How to view a free car history report

Updated February 21, 2017

A free car history report tells you the number of reports listed on the full and complete vehicle history, which is a paid report. The free version is helpful in determining whether you need to buy the full report or not. If there are no reports listed on the vehicle, it makes little sense to pay money for the history report. It is easy to get this free service. It is offered through several companies you are probably familiar with.

Locate the VIN (vehicle identification number) of the vehicle you plan to obtain the report on. The VIN is located on the top of the dashboard or on the car frame on newer model vehicles. If it is a used car, cut and past the VIN from the car advertisement on the dealer's website, or ask the seller for the VIN number.

Go to a vehicle reporting company website like, or Locate the "Free report" link on the website.

Enter the VIN into the box on the website. Click submit and the free report downloads on your screen. Locate the number located in the report which indicates how many separate incidents have been reported to the car company.


Repeat this process at every car vendor to compare the amount of information on each report. Then choose the report that has the most incidents.

Things You'll Need

  • Car VIN
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About the Author

Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.