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7 Affordable Carfax Alternatives to Get Vehicle History Reports (2024)

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A comprehensive vehicle history report is crucial when purchasing a used vehicle. It not only aids in the decision-making process but also provides valuable insights into the car’s past.

Millions of users rely on Carfax to get these reports. However, most are unaware that Carfax lacks report depth in several aspects, such as the lack of auction photos, steep pricing, or the short 30-day access to the reports.

This article will discuss the better Carfax alternatives in different aspects of the vehicle history report. Let’s start by getting the overview.

Feature and Pricing Overview of the Best Carfax Alternatives

Before we get into the details, here’s a quick look at the features and pricing of some top alternatives to Carfax for vehicle history reports.

Carfax AlternativesFeaturesPricing
Detailed Vehicle HistoryTop Carfax alternative with comprehensive reports.
Lifetime access to reports and credits. Affordable option.
$15 per report
Instant VIN ReportsFree VIN decoding, offering vehicle specifications. 
Similar level of details with Detailed Vehicle History Reports with a competitive price.
$25 per report, $55 for 5 reports
VinAuditApproved by NMVTIS, also checks all critical issues.Charges only $9.99 per report.
Vincheck.infoFree VIN decoding, gets data from several sources including the NMVTIS.Free
AutoCheckOffers an AutoCheck score. Provides buyback protection for registered and qualified vehicles.$24.99 for a single report
NHTSA RecallsFree VIN check service, but only provides recall data only.Free
NICB VIN CheckFree lookup service to check for insurance theft claims. Also offers salvage/total loss records.Five free checks per day (24 hours)

Best Carfax Alternatives to Consider in 2024

When looking for the best Carfax alternatives in 2024, it’s essential to consider options that offer comprehensive vehicle history reports at competitive prices. Here are the top websites and vehicle history report providers to consider:

1. Detailed Vehicle History - Best Carfax Alternative

Detailed Vehicle History is the leading provider of vehicle history reports in the automotive industry today. They stand as number one on our list and the best alternative to Carfax if you need a more comprehensive, yet affordable vehicle history report.

Not only are their prices cheaper at 70% less than Carfax at a standard price of $15 per report, but they also provide even more detail than you would find on a Carfax report. Carfax doesn’t give these, but Detailed Vehicle History does:

  • Auction records with photos
  • Ownership history map
  • Repair costs
  • Vehicle Usage
  • Support for heavy-duty vehicles, trucks, trailers, motorcycles
  • Support for classic cars, decoding 5 to 13-digit VINs.

Detailed Vehicle History takes it one step further with its mobile app. With its OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology, users no longer need to enter the VIN or license plate manually, and they can quickly scan and search using their phones’ cameras.

The app also allows users to decode any VIN without the internet for free and pay only when they need a detailed report.

Another feature that makes them stand out is the window stickers they provide. A window sticker offers used car buyers a list of the standard and optional features, pricing information, color codes, and more.

Additionally, Detailed Vehicle History allows anyone to check historical records even without the VIN using their accurate license plate lookup tool. This tool decodes license plates of all states in the US and generates reports accordingly.

Check out this sample report from Detailed Vehicle History!

Get a Detailed Vehicle History Report

2. Instant VIN Reports - Runner-up for Best Carfax Alternative

Instant VIN Reports is another reliable Carfax alternative that provides concise vehicle history reports for car buyers, sellers, and dealers. Its ability to decode 5 to 17-digit VINs before and after 1981 makes it stand out from the others on this list.

This provider is second on this list because its reports are a bit pricey compared to Detailed Vehicle History but still cheaper than Carfax.

If your main focus is user experience and completeness rather than cost, you can trust Instant VIN Reports to deliver. They also ensure that users receive enough value for their money.

Here are some services you can expect from them:

  • Free VIN decoding and VIN checks at $25 per report.
  • Classic car VIN decoding and checks.
  • Window sticker generation for all manufacturers.
  • License plate lookups.
  • Vehicle recalls.
  • Classic vehicle window sticker generation

3. VinAudit - Unlimited report, but less details

VinAudit is another alternative that provides high-quality history reports. It offers unlimited vehicle history checks for $20 only, which is ideal for comparing multiple cars quickly and affordably. VinAudit also provides car buyers and sellers a market value and ownership cost calculator.

However, some users mentioned VIN Audit reports lack the detailed information they need, like:

  • Service History
  • Ownership records
  • Vehicle specifications
  • Recall checks
  • Damage history, and others.

If you need a cost-effective solution, you can try VinAudit, but if you value more data and information, check out some alternatives on this list.

4. VINcheck.info - Best budget option

VINcheck.info is a popular free option for vehicle history reports, making it an attractive choice for budget-conscious buyers. 

While it provides basic vehicle information at no cost, users should be cautious about the data’s accuracy

According to discussions from users, there have been instances where salvaged and totaled cars were incorrectly reported as having no salvage title or accident history. Another thing to consider is that free reports from VINcheck.info are often cluttered with annoying ads, which can detract from the user experience.

Despite these drawbacks, it remains a go-to option for those looking to obtain essential vehicle history information at no monetary cost.

5. AutoCheck

AutoCheck is a well-known service for vehicle history reports, offering detailed insights and unique features like an AutoCheck Score to help gauge a car’s reliability. The AutoCheck Score ranks vehicles on a scale of 1 to 100 based on their past and present states, making it easier to quickly assess their overall condition and reliability.

However, users have reported significant discrepancies between AutoCheck and Carfax reports. For instance, a discussion on Reddit highlights cases where AutoCheck missed critical details found in Carfax reports, such as previous accidents and title issues.

While AutoCheck can be a valuable tool, it’s essential to cross-reference its reports with other sources, such as Detailed Vehicle History, to ensure a comprehensive understanding of a vehicle’s history.

6. NHTSA Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a U.S. government agency responsible for ensuring road safety through vehicle performance standards and regulations. One of its essential functions is managing vehicle recalls, which are issued when a vehicle, equipment, car seat, or tire does not meet safety standards or poses a safety risk.

This tool is essential for used car buyers, as it can identify recall campaigns made within 15 years and major recalls on passenger cars, motorcycles, and trucks. The best part is that it’s free and provides that much detail on recalls, investigations, complaints, and manufacturer communications.

7. NICB VIN Check

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is a non-profit organization that partners with insurers and law enforcement to combat insurance fraud and vehicle theft. Their free VIN check service queries the VIN for theft and salvage records only, helping buyers avoid potentially problematic cars.

If you want to find out if a vehicle has been stolen in the past or declared a total loss, the NICB is your best bet. However, if you want a full check and history report, you must consider another alternative on this list.

Frequently Asked Questions about Carfax Alternatives

Yes, Detailed Vehicle History is a cheaper alternative to Carfax. It offers detailed reports for $15 per report, which is significantly more affordable than Carfax. Detailed Vehicle History reports also provide extensive information and come with lifetime access, meaning the report has no expiration date.

Yes, VIN checks are highly recommended before purchasing a used car. They provide crucial information about the vehicle’s history, such as accident records, title issues, ownership changes, etc. Skipping a VIN check can result in buying a car with hidden problems, leading to potential safety risks and costly repairs in the future.

No, Carfax’s mobile app doesn’t support VIN scanning. Instead, you can use the Detailed Vehicle History free mobile app, which allows users to scan VINs and license plates without having to manually input them. 

Yes, there are free alternatives to Carfax. However, the data provided by these free sites are often inaccurate. It’s highly recommended to use trusted vehicle history report providers if you want reliable information before buying used cars.

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