Want to check if the used car you are eyeing is a lemon and save costs while you’re at it? Then, it’s time to get a free CARFAX report.
Prospective second-hand car buyers should know everything there is to know about the vehicle they want to purchase, and CARFAX reports offer just that. However, such information about a single vehicle can cost as much as $44.99.
Nevertheless, there are ways to get a free CARFAX report or its equivalent if you know where to look. This article will walk you through various methods to obtain your future car’s details without shelling out the cash you would rather use for gas or save for that cool set of mag wheels. Read on!
What Is CARFAX?
CARFAX is a trusted partner for car owners, providing essential insights into a vehicle’s history. Its Vehicle History Report service offers a detailed account of a car’s past, including crucial information like accidents, title issues, odometer readings, and service records.
The comprehensive report lets car buyers make informed decisions, ensuring they invest in a safe and reliable vehicle. CARFAX acts as a safeguard, empowering buyers to avoid potential pitfalls and surprises associated with buying a used car.
To obtain a CARFAX report, users typically need the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the car they’re interested in. By revealing the hidden history of a vehicle, CARFAX helps car owners save both time and money.
How To Get a Free CARFAX Report or Its Alternative
1. Browse Through CARFAX Used Car Site Listings
When looking at used cars on the website, getting a free CARFAX report is easy. Some sellers provide CARFAX reports for free when you browse their used car listings.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Visit the CARFAX Website: Start by going to the CARFAX website.
- Search for Used Cars: Use the search bar to find the type of used car you want.
- Look for Listings with Free CARFAX Reports: While looking at the used car listings, keep an eye out for sellers who offer free reports. These sellers have partnered with CARFAX to provide you with the vehicle’s history report for free.
- Click on the Listing: Once you find a car you like and it offers a free report, click on the listing.
- Access the CARFAX Report: Inside the listing is a link or button that says “Get a Free CARFAX Report.” Click on it to view the vehicle’s history report without any charge.
2. Look Through Online Car Listings
Another way to get a free CARFAX report is through online car listings. The process is straightforward and doesn’t require any fee or extra charges.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Search Online: Search for the car you’re interested in on Craigslist, Autotrader, or Cars.com. These are platforms where people sell their used cars.
- Look for Car Listings: On these websites, look for car listings that mention a free CARFAX report. Some sellers, especially car dealerships, offer this as a perk to attract buyers.
- Check the Car Description: Click on the car listing you’re interested in. Read the description carefully. If the seller is providing a free CARFAX report, it will usually be mentioned in the listing details.
- Contact the Seller: If you don’t see information about a free report but are interested in the car, you can always contact the seller and ask if they can provide you with the CARFAX report for free. Some sellers are willing to do this to demonstrate the vehicle’s history and gain your trust as a buyer.
3. Check With Your Local Car Dealers
Many dealers offer CARFAX reports to potential buyers, allowing you to access essential information about used vehicles before purchasing.
Here’s how you can get a CARFAX report by checking with your local car dealers:
- Visit the Dealership: Go to the dealership where the used car you’re interested in is being sold. It could be a brand-specific or reputable used car dealership in your area.
- Ask the Salesperson: Approach a salesperson or staff member and inquire if they provide free CARFAX reports for their used cars. Many dealerships partner with CARFAX to offer these reports to customers.
- Provide the VIN: If the dealership offers free CARFAX reports, provide them with the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the car you’re interested in. The VIN is a unique code for the specific vehicle.
- Review the CARFAX Report: The dealership will run the VIN through CARFAX and provide you with the report. Take your time to review the report thoroughly, understanding the vehicle’s history before making any decisions.
4. Insurance Companies
A free CARFAX report through insurance companies is a great option for potential car buyers. Some insurance providers offer this service as a benefit to their customers, helping them access essential information about a used vehicle’s history.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Contact Your Insurance Provider: Start by calling your insurance company and inquire if they offer free CARFAX reports to their customers. Explain that you are considering purchasing a used car and must check its history.
- Provide the VIN: If your insurance company offers this service, they will likely ask for the VIN of the car you’re interested in.
- Request the CARFAX Report: Once you’ve provided the VIN, the insurance company can request the CARFAX report for you. They will review the vehicle’s history and share the report with you, giving you valuable insights into the car’s past.
If you are thinking about VIN, don’t worry. We have covered it fully in our fifth way down below!
5. Check Your Car’s VIN and History
Checking your car’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and history is a smart way to get crucial information about a used vehicle. It is a unique code, like a car’s fingerprint, found on the dashboard near the windshield or inside the driver’s side door frame.
Each VIN carries specific details about the car, including its origin, make, model, and history.
Here are some trusted websites to check your car’s VIN and history for free:
- iSeeCars VIN Report: iSeeCars offers a free VIN check service that provides insights into a car’s history, helping buyers make informed decisions.
- Vehicle History: Vehicle History allows you to enter a VIN and get a detailed report, including information about accidents, odometer readings, and more.
- LemonChecks: LemonChecks specializes in revealing if a car has a history of being a lemon (a vehicle with recurring issues).
- Verispy: Verispy provides various background check services, including vehicle history reports, offering comprehensive details about a car’s past.
- National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB): The NICB provides a VIN check service to find out if a car has been reported as stolen or salvaged. This provides an additional level of security for individuals buying vehicles.
Importance of Checking a Car’s History
Checking a car’s history is crucial when considering buying a used vehicle. It provides valuable information about the car’s past, including accidents, title issues, and odometer readings.
Reviewing the vehicle history report lets you make an informed decision, ensuring you’re not purchasing a car with hidden problems and potentially costly repairs in the future.
In addition to checking the car’s history, there are a few tips and hacks to ensure a successful and scam-free car transaction.
- Always meet the seller in a safe and public place during daylight hours. Bring a friend or family member with you for an extra layer of security.
- Thoroughly inspect the car in person. Inspect the car for signs of damage, examine the engine, take it for a test drive, and listen for any strange noises. If you’re unsure about your evaluation, consider getting a reliable mechanic to check the car.
- Trust your instincts. If something feels off or too good to be true, it probably is. Take your time, ask questions, and don’t rush into a decision. Being patient and diligent in your research can help you find a reliable and suitable used car without falling victim to scams or hidden issues.
Frequently Asked Questions – Free CARFAX Report
How Does a CARFAX Report Help When Buying a Used Car?
A CARFAX report helps by showing the car’s history, like accidents and repairs. It helps buyers know if the vehicle is reliable and if there are any hidden problems.
What Is CARFAX Free Equivalent?
CARFAX doesn’t offer a free equivalent. However, free services like AutoCheck and VinCheck provide basic information about a car’s history.
Is VinCheckup as Good as CARFAX?
VinCheckup is a decent alternative, but it might not be as detailed as CARFAX, which is more widely used and trusted. However, VinCheckup can provide helpful information about a used car’s history.
Conclusion – Free CARFAX Report
With the tips above, you’ll be ready to narrow your car purchase choices with a free CARFAX report.
Perhaps, instead of purchasing a vehicle, you might even consider leasing instead of buying a car.
Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.