How Much Does a Carfax Report Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

Carfax, Inc. is a web service that supplies consumers a vehicle history report that provides information on the car such as accidents, the owners who have owned the car, flood damage, if it was a lemon, and more.

Most, if not all potential car buyers, use a Carfax report when purchasing a used car.  Not only does it give the potential buyer an idea of what has happened to the car in the past, it gives the buyer a peace of mind.

How much does a Carfax report cost?

According to Carfax.comone Carfax report can be purchased for $39.99 and five reports can cost $59.99.  For $69.99, you can get unlimited reports for 60 days.  Usually, this report will only need to be purchased if you’re purchasing from a private seller who doesn’t want to buy one for you.

As for dealers, they have reported paying anywhere from as little as $900 to more than $1,500 per month for unlimited reports.  This cost would depend on the number of cars in the inventory.

Carfax overview

For any car built after 1981, Carfax will be able to supply a detailed repair and damage history.  This report will list a number of things about the car’s history that’s associated with the vehicle identification number, commonly referred to as VIN.

This report will have a record and the history for that exact vehicle, starting the day it landed on the dealer’s lot for the first time.  It will include the owner history, which will show you the records of who owned the car, how long they owned it for and which the car was purchased.  It will show any dates when the car was serviced and if accidents took place during that time.  Any accidental damage shown on the report will be anything from something as minor as a fender bender to as something serious as structural damage.  Service records will only show up if the car had service done by a professional service shop that sends information to the database.  The report will also include odometer readings whenever it came in for service and if any recalls are currently open.

Tips to know

Be sure to take advantage of the car buyback program Carfax offers.  To take advantage, you will have to register the vehicle purchase within 90 days.

Always read the disclosures to know the limits of the information and which guarantees they provide.

Autocheck vs Carfax

AutoCheck and Carfax will both offer you a reliable amount of history of any given car, but there are some differences.

As stated by Drivetime.com, the biggest difference is tracking auction cars.  AutoCheck is known to be much better at tracking auction cars, while Carfax is known to be inefficient at tracking these types of vehicles.  Because of this connection, it also allows AutoCheck to offer a more comprehensive listing of vehicles with frame damage.  The main reason is because AutoCheck has exclusive access to two of largest auction houses in the United States.

The other difference is the AutoCheck score, which is a score that helps you understand how the vehicle’s history impacts its resale value.  At a glance, this score offers you an idea on how good the history truly is.

Carfax is better when it comes to verifying mileage and if it has been maintained by a fleet or dealer.

Carfax also shows you maintenance reports if the dealer or repair chain reports it to the company.  On these reports, it will show you what the car came in for, along with the mileage at the time.

Carfax will do a better job show you how many owners it has had in the past.  This can allow you to dig deep and see where the car has been such as dealership or pawn shop.

How can I save money?

Most dealerships offer the report for free.  On websites, such as Cars.com and AutoTrader.com, dealers will include a Carfax report for that particular car.  Simply click the link and you will be able to the report at no charge.  If the report isn’t available for the car, ask the dealer if they can offer it and more will be happy to do so.

Every car listed on the official Carfax used car search will come with its own report for free.

Check out the Carfax competitors by visiting VehicleHistory.gov.  Alternatives include VinAudit, VinSmart, CheckThatVIN, AutoCheck, ReverseVINCheck and VINAlert.

VehicleHistory.com is said to be a free service with no strings attached.  This company will take information from a combination of public databases and provide you with maintenance schedules, service records, airbag deployments, crash test ratings and KBB reports.

Combine a few other reports because, sometimes, the report may not be as accurate as you think.

Don’t just rely on these reports and always have the car independently inspected if you really want to know if there are issues with it.


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