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How Do I Get a Free Carfax Report?

how to get free carfax report jpg illustration by Paul Dolan; lyudinka

There are a lot of unknowns when buying a used car, but a vehicle history report can fill in some pieces of the puzzle. Using the car’s vehicle identification number, or VIN, you can find out a lot about a used car before you buy it by running a vehicle history report. These reports often list basic things such as the number of owners in a car’s history and total miles driven, as well as more detailed information like past accidents and prior records of maintenance, damages and repairs.  

CarFax is one of the biggest names in vehicle history reports, and according to the company, there are a couple of ways you can get a free CarFax report. 

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1.’s Used Car Listings

Thousands of vehicles on include a free CarFax report, like this one. Click the CarFax report link under the vehicle history heading. It includes the same vehicle history information that you’d get if you purchased a report through CarFax’s website. If the dealership selling the car doesn’t list a free report, ask for one.

2. Private Party Purchase

If used-car shopping via a private sale, ask the car owner to provide you with a CarFax report so you can make an informed decision using as much information on the history of the vehicle as possible.

3. Other Options

CarFax isn’t the only provider of vehicle history reports. The National Insurance Crime Bureau provides a free service called VINCheck that allows consumers to check a vehicle identification number to see if an insurance company has reported the car as a total loss or stolen. This service provides less detail than a CarFax report, however.

Alternatively, the site also offers free vehicle history reports. It provides info like vehicle theft reports as well as mileage numbers and how many owners the car has had, but doesn’t offer the level of detail that a CarFax report does in terms of accident and maintenance histories. 

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News Editor Jennifer Geiger joined the automotive industry in 2003, much to the delight of her Corvette-obsessed dad. Jennifer is an expert reviewer, certified car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats — many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer Geiger

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