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: VINCheckPro
VINCheckPro has an option to purchase one report for $6.95 or 5 reports for $12.95. With the 5 report option, the cost of each report is only $2.59!
Like CARFAX, the VINCheckPRO 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
VinAudit has the option to purchase one report for $9.99. VinAudit does not have the option to purchase multiple reports like VINCheckPro.
VinAudit provides a similar report like VINCheckPro (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.