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Purchasing a second-hand car is quite a daunting task with many variables to consider. The last thing you want is the salesperson lying to you about past damages the vehicle sustained. Enter VIN checking. This service tracks a vehicle’s history through its unique 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN) and alerts you to issues like salvaging, flood damage, theft, and total damage; while also showing you mileage, insurance, and other critical information. The outstanding news is that many of these VIN check services are free.
Below are 14 free VIN check options available are below, scroll down to see them all.
Table of Contents
- Key Takeaways
- Free VIN Check Sites
- Paid VIN Check That Offers Free Services
- Related Questions
- Many sites offer a “free” VIN check service.
- Most of these sites offer limited information for free, while the rest of the information is behind “pay gates.”
- Although the information is mostly up-to-date, there are often discrepancies and short fallings (for paid and free versions).
- It would be best if you took care when utilizing the services of online VIN check companies, as many people experience scammers.
- A VIN is essential when purchasing a second-hand/used vehicle, as it provides you with a way of determining the vehicle’s history.
The internet is vast and full of useful information on user-friendly websites. Often, we need to pay for the best information, but sometimes we strike gold and have access to what we need for free. The same is applicable when checking VINs.
- The report generated consists of roughly 200 data points.
- A useful tool when searching for cars to purchase or where to sell.
- There are millions of listings.
- The search engine takes from all sources on the internet, and vehicles are not on the iSeeCars website.
- Flood damage is not indicated.
The iSeeCars VIN check tool is free and provides users with a comprehensive report on the vehicle’s price history and projections, depreciation, and when is the best time to buy and sell.
The easy-to-use service requires entering the vehicle’s VIN onto the website and pressing the “analyze” button. The generated report provides body design, days on the market, luggage space, manual/automatic, mileage, condition, recall information, and seller type.
iSeeCars is a search engine, so it pulls information from across the internet from sites like AutoNation, cars.com, CarMax, Craigslist, and eBay.
- Up to 5 free VIN checks per IP address within 24 hours.
- An easy-to-use free service.
- Information may be outdated/not 100% up-to-date.
- Limited information is generated on the report.
Another site that provides a free VIN check service where potential buyers can look online to see if the vehicle was stolen, damaged, salvaged, or extensively damaged and declared as a total loss is the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
NICB draws its information from insurance companies. To use this service, enter the vehicle’s VIN into the site, agree to the terms and conditions, verify that you’re not a robot, click “search VIN,” and then wait for the report.
- VehicleHistory is one of the best free VIN check resources available.
- Simple to use the website and quick results.
- Not all information is always present/up to date relating to the recalls and accidents.
Of all the free VIN check services, VehicleHistory provides the most information. The reports generated include information on fuel economy, original specifications, recent recalls, safety ratings, user reviews, warranty, and similar vehicles.
Another feature of VehicleHistory is collecting statements and reviews from verified owners that help customers purchase second-hand vehicles. The staff at VehicleHistory test numerous vehicles every year to better assist customers in what to look for.
- The search function works with the VIN or plate number.
- A free service.
- Many people complain about customer services that are not up to standard.
This site has many mixed reviews. Some customers say that they found what they want for free, while others complain that the website requires a subscription and that they don’t provide you with accurate and reliable information.
Caution is advised when using this site. Try to use the garage plate and VIN, then compare the details. The report is reputed to provide accident history, safety ratings, and other specifications by those who enjoy the site.
- A comprehensive free service.
- The site may miss some details/information.
A standard VINDecoded report includes accidents (including the date and a description), market value (as compared to other similar vehicles in your area), safety ratings (recalls, complaints, and known issues), service records (from dealerships estimating costs with suggested schedules), and vehicle specifications (the engine, transmission, mileage, fuel consumption, etc.).
This site includes past listings, with pricing and other details.
Although some VIN Check services require payment for their “full-bouquet” service, many of these sites/companies offer limited free services.
- Linked to the extensive Experian database.
- A 0-100 rating system is derived from broad criteria.
- The service allows you to compare two vehicles.
- It is a paid service.
- Vehicle maintenance and service info is not included in the generated report.
While AutoCheck is a paid VIN Check, they offer a basic service for free. AutoCheck is linked to a National Vehicle Database, comprising roughly 500 million vehicles.
The paid service of AutoCheck ranks vehicles. The report (or comparison generated) is comprehensive, and it includes accidents, carbon dioxide emissions, engine capacity, gray market values, model, ownership and rental history, recorded mileage, and other specifications.
Unfortunately, the free service only provides you with the model, make, and country of origin.
- In partnership with AutoCheck and Experian.
- Access to gigantic databases, possibly the largest in the world.
- Car data from Europe and the USA.
- autoDNA splits its reports behind different “pay-gates,” so you need to pay extra for more info.
- This site is not 100% free.
autoDNA has a partnership with AutoCheck and, through extension, access to the Experian VIN database system. autoDNA grants access to data concerning pre-owned cars from Europe and the USA, expanding the possibilities and market when shopping for a second-hand car.
They estimate roughly 500 million automobiles on the autoDNA database, providing around 4 trillion statistics on an easy-to-use website. Information consolidated into reports includes mileage, past damages, previous owners and uses (rental, private, etc.), and historical price records.
- Information on Bumper comes from 22 state-level departments, insurance companies, salvage auctions, scrap yards, and towing agencies.
- Bumper recently (April 2022) announced that they would add a rewards program.
- Bumper requires a paid membership to receive access to all of its benefits.
Bumper is a web-based tool that collects information and generates reports on vehicles. Reported information includes accidents, market value, sale listings, safety recalls, and salvaging.
Bumper’s partnerships and rewards program allow customers to receive benefits from affiliated companies like Throtl, SpotHero, and RepairSmith. Most of these rewards include discounts on products and services.
Bumper’s membership benefits include unlimited access to most of their services (reports, accident and salvaging information, etc.).
- Carfax is in a partnership with the US News and has access to their vehicle listings.
- One of the largest cross-border databases with roughly 22 billion records.
- It is a paid service.
- The accident damage report is limited and open to manipulation by dealerships and customers.
Carfax claims that they have a tremendous amount of data from over 100,000 different outlets but is limited in its reporting. Carfax generated reports show accidents, damages, and ownership history.
Often, car dealers provide the potential customer with a Carfax report upon request as part of the service. Dealerships usually have a membership/paid account, so you’ll receive the “full” version of the information. Carfax operates in the US and Canada.
- CarVertical access and draws from a range of databases.
- The information CarVertical obtains and stores are secure through blockchains.
- CarVertical works on an app for your smartphone.
- The app is free, but the full service requires payment.
- Some accident details are missed.
CarVertical draws from various information sources and then links them together to generate a comprehensive report.
The information sources include the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, vehicle markets (to obtain current market values), national and private registries, car auctions, fire department records, and insurance databases.
CarVertical offers the same bouquet of mileage, accidents, user history, insurance, etc., as many other VIN checkers offer.
The app allows you to check a VIN from your phone for free.
- A large database of roughly 40 million vehicle records.
- EpicVin is a partner of Autoinspect.us.
- You’ll need to pay for the full service.
- A slightly confusing/complicated website.
EpicVin compiles year model, make, country of origin, accidents, and other details in its report.
EpicVin is another site that uses the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System and other information nodes as references, providing an accurate report.
Aside from a free VIN check, EpicVin holds a weekly free “giveaway” raffle on their Instagram and Facebook pages, where the winner receives a free vehicle report.
- VINFreeCheck provides quality information through partnerships with NHTSA, NMVTIS, and others.
- This site flags flooded, repaired, and scam-related vehicles, providing buyers with the peace of mind.
- You’ll need to pay to access more detailed information.
VINFreeCheck offers similar information on its reports, including vehicle model, brand, and design information, with the flood and other damages/scam information, on its free version. They also provide historical sales and mileage information for free.
If you need/want more up-to-date information, like mileage and collision records, you’ll, unfortunately, need to purchase it.
- The paid version offers a comprehensive report.
- A free environmental score.
- The website offers links to quotes on financing and insurance.
- The full service requires payment.
- The report won’t show accident details unless you’re paid up.
VINCheckPro’s free report includes information like the make, model, origin, year, and if it is listed in a recall database. However, if you want an accident, vehicle specifications, theft, ownership, recall specifics, and other details, you’ll need to pay for the full report.
- A good site that provides comprehensive information for free.
- The site flags “lemons,” buy-backs and provides good quality information.
- Although the free version is comprehensive, there is a pay gate for the full information bouquet.
VINPit provides accurate, quality information from its extensive database. VINPit provides information on a vehicle’s ownership, assembly origins, authenticity, safety recalls, and previous registrations.
You’ll need to make a payment for additional information (like accidents, repairs, unclaimed damages, and criminal records).
A vehicle’s VIN is the unique 17-character code that sets it apart from all other vehicles. These VINs follow a vehicle through its life, no matter how many ownership changes it undergoes.
The quintessential reason for a VIN check is when someone intends to purchase a second-hand vehicle. A VIN check lets you see the vehicle’s history and, most importantly, what damages it might have sustained if legal actions are connected to the vehicle or any other issues.
Unfortunately, some scammers take vehicles that were totaled, or suffered flood damage, to a different state, re-register them and try to sell them to unsuspecting customers. A VIN check allows you (the customer) to see this history before purchasing a bad vehicle.
A VIN check saves you money and reduces the stress of purchasing a used vehicle.
|VIN check website||Is the company safe/legit?||User review score||Comments|
|autoDNA||Many consider this site a scam. Caution recommended||1.6||Many comments claim that it is a waste of money, with little information provided|
|Bumper||Caution recommended||1.4||They often continue charging even after canceling the subscription.|
|CarVertical||safe||4.2||Some mixed responses, but overall, people enjoy this service.|
|EpicVin||Safe||3||Mixed responses, some people|
|iSeeCars||Caution required||1.56||Many scammers linked to the info on the site.|
|National Insurance Crime Bureau||Safe||4.3||Many happy customers|
|VehicleHistory||Safe||4.7||Many happy customers|
|VINCheck.info||Caution is recommended||2.5||Mixed reviews|
|VINDecoded||Caution is recommended||unknown||No comments|
|VINFreeCheck||Caution is recommended||1||Only 1 negative review|
|VINPit||Caution is recommended||unknown||No comments|
|AutoCheck||Caution is recommended||2||Mostly negative comments|
|Carfax||Safe||2||Many negative reviews|
|VINCheckPro||Caution is recommended||1.3||Many negative reviews|
We feel that the site is probably safe for most sites where caution is recommended. Still, it would be best to use discretion before spending money/or providing your sensitive information to these sites due to the negative reviews.
User ratings are not always objective. When you have a good experience, you barely ever provide the company with a positive review. However, we’re very quick to make scathing reviews against the company that disappointed us.
Although free VIN checks are budgetary beneficial, some risks are involved when using free services. These risks include:
- The most prominent risk when using an online VIN check is a scam. Scammers abound on the internet, as many of us have undoubtedly discovered. These scammers try to make a quick buck, and good ones always look official.
- Free services are open to error. While paid services are not excluded from making mistakes, free services have even less incentive to get the data correct. When using a free VIN check, try comparing several sites to validate the information.
- Your vehicle’s VIN is unique and acts the same way that an ID document does for humans. In some situations, giving out your VIN could lead to fraud and VIN cloning.