There are approximately 283.8 million vehicles and 4.8 million vehicle crashes in the United States, according to Statista. Find out if your vehicle was involved in a crash with a CARFAX used cars history report. Discover how you can get previous owner data with this helpful report today.

What Is a CARFAX Vehicle History Report?

Whether you're buying a sports car or a basic commuter, it's important to know the history of your vehicle. Here are just a few issues that a buyer may try to hide from you as you look to purchase a used car from a private seller:

  • A collision
  • Flood damage
  • Smoke damage
  • Stolen vehicle
  • Rebuilt title
  • Salvage title

A CARFAX Vehicle History Report is a paid service by CARFAX, a company that receives data from over 131,000 sources to verify its report. These sources are verified to provide accurate information about the history of the car you're looking to buy or sell. Here are some of the reliable data sources CARFAX uses:

  • U.S. and Canadian motor vehicle agencies
  • Collision repair facilities
  • Insurance companies
  • Service and maintenance facilities
  • Automotive recyclers and salvage auctions
  • Law enforcement agencies
  • Rental and fleet vehicle companies
  • Car dealerships
  • Manufacturers

CARFAX has a history report for every car and light truck that's been manufactured since 1981. You can also find history reports of a number of other vehicle types.

Can You Get Previous Owner Data for CARFAX Used Cars?

All of this information is collected into a comprehensive report to learn more about the vehicle. It doesn't contain personal information from the previous owner, such as the person's contact information, but a previous owner may be contacted for legal purposes if the report discovers a vehicle was sold illegally.

CARFAX offers these reports through several report packages, so the price of a report can vary depending on the number of reports you wish to order. This information can be extremely helpful as you search for used cars for sale from private parties.

White BMW driving fast down a Florida road

What Information Is on a Report?

All you need to order a CARFAX used cars report is the car title or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). With this information, you can access all the following data about previous owners:

  • Ownership history
  • Number of previous owners
  • Title information, like lemon title or flood title
  • Length of ownership
  • States or Canadian provinces the vehicle was owned in
  • Type of use
  • Any history of use as a police vehicle, taxi, rental vehicle, or commercial vehicle
  • Service history
  • History of oil changes, tire rotations, brake rotor replacements, and transmission replacements
  • Any known recalls and safety inspections
  • Accident data
  • Any reported damage location and severity, from minor to structural
  • Known airbag deployments
  • Records of collision and damage repair

All of this information can help you avoid buying a lemon or a vehicle with a fraudulent title. Verify odometer readings and repair histories to avoid odometer fraud and other scams. A CARFAX report may not confirm that a vehicle is totally free of repair issues, but it can be a helpful step in verifying the accuracy of a used car listing.

Why Do You Need a CARFAX Vehicle History Report?

If every used car buyer and seller were totally honest, this reporting service wouldn't be necessary. Unfortunately, online vehicle sale fraud is a risk for buyers and sellers. Stay safe by watching out for these red flags:

  • Individual doesn't reveal their name or contact information
  • Individual isn't willing to show you their driver's license or the original vehicle title before the sale
  • Individual attempts to pressure you beyond a comfortable level of negotiation into an agreement
  • Vehicle doesn't match the listing or title
  • Buyer attempts to pay with a personal check
  • Individual wants to meet at a location you aren't comfortable with or familiar with

These are just a few situations where a person may be attempting to scam you. Don't fall for fraud, or you may end up paying thousands for a lemon or not receiving compensation as you hand over your used vehicle and its title.

Are There Other Vehicle History Report Options?

CARFAX is a popular option for receiving in-depth vehicle history information. It's not, however, your only option. For example, we at PrivateAuto use AutoCheck and include a vehicle history report with every listing. If you want to work with another company or want to invest in reports from more than one provider, consider one or more data providers approved by the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System.

These providers aren't affiliated with the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System or the U.S. Department of Justice. They do, however, provide services that are approved by this national department.

How Can PrivateAuto Help You Buy and Sell Used Cars?

You can use PrivateAuto's free AutoCheck vehicle history report that is included with every listing. For buyers all you need is a PrivateAuto account in order to access the history report. For sellers, it's included when choosing to close the sale through our self-service app.  Find out how it works before listing a car or making an offer on a competitively priced used car. Buy or sell used vehicles through this technology-driven solution today.