one of the most trusted vehicle history reports and is widely used.
AutoCheck VS Carfax, Which Is Better?
AutoCheck and Carfax offer vehicle history reports, with AutoCheck excelling in keeping records of auctioned cars. Their accuracy in the auction department gives them a slight advantage over Carfax. In offering reports, Carfax has the most accurate information regarding the history of previous owners and the mileage.
AutoCheck also has a subscription service that allows you to do as many VIN number searches as you need, which Carfax does not offer. Between AutoCheck and Carfax, AutoCheck is cheaper and gives the car a score between 70-90 to tell you about the vehicle’s history.
The score rating can be a drawback. The slightest difference in the score can mean the car is not worth purchasing. On the other hand, the difference in the score could be because there was a significant incident or fault in the car’s history. This incident or fault may not be something you are concerned about but still devalues the car.
AutoCheck’s database is not as comprehensive as Carfax’s. It excludes some critical variables like service history, maintenance, and emission inspections, thus making AutoCheck’s report less extensive when compared to Carfax.
While both offer good reports, it’s also essential to get the second-hand vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic to ensure there are no hidden faults. If you are looking to cover the basics and a bit more at an affordable price, then choose AutoCheck, but if you’re looking for something that ticks all the boxes and if you’re happy to pay for a report, then use Carfax.