The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Insurance Crime Bureau offer free VIN checks on their websites. To perform a VIN check, you need the VIN number, which can be obtained from the car or the title documentation.Continue Reading
Information provided through free services is limited but can be useful when purchasing a used vehicle. Free services may provide a variety of background information on the VIN. The NHTSA's website reports on safety issues for vehicles and indicates if a vehicle has been included in a specific recall or received the necessary repair. It also reports on customer complaints. The VIN check offered by the National Insurance Crime Bureau reports on cars with a current theft record and vehicles with a branded title that have been reported as salvaged.
Paid reports, such as those offered by Carfax, provide complete vehicle history reports, including accident and lien history. A vehicle history report can also reveal information such as past ownership, maintenance, structural damage, odometer readings and title history. These reports generally draw from a variety of databases and include an overall evaluation of the vehicle as well as specific incidents, dates and locations on record. Some reports offer a vehicle score indicating how the car compares to others of the same make, model or year.Learn more about Public Records