How to Get a Free Vehicle History Report by VIN

Updated July 20, 2017

A vehicle history report is a compilation of important information concerning a vehicle that you are interested in purchasing. The history report tells a potential owner the number of previous owners, as well as any problems that the vehicle may have. Vehicle history reports are obtained in different ways; some websites charge a fee while other companies offer the report free of charge. The history report can be obtained using the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).

Find the VIN of the vehicle. The VIN is located on the left side of the dashboard near the windshield. In vintage vehicles, it is located on the driver's side door panel. This information is also found on the vehicle's paperwork, such as the title or the registration papers.

Ask the dealer or seller from whom you are purchasing the vehicle if they will provide a copy of the vehicle history report. Most dealers will give you a history report because it's typically received from the previous owner of the car.

Use a company to obtain the vehicle history report if you are not able to obtain a report from the dealer. Services such as CarFax offer a free vehicle history report; the report may be basic but will give you information about the vehicle. Another company that offers a free vehicle history report is the National Insurance Crime Bureau; their report will also list any accidents that were reported to the insurance company.

Type in the VIN of the vehicle in the available box from the website you have chosen. Click the "Enter" button and wait a few minutes for the vehicle history report to populate on the screen.


Obtaining a vehicle history report on an older model vehicle will vary. The year of the car as well as the make and model will be a factor. Call your dealer or manufacturer to inquire about a history report if you are not sure.

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About the Author

LaTasha Rogers began writing professionally in 2009 and her work appears on various websites. Rogers is pursuing an Associate of Arts in health care administration and a Bachelor of Arts in communications and journalism from the University of Phoenix.