Ready to buy a used car?

Good news: used vehicle prices in 2023 may decrease by 20%.

Be sure to get a vehicle history report first. How do you find auto history reports, though, and what do reports on used cars say? Why get the vehicle owner's history from a car history report?

Also, can you get a car history report for free? How do you get a free car history report?

Let's explore what vehicle reports show, why you need the history of a vehicle, and where to find vehicle history reports for an accurate car report history.

What Is a Vehicle History Report?

Before you buy a used car from someone selling a car in 2023, look for the vehicle history report.

Vehicle reports are like windows into automobiles' pasts. A vehicle history report provides extensive information that can help you decide whether to purchase the car. The car report history may also help you decide how much to pay for the vehicle.

How do you get a vehicle history report?

If you're buying a used vehicle from a dealership and plan to finance the purchase, ask the lender for a car report history. Some lenders give their customers auto history reports to make sure the cars they plan to finance are adequate collateral for the car loans.

A lender may also give you a car report history to save you money since you won't have to buy it yourself. This may encourage you to work with them since they're making the car-buying process easier for you.

Giving you a vehicle history report is also a sign that the seller isn't attempting to hide the vehicle's past from you.

More On Vehicle History Reports

Don't want to buy a used car from a dealership? Look for used cars that private individuals are selling online. The best websites to buy used cars include the following:


Online car buyers can also look for used vehicles at online car auctions.

When shopping for a car online, consider looking for a vehicle history report at a site like AutoCheck or Carfax (more on these sites later). These websites may confirm great news about a car you're considering. They might also reveal red flags about the car.

Keep in mind that negative pieces of information about used cars aren't necessarily deal-breakers. Consider using this information to negotiate better purchase prices.

Look for the Blue Book car value to further help you negotiate the highest price possible. The Kelley Blue Book will tell you how much a used car is worth today based on its vehicle identification number (VIN) and history.

Value of Vehicle Reports

An important detail you'll find in a vehicle history report is whether a vehicle has been in an accident.

Vehicle history report companies gather information from state departments of motor vehicles. Other sources of this information in vehicle reports include police agencies, insurance companies, and car repair shops.

In many situations, vehicle history report lists severe damage to a car's structure. A car report history may also mention if an airbag was deployed.

Tread carefully if you spot either of these issues in a car report history. Hire a mechanic to evaluate how well the car was repaired. Ask them to also look for other structural issues.

Some sneaky repair shops install stolen or used airbags in the cars they're reporting, so ask for documentation about the repairs performed to make sure a reputable repair shop made them.

History of a Vehicle

Look for information about damage resulting from natural disasters when reviewing auto history reports. Examples of this type of damage include the following:

  • Hail
  • Flood
  • Fire

Car repair shops can often repair hail damage safely. However, stay away from flood- and fire-damaged vehicles. These types of disasters can result in hidden damage, which can be expensive to repair and compromise a vehicle's safety.

Vehicle reports may also reveal if cars have been stolen and never found. Don't buy these cars to avoid facing time in prison.

Explore a car's title history in a car report history as well. Find out if the cars you're interested in buying have salvage titles. This means insurance companies deemed them total losses but they were rebuilt.

What website offers vehicle history reports?

As we mentioned earlier, you can get a vehicle history report from Carfax or AutoCheck. This may cost you $25 to $40.

These vehicle history report providers will give you a discount if you want to purchase multiple auto history reports.

How reliable is a vehicle history report?

Vehicle reports are generally very reliable, especially if you get them from reputable sources like Carfax.

A Carfax VIN check will instantly give you details about the car you're considering. Just fill out the company's form online, and type in the car's VIN. Before beginning your Carfax free VIN check, look for the VIN in the car windshield's lower corner where the driver sits.

How to Get a Car History Report for Free?

Is there a free alternative to a Carfax report, and how do you get a car history report for free?

Online used car listings might include free reports.

If you can't get a free report from an online listing, look at the following websites to find free reports:

  • VINCheck1234
  • iSeeCars
  • VinPit

Carfax also lists cars on its site and offers free car history information to online car buyers for any cars they list.

Free Car History Report Tips

If you're looking for a free car history report, keep in mind that the information available at no cost is usually very limited.

As we mentioned earlier, the best option to get a comprehensive free report is to ask a dealer or private seller to give you one. Dealerships often sign up for vehicle report services, which allows them to get reports on multiple cars economically.

Tell them that you're interested in buying one of their cars and receiving the car's history report would motivate you to buy. Wait until you're close to buying the vehicle to ask for a car.

If the seller is willing to buy one, thank them for this. If they aren't, consider moving on to another car and seller. Chances are they are hiding details about your target car's history.

If you still want to pursue the car, pay for the vehicle report yourself.

What is the best vehicle history report?

The most reliable auto history reports come from reputable and trusted companies like Carfax and AutoCheck. You can trust their data to be as complete and accurate as possible.

Shipping a Used Car

After researching vehicle reports and buying a used car with a positive car history report, you may need to ship it if you found it in another state.

Ship a car to another state by hiring an auto transport service. Once you book your shipment, the driver will inspect the car you're buying. This car hauler inspection will help ensure the car is ready for transport.

If the car passes the inspection, they'll drive your car to your chosen destination.

When shipping a car, choose open auto transport to ship your car most cost-effectively. Your car will be exposed to debris and the elements, but most cars don't receive damage when being transported using this method.

If you want to protect your car from the elements and debris, choose enclosed transport. This is more expensive than open transport, but it's the best option if you're transporting a rare or custom car, like a classic car.

Cross-country car shipping will also cost you more than local transport. This type of shipping involves transporting cars around 2,000 miles away if the car is going from west to east. For cars going from south to north, the shipping distance is usually between 1,300 and 1,500 miles.

Use a car shipping calculator to determine what your shipping costs will be.

Car Report History and Shipping

Before buying a used car, get a vehicle history report first. We've discussed how to find auto history reports, what reports on used cars say, and why getting the vehicle owner history from a car history report is important.

You can get a car history report for free, so look for a free car history report at Carfax.

At Nexus, we encourage you to get vehicle reports to find out the history of a vehicle. Vehicle history reports with accurate car report history details can help you buy the right car. Then, we can help ship it. Get a quote!

Looking to sell a car? We can help you with that.