When you buy a home, no one questions it when you want to know the history and everything that’s happened there. When you buy an automobile, that isn’t always the case. The likelihood that any used car has had multiple owners means that you can never be sure if the person selling you the vehicle has told you everything you need to know.
There are a variety of reasons you might want a vehicle history report. For sellers, accompanying a sale with one of these reports gives you the edge over your competitors. For buyers, identifying past accidents and reading about repairs that have been performed can lend a deeper insight into the purchase. There are safety concerns involved as well. Even if a car has been crashed and repaired, there is still a chance that minute stress fractures caused damage to the chassis.
Luckily, these three websites all offer great services for finding a vehicle history report when you need it.
Carfax enjoys a comfortable position as the longest lasting and most popular vehicle history service. Their name stems from their original policy back in the 1980s where they faxed their reports directly to the buyer, but nowadays they’re better known for their fox mascot and catchy jingles.
Carfax offers comprehensive reports with information on everything from past accidents to the current average mileage for the year and model. That said, they’re also more expensive than the majority of their competitors. A single report sells online for $39.99 with packages offered that allow bundling of multiple reports into one. Savings become more viable as the price rises, and if you need five reports it’s only $99.99.
Carfax has a public edge over its opponents by virtue of fame, and as such, they tend to set the standard. Their Carfax PriceCheck was the first of its kind, comparing a vehicle’s personal history to the average to find the adjusted value. They also have an edge in that they’re the only vehicle report service that offers records of maintenance performed on the car. This is great for discovering things in a vehicle that might not be readily apparent at first, but which become an expensive problem later.
Carfax’s website is easy to use, and the reports are user-friendly. A FAQ section offers answers to frequently asked questions about the terminologies involved in the history reports, meaning that you can use it as a one-stop shop for research and your report.
If you’re willing to pay top dollar for your reports, Carfax is a great option that offers value for its price. There are cheaper choices, however, and they should be investigated as well.
This name is less gimmicky than most, but what you see is what you get. This site is a newer alternative that focuses on lowered prices and serving as a cost-free alternative.
VehicleHistory.com is specialized in this industry in that they offer their reports at a much lower price — basic reports are completely free. This basic report, however, doesn’t offer much in the way of history. All it really includes is the names of previous owners, neglecting crash histories and lien checks. More extensive reports are offered on a subscription basis, offering 25 checks a month for $9.99. This price is still lower than the majority of its competitors.
Like its competitors, VehicleHistory offers a full selection of information in its most detailed reports, including active technical service bulletins and pre-existing bills owed on the vehicle. Their edge is in their price-point. Accordingly, they miss out on many of the additional deals CarFax and Motosnoop can offer.
VehicleHistory’s website offers additional information in the form of reviews on every vehicle, but these reviews can be limited because they’re based on user contributions. The website as a whole comes off a little sloppy and not every link goes somewhere useful.
This is a great resource for people who need a lot of reviews cheaply or who need very basic information about their vehicle.
Marketed as a cheaper alternative to CarFax, Motosnoop is one of the newer vehicle history websites on the web — and it shows.
Motosnoop offers cheaper prices but doesn’t quite reach VehicleHistory’s level. A single report is $5.99, putting them comfortably ahead of the majority of their competition. Three reports sell for $9.99 and 10 for $19.99, and unlike CarFax, reports purchased in bulk will never expire.
These reports include all the standard bells and whistles involved in a vehicle history report. Accident reports, theft records, and lien checks are all included in the basic report. They use the U.S. government’s records combined with those from national salvage yards to get a full picture of your vehicle’s history. These reports are marketed to both buyers and sellers on the website.
The website itself is sparing and, although not unprofessional, has very little in the way of depth. All the buttons are big enough to facilitate mobile browsing, but Motosnoop really doesn’t have the depth or the wealth of information offered by its competitors. Their newness to the Internet is apparent from even a short browse of their website.
Motosnoop is a more affordable alternative to CarFax which proves valuable for either the buyer or the seller. That said, their newness means they have less information to offer a browsing customer.
Even though these websites are great places to find vehicle history reports, the Internet is full of resources. A little research is all that it takes to find the vehicle history report you need to close the deal.