When buying a car, you want to know the history of the vehicle—especially with a used vehicle or one that you’re buying from an individual seller. I’m sure you’ve heard of Carfax, where you can get a vehicle history report about a vehicle you’re considering purchasing, before making the deal.
While a good service, it’s $39.99 to obtain a Carfax report, and when you’re buying a car, you’re already about to dish out some hard-earned cash. To help you save some money and still get the best vehicle out there, we’ve found some less expensive options for you.
Here are five cost-friendly Carfax alternatives for you to consider. (One is even free!)
5 Carfax Alternatives To Use In 2019
VINCheck is a free service available online and completed through the National Insurance Crime Bureau to protect buyers from buying a stolen (non-recovered) or salvaged vehicle. Obviously, you will need the VIN (vehicle identification number) of the automobile you want to check, and you can do up to five searches per twenty-four-hour window from the same IP address (if you run out of searches, you can always head over to the library and use their computers).
This service is found on the NICB website, under “How We Help” at the beginning of the top menu. Click it, and scroll down to “VINCheck,” and click it as well. You’ll find yourself on the page shown above, where you’ll input the VIN of the auto you’re interested in. Shortly after that, you’ll have the information you need—and that’s it!
The VIN-checking service provided by CheckThatVIN.com costs a small fee of $3.50 for each VIN checked. It’s available online and they also have an app for the iPhone through the Apple App Store. They use an advanced search tool that accesses the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). This check includes the title history, odometer readings, and determines whether the vehicle’s listed as junk, salvaged, or a flood automobile. CheckThatVIN seems pretty comprehensive for the price.
This service is available online or as a mobile app for both Apple and Android mobile devices. The instaVin service offers a salvage and a VIN check report for $2.99, or a full report—which includes a full history and title report—for $6.99 per vehicle checked. It also uses the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System and claims to give you even more data and better vehicle reports. For less than $7, I’d give instaVIN a shot—check out their website.
The vehicle research provided by titlecheck.us is $9.95 per report. They also use the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. By using the NMVTIS, it protects you as a buyer from purchasing a car that perhaps was recorded as a total loss or salvaged vehicle elsewhere, that someone is trying to re-sell for a profit to you now. You can go to the titlecheck.us website and do a VIN search on your potential auto purchase. They only have an online tool available, no mobile app.
This VIN-checking site is another Carfax alternative that’s available, either on your desktop, the Apple App Store, or Google Play. Also a partner with the NMVTIS, vinsmart says they include a “plus factor” with every vehicle history report they provide.
The plus factors they list are included with the report price of $9.95: provided recall alerts, making sure the title is clean with an in-depth scan, providing a value vehicle report, offering volume discounts, and giving you credits that never expire. So, if you need to buy another car down the line, they encourage you to purchase reports in volume to get a discount—and your credits won’t expire, so you’re protected by purchasing ahead of time. Visit the vinsmart website and check things out.
How Can I Get A Free Carfax Report In 2019?
If you’re set on using Carfax to get a report for your car but still want to save some cash, you’re in luck! Carfax is the biggest and most reliable place to get a report on your vehicle in 2019, so it makes sense that some buyers prefer sticking with their service.
Though you do have to pay for a Carfax report if you’re just entering a vehicle’s VIN on the website (no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it) you can get a free report if you’re shopping for a vehicle through Carfax, since every vehicle they sell comes with a free report. You can view the report directly on the website without having to make any commitments to a vehicle.
Here’s how it’s done!
How To Get A Free Carfax Report
First, go to Carfax.com and click the big green Find a Used Car button on the homepage. From there, enter the make and model vehicle you want, followed by your zip code. After that, Carfax will bring you to a list of all of the available vehicles in your area matching that description.
To view a report for one of these vehicles (for free!) select it from the list. This will open a new tab for that vehicle. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page until you see a box labeled CARFAX Snapshot. This will display some immediate information from the Carfax report, which may be all that you’re looking for. To view the full report, click the blue View FREE CARFAX Report button right below that box. This will open up yet another tab that contains the complete Carfax report.
And that’s it!
With this list, you should be able to find a comparable Carfax alternative to save you some bucks. Happy car buying!