10 Points to Check in a Vehicle History Report

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No matter how you buy a used car – through a dealer or from the market, it’s always a good idea to get a vehicle history report. A detailed vehicle history report will reveal the entire information about a car’s past.

A vehicle history report not only includes critical information such as any accidents related records, recalls or the current odometer reading. but it also gives details like structural damage, frame damage, theft information, service history, warranty information, lien check, title information etc.  

Getting a vehicle history report through a VIN check up can give you an idea of what to expect from a car when you buy it. You’ll have to pay a minimal amount to get the detailed vehicle history report. Whereas, you can get a  free vehicle history report for a brief history of your selected car.

Below scroll down to get an in-depth explanation of the points that you should check in a standard vehicle history report and understand before finalizing a selected used car.

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Points included in a vehicle history report

A vehicle history report essentially gives you the life history of a vehicle but, knowing what specific things you should look for in the vehicle history report can help you make a better car buying decision.

A standard vehicle history report will provide you following information-

  • Past ownership information
  • Prior accidents
  • Flood or fire damage
  • Total loss/salvage history
  • Liens
  • Maintenance history
  • Recalls
  • Odometer reading
  • Failed emissions test
  • Stolen vehicle check

Past ownership information

It’s always beneficial to know who owned your vehicle prior to you and which state it belongs to. Industry reports say that an average car in its lifetime changes hands 3 times. If the details show that the car has passed through multiple owners, this could be a sign that the car has some problems.

Prior accidents

Knowing about the nature of the accidents and the number of collisions could sway you against buying a car that may have residual damage. On the other side, if you find that the car you have selected hasn’t been in an accident, that’s a green signal for your purchase. You will also get the information about whether the car’s airbags have ever deployed.

Flood or fire damage

If we look at the reports, more than half of the flood-damaged cars re-enter the used car markets. So, getting complete information related to flood damage before purchasing a car is essential. Cars which have gone through flood damage or fire may have sustained long-lasting damage to the engine. Check the report carefully to know the nature of the damage and what repair work was done to rectify the damages. To know more about the flood-damaged car check this article – How To Avoid Buying A Flood-Damaged Car

Total loss/salvage history

Any vehicles declared a total loss or salvage falls into a high-risk category. A car marked as a total loss generally means the car dangerous to drive and it shouldn’t be purchased. Salvage history can still be safe to drive. A detailed vehicle history report will help you check the extent of the damage and if the salvaged vehicle has been repaired. Any vehicle with salvage title needs to be carefully inspected prior to buying. To know more about salvage titles check this article – 5 Things You Should Know Abou A Salvage Title 


A lien on a private sale vehicle is a real problem. However, it shouldn’t appear on a VIN check if you are buying from a reputable auto dealer. Lien actually means that the seller doesn’t own the car fully. It is difficult to get financing for a vehicle which falls under lien. To buy a lien title car, it’s best to have the owner get the lien released first, and only then you should start the buying process. Once the owner has released the lien you can initiate the purchasing process like transferring the title to your name, registration or insurance.

Maintenance history

Previous service history of a car makes you aware of the repairs and fixes your car has gone through. With service history in hand, you can plan and budget your future expenses related to car services and maintenance. Information about service history makes you confident during the negotiation process. For instance, if the car needs some repair in the battery or new tires, you might be able to negotiate for a lower price by giving a reference to service history.


It’s always good to know if the car you have chosen for purchasing has any recall and whether or not those repairs were made.

Odometer reading

Odometer reading tells you about the total miles a car has been driven. You can match the mileage of the car through a vehicle history report. It will also alert you about the tampered odometer reading.

Check & Decode Any VIN Instantly

Get your VIN check and find hidden problems with any car! Comprehensive vehicle and accident history, service and repair information, specifications, theft status and more

Failed emissions test

Vehicle history report will show you the reports related to the failed emission test. If the area you live in require smog check and the report indicates failed emission test, this could mean costly repairs for you.

Stolen vehicle check

Theft information on the vehicle history report alerts you to any potential problems. A report will also give you the information if the car has been stolen and returned.  

Importance of Vehicle History Report

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While there are free vehicle reports available online, they give very basic information. For a detailed report which covers all the essential points for purchasing a used vehicle, you’ll have to pay a small fee. There are many online websites where the process of VIN look-up takes only a few seconds. Vehicle Check USA is one such website, they provide a detailed vehicle history report on a single click.

Getting a Vehicle history report is well worth the effort, as it makes you aware of the history of a car that you are considering for purchase. It helps you troubles down the line as discovering the faults in a car after purchase can affect your pocket in a great deal.

Every used car has a back-end story and some of them are nothing short of a nightmare. So, always look for the Vehicle History Report before purchasing a used car. It will help you know if a car has a clean history or hidden problems. We have data available for every used car sold post-1982.