When you’re buying a used car, it’s important to know as much about it as you can. Scroll below to learn about three of the largest providers of car history reports.
A professional inspection and a thorough test drive can go a long way toward helping you decide if the car is a good buy or not, but even these measures won’t reveal all potential issues. If you really want the maximum possible amount of information about the car you’re getting ready to buy, you’ll need a car history report.
A car history report offers you insights into whether a car has been in an accident, what its service history looks like, whether it has been through any recalls, and a host of other useful facts. History reports can also uncover unusual circumstances in a car’s past most inspectors would never think to look for, such as having been sold for salvage or suffering from non-accident fire or flood damage. Luckily, these history reports are even fairly easy to obtain, being as they are available through several different online services.
Catering primarily to car buyers in Canada, CARPROOF provides comprehensive history reports for vehicles that have ever been registered in any Canadian province. CARPROOF offers two basic types of reports. The first, called a CARPROOF Claims report, offers a detailed history of the vehicle, including accidents, unfixed recalls, and a complete registration history. An upgraded version, known as CARPROOF Verified, provides all the information found in a standard Claims report, but also searches for liens on the vehicle that may affect its transfer to a new owner. The cost for a CARPROOF Claims report is $39.95 CAD, while the Verified report costs $54.95 CAD.
The features of a CARPROOF report go well beyond simply reporting accidents and providing a list of previous owners. Instead, CARPROOF breaks all the information it finds on a given vehicle down so that a potential buyer can know exactly what he or she is getting. Damage is categorized into different types, ranging from frame damage to fire, while repairs are also categorized to show what was fixed at any given time. A final feature of the CARPROOF report that is extremely useful to buyers is the CARPROOF True Value, which uses the vehicle’s complete unique history and pricing data for similar vehicles to arrive at a fair market value for the individual car in question.
Overall, CARPROOF is an excellent service. Its pros include thorough reporting, the option to search for liens, and the useful True Value feature. The one downside of CARPROOF is the fact that it is largely exclusive to the Canadian market. Though U.S. car buyers can get substantial value from a CARPROOF report when buying used cars that have previously been registered in Canada, such sales happen infrequently enough to be more or less negligible.
Though it is one of the lesser-known providers, CarHistory.us.org is an excellent source for vehicle history reports. Reports from CarHistory.us.org contain a wide range of details about car histories, include such items as title history, accidents, non-accident damage, and mileage readings from various points in the car’s history. The total cost of a report through CarHistory.us.org is $19.95, making it a bit less expensive than some of its competitors.
CarHistory.us.org is somewhat unique in that reports are prepared by a team of humans using data from multiple sources. This helps to improve the quality of the information and make the reports easier to understand for users. Reports created by CarHistory.us.org also include detailed charts and graphs that are used to convey essential information about the car’s history visually.
CarHistory.us.org holds a major advantage over its competitors in terms of pricing. The ease-of-use of the reports the company provides is also another major plus. At the same time, though, CarHistory.us.org isn’t quite as thorough or comprehensive as its leading competitors, especially Carfax. CarHistory.us.org also doesn’t offer a price estimating tool, which detracts slightly from its overall usefulness in the process of buying a used car.
Probably the most well-known among providers of vehicle histories, Carfax has been supplying buyers with reports on the cars they’re considering since the company was founded in 1984. A Carfax report, which costs $39.99, provides buyers with a comprehensive vehicle history which lists specifics of collisions, repair dates, and a complete list of previous vehicle owners. Carfax also discloses the source of any information it includes in a report, as well as the mileage of the vehicle at the time of each point in the report.
Unlike CARPROOF, Carfax doesn’t have an upgrade option available for additional information. What Carfax does offer, though, is an industry-leading level of information accuracy delivered in a report that is easy for buyers to read and understand. Like CARPROOF, Carfax does offer a feature that allows buyers to see the true value of a used car, calculated according to its unique history. This feature, called Carfax History-based Value, yields an accurate and useful estimation of the car’s real value.
Carfax’s advantages include the exceedingly thorough and accurate nature of its reports, as well as the fact that the reports are quite user-friendly and easy for buyers to understand. The main disadvantage of Carfax is the fact that it is somewhat expensive in comparison to other car history report providers. With that being said, the quality of the information contained in a Carfax report more than justifies the cost.
Carfax is, in many ways, rather analogous to CARPROOF, with the obvious exception of the fact that Carfax actively services the American market, while CARPROOF does not. If you’re looking to buy a used car in the United States, Carfax is one of the options you should definitely consider when getting a history report.