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Where Can I Buy A Car Online?US Used Car Histories

Is that used car deal too good to be true? These sites can help you learn about a car's real history.

Overall Rating: 9/10E-Commerce Rating: 9/10
Your Best Bet!Consumer Guide Automotive - Vehicle History Report

Consumer Guide's site offers vehicle history reports at the lowest price (admittedly only by a dollar or so) of all those we've reviewed. The site is good in terms of sample reports, customer service and other extras.

Consumer Guide offers unlimited reports for $24.99 and you get access to them for 60 days (versus only 30 at Carfax). A single report is only $19.99 (versus $24.99 at Carfax). A look at the sample reports shows that they also include quite a bit of valuable extra material on the vehicle you are checking out including highlights of the editors' review of the vehicle, recalls, trouble spots and repair costs.

There are no downsides to this site.

How to:

Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 8/10
One of our Favorites!Vehicle History Reports for used cars and VIN number check at AutoCheck

This relatively new offering from Experian (who has been around for years in the credit report business) is a great resource. It's not that its pricing is so much better but that it has some added extras that will help you understand the somewhat confusing vehicle history report arena.

Reports are available instantaneously. But the real pros here are the Title Guard insurance (which you might want to consider) and the excellent educational materials available under the Help link (top right of the page). Also check out the Buyback Protection that's included with every AutoCheck 'clean' report.

Unlimited reports are priced the same or slightly more than the competitors but do offer access for 60 days. A single report is $19.99.

How to:

Overall Rating: 8/10E-Commerce Rating: 7/10
Carfax Home Page - Carfax, the leader in vehicle history reporting, delivers guaranteed reports

Carfax is the oldest and most well known of the used vehicle history sites. It's getting a run for its money from the other sites we've listed though as they have priced themselves a smidgen below Carfax.

The site is easy to navigate and all financial transactions are secure. There are some nice extras on the site such as a recall check page. An excellent feature of the site is a very well done Teen Safe Drivers Program.

Unlimited reports are $29.99 (about five dollars more than the competition) and can only be accessed for 30 days (versus 60 for competing sites). A single report is $25.99 (several dollars more than the competition) and doesn't include the extras (safety and reliability reports) that come on the unlimited reports.

How to:

Overall Rating: 7/10E-Commerce Rating: 6/10
Automobile Inspections, LLC

Note that this site is not for car buyers who are purchasing an 'everyday' used vehicle. This is for those buying a collector or exotic car.

Automobile Inspections' reports consist of "six jam-packed pages asking over 150 crucial questions that give you the facts you need to know." Reports may also include a Carfax vehicle history check (available on the Red report only - for cars built later than 1981 - for an additional $30) and can also include photographs of the car for an additional $30. Reports are certainly not cheap however at $349 for the Red Report, $379 for the Blue Report (1946-80) and $399 for the Gold Report (1945 and earlier). There is also a new report called the Silver Report which is $399 and intended for street rods and modified vehicles.

Tons of information that may be crucial to purchasers of collectable or exotic cars.

These reports are expensive but as mentioned above may be essential for people spending tens of thousands of dollars on very special vehicles. There is a 72 hour delivery period for these reports (versus instantaneous with standard history reports) but this is not really very suprising given that these cars must be examined by a human (gasp) to produce the report.

How to:

  • Buy a car history report
    Click on the type of report you want via the graphic on the main page (red, blue, gold or silver). Click on the Order Now button on the next page.

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