The Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, is a 17 character code used to identify every motor vehicle. If you are looking to buy a used car, you should be aware of what vehicle history by VIN tells you. With access to a detailed vehicle history, used car buying decisions are easier.

Don’t Get Stuck With A Lemon

One of the better known aspects of the vehicle history reports is that “lemons” are easily identified. If a car had an unreasonable number of breakdowns, then the manufacturer might have had to buy the car back. The VIN history report can show this. Get a vehicle history report online now.

What Exactly Does The Vehicle History Report Show?

The vehicle history report begins by giving general information about:

  • Accident damage
  • Number of previous owners
  • Types of owners (corporate or private)
  • Last reported odometer reading
  • Above retail book value

Even at first glance the data gives you a lot of insight about the car’s history giving you more confidence in buying decisions. A full car history report is very detailed about each of the topics, and you can access a sample here.

Pricing Advantage

One of the most valuable features of a vehicle history report is the price calculator. This takes the retail book value (for example, Kelley Blue Book) and adjusts the price based on the report’s contents. If a car has an above average reliability history, the value is higher. This helps you spot good cars that are priced low or vice versa.

Checkered History?

It’s amazing what some cars have been through. A car’s secret past might be hidden, but not if you have the vehicle report. For example: has the car been salvaged then rebuilt? Or maybe the car has a history of fire, flood, or hail damage. The history will show these events if they were reported.

You certainly also would be interested to know if a car you are considering had major structural damage or airbag deployment. Even odometer rollbacks can be listed on vehicle history reports. This information would not be available to you unless you asked. However, the current owner of the car might be a 2nd or 3rd owner, and the full history is typically unknown to them. Get a full vehicle history report by VIN now.

All The Details You Need – Just The Facts

The detail of a car history report is impressive. For example, info about the nature of accidents is included, such as rear end vs. front end collisions. Even things like car color, maintenance checks, and state inspection dates are included. This gives you a clear idea about how the car was cared for by previous owners. Don’t take the salesperson’s word on this – get the facts in writing instead with a detailed vehicle history report.

Vehicle history reports do have some limitations. If something went unreported, or if an accident happened very recently, then this data will not appear on the report.


Want to avoid that nagging uncertainty when buying a used car? Spot lemons or discover a used car in above average condition. Sign up with CARCHEX’s partner CARFAX to get a full vehicle history report, and remove the guesswork.