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Which Car History Report Is Right for You?

Which Car History Report Is Right for You?

You’ve got your eye on a Porsche 718 Boxster, the one that has won the Kelly Blue Book Best Buy Award in the Performance Car category for two years in a row. The sleek design of the convertible and the 300-horsepowered engine is enough to make anybody swoon. The price tag, however, is a little out of yoru reach. Instead of opting for a newer Boxster, you’ve chosen to go the pre-owned route. After months of searching, you find the perfect used model. The miles are low, the interior is spotless, and the exterior looks like it just drove off of the assembly line. Plus, their listing price seems like a steal! Is it too good to be true? The only way to determine whether or not your future car is as perfect as it seems is by inspecting its car history report. With dozens of car report options available, which is right for you?


You may have seen the Carfax Fox pop up on various vehicles throughout your search. Carfax is perhaps the most well-known car history report provider on the market. Established in the 1980s, Carfax used to send vehicle reports via fax. While their methods of delivery have changed, many things haven’t. For example, Carfax is still one of the most expensive options available. Before you write them off completely, though, it’s important to understand that Carfax reports are also much more detailed than other auto reports. It’s easy to read and simple to understand. If your prospective car has had multiple owners, you’ll find each owner’s experiences with the car labeled clearly and organized efficiently. Carfax is also the only option available that offers maintenance dates and thorough records. If you’re looking for a comprehensive history of everything that’s been done to the car, this is the choice for you.


Autocheck isn’t quite as well-known as Carfax. This vehicle history reporting company is actually owned by Experian. Taking a page from its credit score reporting, Experian has created a numeric system for Autocheck to use when reporting on vehicles. Every vehicle is given a rating number on a scale that’s created based on the year it was made. An Autocheck history report is typically less expensive than Carfax; though, depending on the type of report you run, it could cost you quite a bit. While the numeric grading system does allow you to compare prospective vehicles with others in their class, it can be difficult to understand. It’s particularly beneficial if you plan on collecting multiple history reports on a specific car.


The NMVTIS, or National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, is another car report history tool that is frequently used. This report receives information from the state motor vehicle registry, which is run by the government. Insurance carriers, parts recyclers, and junk yard and salvage yard owners are required by law to report any automobile that comes through their facility on this report. While other reports give details of maintenance and accidents, the NMVTIS report only gives you access to where the vehicle was previously registered and whether or not it holds a branded title. It’s not a full report but is beneficial if you suspect that your prospective car has previously been in an accident. This vehicle history report is much less expensive than other reports. In some places, you may be given access to the information on the NMVTIS free of charge.

Which report should you choose? That depends on the information you’re after. If you’re worried about oil changes and maintenance records, it may be best to invest in the Carfax report. This gives you the most information for the best price. For those cars that may have a branded title, the NMVTIS may be a better choice. Before you choose a report, decide which information is the most vital to you. Some car shoppers invest in multiple options, just to ensure that they get the most comprehensive view of the vehicle they’re interested in. No matter which vehicle report you choose, it’s always best to learn as much as possible about a pre-owned vehicle before finalizing the sale. With the details of the car history report behind you, you’re free to cruise around corners and enjoy the solid drive of your new dream car. 

Date Posted: April 3, 2018

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