Sunday, June 23

How to Read a Vehicle History Report

If you’ve ever shopped for a used car, you’ve probably heard about Carfax, AutoCheck, or another company that provides vehicle history reports. These reports provide the information you need to understand where a used car came from. If you’re interested in buying a previously owned vehicle, you’ll want to look at a vehicle history report, but how do you get one, and what do you look for?

What is a Vehicle History Report?

A vehicle history report is a report that shows all the reported information about a vehicle. It’s tied to the VIN, so every time a vehicle receives maintenance at a dealership, an insurance claim is made, or it has a new owner, it will show on the report. The information is gathered over the entire lifespan of the vehicle, so every time it goes through an emissions test, the mileage and the date are recorded and stored in a database.

When someone pulls a vehicle history report, all the records are collected from all the different sources and put together in one report.

Previous Owners: How Did They Treat the Vehicle?

One of the most important pieces of information you get from a vehicle history report is all of the previous owners. The report pulls all the information from public records to show who owned it and what they used it for. You can also see where the vehicle was bought and where it was sold. Knowing what states it was used in can be very helpful. You’ll know if it drove in the snow or if it was in an area where there is a lot of rain. You can see if it lived with someone in the city or if it was part of a rental fleet.

If a used car was commercially owned, you might want to have it inspected by your mechanic.

Yes, You Can See Collision History and Damage

If you see cars you like any used car dealers, you’ll definitely want to look at the history report to see if it was ever in an accident and if it suffered any damage. The reporting company gets this information from law enforcement, the Division of Motor Vehicles, and insurance companies. It’s also reported by repair shops.

If you see on the report that it was in an accident, check to see what the damage was. Check to see if the airbags were deployed or if there was structural damage. If either of these are reported, you’ll want to carefully consider moving on to a different vehicle. It might still be roadworthy, but it might not drive as it should, or worse, it might not protect you as it should if you get into another accident.

What’s Not on the Vehicle History Report

While a vehicle history report is an important tool when shopping at used car dealers, it is only as good as the information that is reported. If a vehicle gets into a minor accident that’s not reported to the police or suffers damage that is not repaired by a reputable repair shop, it might not be on the report.


This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning a commission is given should you decide to make a purchase through these links, at no cost to you. All products shown are researched and tested to give an accurate review for you.

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