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A Vin Check (often referred to as the Lemon Check, or Vehicle History Report) is essentially your Car’s History Report. Every Vehicle has a VIN# assigned to it. VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number. It’s kind of like a Social Security Number, but for cars; each one is Different, but using a VIN Decoder, you can see some basic information about the vehicle (same with Social Security numbers by the way, the first 3 will show you where the SSN was assigned (city/state)). Using a Vin Decoder and a Vin Check Report are two different things though, as a Vin Decoder will give you some basic information on a Vin Number (Year, Make, Model, etc) whereas a Vin Check Report is essentially a Lemon Check for your car; it will give you the vehicle’s history, including Title status (clear, totaled, reconstructed, etc) which is important information to know when buying a car (especially if you’re trying to get a loan; Banks usually do NOT grant loans for reconstructed/totaled/salvage title vehicles. ).
In all honesty, it depends on who/where/what you’re buying, and your personal preference; If you’re buying an older car, let’s say over 4 years old, you can pretty much bet it’s had its’ fair share of history, and you might want to run a Vin Check Report or a Lemon Check, since you might want to know whether or not the vehicle has been in any accidents or has any factory defects, just to supplement what the seller is telling you (I.e. if the seller says that the vehicle has never been wrecked, but you find accidents in the vehicle history report), you’ll know that the seller might be trying to hide other things as well…
So, In the end, it’s up to you whether or not you NEED a Vin Check, but I would suggest that if you have the money to spare (This Ranges from $50 to $10, read reviews below) on a Vin Check Report like Carfax or AutoCheck, I’d say go for it. If you’re not willing to spend the $40 for the Vin Check, you can check out the Free Vin Check post we have on our site, it’s got some links to Vin Decoders, as well as VERY basic Free Vin Check Tools that you can use to check and make sure that the vehicle has no Liens or has not been reported stolen (you don’t want to buy a car from someone that doesn’t own it, after all, do you?) Or read on and I’ll suggest a couple of cheap Vin Checks down below as well.
To answer this question, I would have to know which “FREE VIN CHECK REPORT” you’re using. Most sites that sell Vin Check Reports will offer a “FREE [teaser] VIN CHECK” which will show you the amount of entries it has in the system, and whether or not there are title issues.
CarFax will let you know that there are [for example] 90 records on this car, with a HUGE exclamation mark… but, CarFax’s ‘records’ also include any time a vehicle was Registered and any time it had any services done at a ‘carfax certified’ mechanic. This number is a little misleading. I’ve had cars that I was the first owner on, that showed 30 records! I was outraged. When selling the car, no one believed that I was the original owner until I printed, and gave them the carfax report, and showed them my initial purchase from the dealership. In my opinion, CarFax TRICKS people into buying their CarFax reports, so, to avoid this, I can suggest a way to get a ‘free’ carfax-like report, that will be below, continue reading ;).
Yes. AutoCheck is a great example of a CarFax Competitor. Infact, CarFax actually offers MORE information for less money. Using CarFax’s website, you can actually get the basic information from your vehicle, such as Make, Model, Class, Engine size, Vehicle Age, Previous Owners (how many), Style/Body, and a basic AutoCheck Vehicle Score, compared to other vehicles that are identical. The AutoCheck Vehicle Score is based on the Vehicle History and Maintenance records (if any). All of which are important, especially if you’re looking at buying a Honda Civic and the information that the Vin Decoder provides doesn’t match; at that point you might want to take the car in for an inspection, to make sure that the VIN Numbers match in the car.
An AutoCheck Vin Report will show the basic Vehicle Information as well as Whether the vehicle qualifies for a “Buy Back Protection” by Autocheck, Title and Problem Check, Odometer Check, a Vehicle Use and Event Check, and to top it all off, a Complete Vehicle History.
These are all terms that AutoCheck uses to describe their Services. Again, if you need further clarification on the terms and their meanings, please visit their site at www.AutoCheck.com. The reason we didn’t post EXACTLY what these terms means is because AutoCheck reserves the rights to those terms and their website explains it a lot better than we ever could :).
My suggestion, and this is purely my thought, is that AutoCheck is a little better than CarFax. Now, this might be due to the fact that CarFax TEASES you with some information (XX Records Found!!!) whereas AutoCheck gives you the information and lets you decide whether or not you want to pay for more information. In the end, I believe that both companies provide you with the same information, they just have different marketing strategies. I just like the non-intrusive; No hand twisting, approach, more.
Vin Alert! A QUARTER of the price of a Carfax/ Autocheck Report, same amount of information. Also has a Free Vin Decoder Tool (pretty neat, check it out!) as well as the option to get a Basic Report, which gives you some basic checks, ideal if you’re looking to buy a car but aren’t interested in the ENTIRE history, like their Full Report.
|$10 VINALERT FULL VIN Check Report (checks 250 different Brands and 20 other factors!):
Yes, you can get your Free VIN Check Report by clicking on our Free Vin Check post, and scrolling to the bottom. There’s some good information there as well, and by following the simple instructions, you will be able to get your Free Vin Check Report. Now, keep in mind, these reports are only so that you can see what an AutoCheck report will give you, and if the report is any good, make sure you buy one from AutoCheck, because it costs those companies money every time they run a Vin Check on a vehicle, so don’t be a cheap-ass; PAY for the report to support companies that are doing business correctly.