How to Get a Vehicle History for Free Using a Vin Number

Updated February 21, 2017

A vehicle history report can provide you with important information about a vehicle you are considering buying. A vehicle history report can tell you how many owners the vehicle has had and can notify you about potential problems the vehicle may experience due to its history. You can get a vehicle history report on any vehicle using its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and thanks to the variety of sources for these reports, you can often get the report for free.

Locate the VIN of the car. The VIN number is located on the left-hand side of the dashboard next to the windshield. The VIN can also be found in any insurance or title paperwork.

Ask the seller or dealership if they will provide you with a vehicle history report. Many dealerships selling both new and used cars will provide a vehicle history car for any vehicle free upon request as a service to buyers.

Select a company to perform your vehicle history report in the event that the dealership or seller will not provide you with a copy. CarFax often offers a basic free vehicle history report to potential subscribers, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (See Resources) provides a free basic vehicle history report that will list insurance claims made on the vehicle, which will give you information about if the vehicle has had any reported accidents or has been stolen.

Enter the VIN number into the vehicle history search engine you have selected, and hit the search or submit button. You will receive your free vehicle history report within several minutes.


Just because a vehicle history report comes back clear, it does not mean the vehicle has not been wrecked or will not have problems. Only reported accidents are listed on vehicle history reports.

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About the Author

Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.