Understanding Vehicle History Reports for Used Car Buyers

Blog

Oct. 15, 2023

Are you eager to buy your first used car?

There are various documents to consider before making a big purchase. In fact, the excitement of buying a used car might overshadow the importance of checking its vehicle history report. Understanding the past life of that car can help you determine whether it’s the right choice for you.

From accidents and car maintenance records, to title changes and more, a car’s history report will help you make an informed decision.

Keep reading to learn more about vehicle history reports for used car buyers.

What Are Vehicle History Reports?

Vehicle history reports are comprehensive documents that provide details of the vehicle’s past, whether that’s for maintenance problems or previous accidents. They serve as windows into a car's history, offering potential buyers valuable insights they wouldn't otherwise have.

You can read about the vehicle’s title, accident history, ownership history, and recent repairs to determine its worth. Access to this information usually gives car buyers peace of mind before making their decision.  

Carfax and AutoCheck are two services that can provide vehicle history reports during the car buying process.

Carfax - The Automotive Industry Leader

Carfax has earned its reputation as a trusted source of information about used cars. This service employs various network sources to compile history reports, such as government agencies, insurance companies, service and repair facilities, and more.

When you access a Carfax vehicle history report, you will find a detailed summary of the car's past, including reported accidents, title and ownership history, service records, and even information about recalls. This information should help you identify potential red flags before buying the car.

Advantages of Carfax Vehicle History Reports

  • Accident history: Carfax excels in providing accident history since it includes details about the accident’s severity, along with possible airbag deployment and the extent of damage.
  • Title and ownership history: Used car buyers can buy vehicles without salvage titles or potential ownership disputes.
  • Service records: You can access information about regular maintenance and repairs, which gives you insight into how well the vehicle has been cared for.
  • Recalls and open campaigns: Carfax includes recalls and manufacturer campaigns that allow buyers to check whether the car has any outstanding issues.

Disadvantages of Carfax Vehicle History Reports

  • Incomplete data: Carfax relies on data from various sources; not all incidents or maintenance records are reported. A clean Carfax report does not guarantee the absence of issues.
  • Reporting delays: There might be delays in reporting accidents and other incidents to Carfax, so recent events may not be immediately visible.
  • Cost: Carfax vehicle history reports come at a cost, and obtaining multiple reports for different vehicles can increase the expenses. However, you can get a free vehicle history report through a private seller and certain dealerships.

AutoCheck - A Worthy Competitor in Car History Reports

AutoCheck offers robust features and benefits that make it a worthy competitor to Carfax. This service also compiles data from various sources, such as state DMVs, auctions, dealerships, and insurance companies. However, the unique scoring system makes it stand out against other services.

Advantages of AutoCheck Vehicle History Reports

  • Cost-effective option: AutoCheck usually offers more budget-friendly pricing options compared to Carfax, making it an attractive choice for cost-conscious car buyers.
  • AutoCheck score: The AutoCheck score provides a quick and easy way to access a vehicle’s history. Used car buyers can quickly filter out potentially problematic cars in advance.
  • Access to exclusive data: AutoCheck has access to unique data sources that may not be included in Carfax vehicle history reports. This additional information provides a more comprehensive car report.
  • Multiple report packages: Buyers can choose the level of detail they need with different report packages. Whether you're looking for a single report or a subscription, AutoCheck has options to suit your needs.
  • Ease of use: AutoCheck’s user interface is intuitive and user-friendly, making it easy for first-time buyers to navigate the platform and understand the reports.

Disadvantages of AutoCheck Vehicle History Reports

  • Coverage discrepancies: AutoCheck may have less comprehensive coverage in certain areas than Carfax. It’s advisable to cross-reference reports from both services for a more complete overview.
  • Report variances: AutoCheck and Carfax may present slightly different information on the same vehicle due to variations in data sources. This underscores the importance of checking both reports.

Make a More Informed Decision with Vehicle History Reports

Upon gathering vehicle history reports before buying a used car, you must follow a few steps to make a more informed decision. It’s better to spend your time reviewing this information to ensure you’re choosing the right vehicle.

1. Thoroughly Review the Reports

Take the time to carefully review the information in the reports. Pay close attention to any red flags, including accidents, title issues, or inconsistent mileage records. These are potential areas of concern that require further investigation.

2. Compare the Reports

If you’re using Carfax and AutoCheck, compare the information in each vehicle history report. While the reports may overlap in some areas, there could be discrepancies or additional details in one report that aren’t present in the other.

3. Ask Questions

Don’t hesitate to contact the seller or dealership for clarification on specific issues. It’s essential to have a thorough understanding of the problems before proceeding with the purchase.

4. Factor In the Price

Use the information in the car history reports to negotiate a fair price. If the reports uncover significant issues, you may be able to negotiate a lower price or request necessary repairs before closing the deal. Be prepared to walk away from the deal if the seller is unwilling to address your concerns.

5. Trust Your Instincts

Trust your instincts and use the information in the reports as a tool to make an informed decision. If something doesn’t feel right or you have doubts about the car, don’t hesitate to explore other options.

You want to be sure of your purchase without the risk of being scammed by a car dealership.

Contact Race Auto Group for Guidance on Checking Vehicle History Reports When Buying a Used Car

Vehicle history reports from Carfax and AutoCheck are invaluable tools for used car buyers. They offer insights into a car’s past, impacting your long-term safety and budget. By reviewing these reports and asking questions, you can make a well-informed decision when buying your dream car.

Do you still want to learn more about vehicle history reports? Contact Race Auto Group today to speak with a professional regarding these important documents.