Don't get me wrong... I've used CARFAX a couple of times and it is a really good service. If you shop at your local dealership for your next used vehicle, you will likely see the vehicle's CARFAX report and understand the vehicle's history before you make the decision to purchase the used vehicle.
The situation is different when you are buying a vehicle from an individual (private party). You have purchase the CARFAX report and this is when you will abruptly find out how much a CARFAX report costs.
Before I continue, let me cover the basics of CARFAX vehicle report.
What is CARFAX?
CARFAX is a service that provides a detailed report on the vehicle's background . The vehicle history report includes information like the vehicle's specifications, the number of owners the vehicle had, registrations, accidents, service records, and much more.
CARFAX accesses thousand of databases and registries nationwide by the vehicle's Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and compiles the information into a detailed report.
How much does a CARFAX report cost?
Many dealerships will provide the CARFAX report for free on the used vehicle that you are interested in buying. However, if you are purchasing a used vehicle from an individual (private party), you will have to buy a CARFAX report yourself. Here is the cost of the CARFAX report(s):
- One Report: $39.99
- 3 Reports: $59.99
- 6 Reports: $99.99
Why would I need a detailed vehicle report like CARFAX?
The main reason would be for "piece of mind".
When you are purchasing a vehicle from a private party, you don't know the vehicle's history like its maintenance/repair history, if the vehicle has been in a major accident, any recalls on the vehicle, or even if the vehicle was stolen or salvaged.
What are other vehicle history report options?
Let's take a look at some less expensive vehicle history report options that give you similar vehicle history information but at a much more affordable price. Rest assured that the following vehicle report options access similar if not the same databases and registries that CARFAX uses.
Some of the following vehicle history report alternatives will give you the option of ordering multiple reports at a deeply discounted price. If you are comparing multiple used vehicles, this will be a great option for you.
OPTION 1: VINCheckUp
A single VinCheckUp vehicle history report costs only $14.95. The report can be downloaded and/or printed for 30-days.
Like CARFAX, the VinCheckUp report shows structural damage, lemon history, junk or salvage vehicle, odometer reading, total lost history, recalls & defects, accident history, title information, and of course, vehicle specifications.
OPTION 2: VinAudit
A single VinAudit vehicle history report costs only $9.99.
VinAudit provides a similar report like VINCheckUp (vehicle specification, title records, junk/salvage/insurance records, accident records, theft records, lien/impound/export records, salvage auction records, sale records, title checks, etc.).
Additionally, the VinAudit report provides the market value of the vehicle, ownership cost, and other resources on the vehicle like retail value and the vehicle's NHTSA 5-star rating.
OPTION 3: VINAlert
A single VinAlert vehicle history report costs only $9.99.
VINAlert checks various federal, insurance and state DMV databases for vehicle information. The vehicle report will show various factors such as major accidents, lemon cars, salvage and flooded cars, odometer rollback, title history, total loss, air bag deployment, gray market trade, undisclosed lien, and theft in the USA, Mexico, and Canada.