Free VIN Check Trick, Free Vehicle History Report

AutoCheck and CarFax are popular ways to check on a used vehicle’s history before buying or selling. They aren’t always 100% accurate, but can still be a useful tool and possibly worth the $30+ retail price. But AutoCheck also lets car dealers check show free basic VIN checks to show their customers, and people (not me) figured out you can piggyback on this feature rather easily.

(Update 7/22: You can still try using the instructions below, but it appears that Autocheck has closed this loophole. You can still get a basic free VIN check at AutoCheck.com that will show you the year, make, model, style and country of assembly for any VIN. It’ll also show you how many vehicle history records there are for this vehicle, but in order to see the details you’ll have to pay for the full report.)

To perform a another basic check of whether a specific car VIN has been reported stolen or has a salvage title, use this free NCIB.gov VINcheck tool. Together, these would provide a good initial check to any potential Craiglist used car purchases. If you wish to proceed, it may be worth it to go ahead and purchase a report.

Finally, there is also a more affordable option called VinAudit.com that sells their vehicle history report for only $12.99. They also include title registration records, junk/salvage records, insurance records, and odometer history. Data is from the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). States, insurance carriers, and salvage yards are required by federal law to report data to NMVTIS. Their sample report looks pretty much the same as the other guys, but Compare with $39.99 for CarFax and $29.99 for AutoCheck.


Here are the adapted instructions to get a free VIN check:

  1. Go to Google.com, and run a search for “dealer autocheck inurl:vin
  2. Click on the first result that is not an ad. (Also ignore other car forums that are talking about this trick.)
  3. Look at the URL toolbar. It will look something like:

    http://www.autoexact.com/autocheck.aspx?vin=LONG_VIN_NUMBER&Id=5122742

    Replace LONG_VIN_NUMBER with your own car or motorcycle VIN, something like:

    http://www.autoexact.com/autocheck.aspx?vin=5TETX22N66Z267004&Id=5122742

    (No spaces. Again this URL is only an example.)

  4. Hit Enter, or copy/paste the new address into a new window and hit Enter. If it doesn’t work, use the next dealer website URL that comes up.

Comments

  1. Nice find! worked for me too.

  2. Neat, but is this stealing auto checks from the auto dealers?

  3. @foo – I wouldn’t call it stealing as the auto dealer doesn’t pay anything extra for the queries that you run. Would it potentially decrease the revenue for Autocheck by savings some people money who would otherwise want this information? Yes. In addition, I think it fulfills some curiosity from people like me who wouldn’t check otherwise but are interested in knowing what’s on the report.

  4. oh foo….there will always be you

  5. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a great find and will definitely use it when checking out cars that don’t have free carfax/etc. Was just wondering if maybe the dealers have a monthly check limit and if we would be hurting them somehow.

    Thanks!

  6. Thanks for this! I was looking to purchase a particular car which showed no reported accidents on the Car Fax but had one on the Auto Check report. I believe that 20/20 did a story some time last month that mentioned that you cannot only depend on the Car Fax.

  7. Not sure why those of you are getting on Foos back… this IS STEALING. If you are OK with it, then fine, but at least understand and be honest with what you are doing.

    Downloading MP3s you do not own is stealing and downloading compiled information that you do not own or did not do the work to compile is stealing also.

    If you were a small startup business where you did the legwork or programming work to make a valuable product (be it a digital product), and others started downloading it off your server without paying, you would be upset for them stealing your product. They may say you are not harmed, they were not going to buy it off you anyway, your cost for bandwidth is minimal, but, the truth remains that in this case you are taking something that is not yours to take. You are stealing.

  8. Thanks for the trick. I looked up my vehicle and was surprised to see my major accident which it went to a body shop for a week and the police where present didn’t show up. My transmission replacement showed up as transmission service! Make me wonder.

  9. Doesn’t work anymore as of about a week ago

  10. any other ways around this since the block?

  11. Richard Granger says:

    I see that you have crossed out the information where can I get a free vin check for damages or salvage on a vehicle

  12. Yes, as of 7/22 the crossed-out instructions no longer work. When posted on 6/12, it worked. I have added other information as alternative money-saving solutions.

  13. Hi I am a long time follower of your blog but first time commenter. I just wanted to thank you for this information, since I am currently in the market for a used vehicle. I’ve found it very useful!

    I also wanted to let others know that Carfax has the option for 5 reports for $49.99 and unlimited for $54.99 (i assume for 30 days) and AutoCheck has the unlimited option (30 days) for $44.99. I am currently considering signing up for AutoCheck’s unlimited option.

  14. @ Jonathan Ping
    Depending on how the dealership is set up, it can and will charge them more for people pulling a report as such. Don’t be cheap, just use the actual consumer side of things and research the cars for yourself while not screwing over people in the process.

  15. Thanks man its still working with some dealers page i just check a mazda that i want to buy

  16. Still works as of this morning but it’s much trickier now as the VIN is partially encrypted.

  17. If you look around you can find examples that still work:
    http://www.texasdirectauto.com......ashx?vin=

    I suggest reading through some car forums and looking for recent postings that people have reported:
    http://www.supraforums.com/for.....eck!/page8

  18. Troy Campbell says:

    You can get free vehicle history listing reports at marketcheck.com. You would want to see this report first as it shows how long a car has been for sale and any price changes. I found a car at a dealership they had priced for $4,300 less 3 weeks earlier and had raised the price. They also had had the car for a year but were telling me they only had it ten days. Now you can know how long the car has been on the market and all price changes.

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