When buying a used car it is a wise idea to get a vehicle history report to make sure you are not buying a vehicle that has been in an accident or had substantial work done to it, also called a car lemon report. These reports can also help prevent you from falling victim to car-buying scams. There are a lot of websites out there that offer this service, but the majority of them get their vehicle data from the two sources – CarFax.com and AutoCheck. It is also possible to get title information from your local DMV, (Department of Motor Vehicles,) which while often cheaper, takes much longer to obtain.
CarFax.com – Carfax is probably the most trusted name when it comes to vehicle history reports. CarFax’s database currently contains over 6 billion records and they have been providing vehicle reports since 1986. You can do a Free Lemon Check simply by entering your vehicle’s VIN #. This free report will let you know if there are any manufacturer buyback or lemon records found for your vehicle. It will also tell you how many records they have in their database that concern your car. If you want to access those records you have to purchase the full CarFax Report. The full report cover issues like ownership of the car, any title problems, accidents the vehicle was involved in, and in a lot of cases, service records. These details can help you make an informed decision about the car. Vehicle reports at CarFax start at $29.95.
Autocheck.com – This is the other major player in the car lemon report business. Autocheck.com provides much of the same information as CarFax but also gives you a AutoCheck Score, which shows how your vehicle measures up against other cars of the same make and model. They offer a Free VIN check and full reports starting at $14.95. Autocheck is the official vehicle report of the National Association of Auto Dealers. Many of the other Lemon Check sites will redirect you to AutoCheck.com
State DMV Office – If time is not a consideration, you can often get some information, (especially that pertains to ownership of the vehicle,) from your local DMV office. This can take weeks and does not provide any service records. It is almost always a better idea to use one of the services listed above.
It never hurts to retrieve a report to verify a lemon car. The few extra dollars can go a long way, and going with the trusted sites above will serve as great assistance.