How to Get a Free Carfax

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For any car made since 1981, there is a detailed repair and damage history available from a company called Carfax. A Carfax report lists a number of things about a vehicle’s history that are associated with the VIN (vehicle identification number) of the vehicle. This is especially useful for those looking to buy a used car. Usually, obtaining a Carfax report costs money - but there is a way to get one completely free.

Part 1 of 2: What is a Carfax?

Carfax accident report

A Carfax is a record and history of your exact vehicle, chronicling its life from manufacturer to today. By bringing up any reports of accidents or repairs associated with the VIN number for that particular vehicle, the whole history can be revealed in a concise format. Many consider to be worth the cost of purchasing the report.

What does a Carfax include?

  • Owner history: Records of who owned the car and when they owned it can say a lot about how the car was cared for. It will also line up the dates that repairs or accidents took place with who owned the car at the time.

  • Accidental damage: Anything from a fender bender to a serious accident will show up here. Structural damage will almost always lower the value of a vehicle.

  • Service records: Services that were done professionally will show up with these results, showing how often the car was in the shop for repairs and how often routine services were being done.

Carfax odometer reading

  • Mileage/odometer readings: The odometer in the car can be replaced or modified to read a lower amount of miles, but seeing the service history can reveal how many miles are really on the vehicle, or at least on the chassis.

  • Warranty/manufacturer recall: Any big warranty problems or recalls will pop up, and this could be a big plus for a potential buyer. Sometimes recalls can perform major repairs for free, and it is important to check the service history to see if the recall was done on the vehicle already.

Part 2 of 2: Where can you get a Carfax for free?

By going onto the Carfax website, someone can simply buy the carfax report for the vehicle they are looking to buy or currently own by entering the VIN number and finding the report. A report costs money but, luckily, there is one really simple way to get one for free:

Find a dealership with a subscription to Carfax reports and get a report on any used vehicle they have that you are interested in. There is a search function on the Carfax website that allows customers to look up their area’s used car dealerships with a Carfax subscription. There are several ways to go about obtaining a Carfax report this way:

Step 1: Call ahead. Before going to a used car dealership to browse their selection of vehicles, call ahead and ask if they offer a free Carfax report with any of their cars. Calling ahead is better than asking in person because they will be inclined to try and incentivize you to come and check out the cars. Also, calling ahead makes them more inclined to think that you’re going to purchase a car.

If they do offer a report for free, simply tell the salesperson or representative working at the dealership to get the report once you find a vehicle that fits your criteria.

If they do not, then they may offer to reimburse you for a report you purchase yourself.

Step 2: Visit the dealership site. Any dealership that has a subscription to Carfax reports and has its inventory of cars listed online along with the VIN can be a free source of a Carfax report.

Often, customers can just go to the website of that particular dealership and get a free report.

Carfax view report button

*Step 3: Look up dealership cars on Carfax. Through the Carfax website, customers can look up vehicles that are relatively close to them in dealerships with a Carfax subscription.

Carfax lists these vehicles in a format similar to classified ads, and there is a button with every car that will show the Carfax report for that car. Simply click this button and view the report for the vehicle.

A free Carfax report is a big advantage to those shopping at used car dealerships. A Carfax report is worth the price if the vehicle’s cost is significant, but keep in mind that the report will not show any home repairs or modifications done to the vehicle. Because of this, particularly cheap or old cars may not benefit that much from a report - so it’s better to obtain a free report if possible.


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10,790
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Jason

31 years of experience
148 reviews
Jason
31 years of experience
Land Rover Range Rover Sport - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Surprise, Arizona
Needed new brake pads on my Land Rover-and booked through “your mechanic”- this was my second time using this service and I have to say- these guys are awesome- Today, Jason came out to my work place- and completed the work quickly. Thank you!!
Honda Accord - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Phoenix, Arizona
Jason was on time, self motivated, well educated in his craft, and very helpful. I am fully sold on your method of using the home service. Jason helped by creating a safer ride for my wife, saving me time, and saving money for my family. I will be a client forever. Dennis Laycock

Lee

18 years of experience
105 reviews
Lee
18 years of experience
Toyota Camry - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Richmond, Virginia
Lee was professional and knowledgeable. The job did not take long he was a little late but like I said professional because he let know that he was running late. LEE IS AWESOME!!!!!!

Willie

23 years of experience
23 reviews
Willie
23 years of experience
Jeep Compass - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - North Hollywood, California
I made an appointment to have my brake rotors/disc replaced. On the day I scheduled my car services- it ended up raining. Willie checked in, moved my appointment, and continued to communicate through out the day until he was able to come work on my car. He took great car to make the repairs ANNNDDD SAVED ME MONEY by only doing what was necessary (only one of the rotors needed replacing). A blessing.

Honorio

18 years of experience
782 reviews
Honorio
18 years of experience
Saturn Vue - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Sunnyvale, California
This was our second appointment to service our Honda and Saturn with Honorio and we will continue to do so in the future. We highly recommend Honorio.

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