How to Check Car History

Wherever state or country you are in, when it comes to buying a pre-owned vehicle, it is paramount to check the car’s history. With this check, you will be able to know anything and everything there’s to know about the vehicle you are about to purchase.

After all, the last thing you want is to buy a lemon that’ll give you endless headaches and cost you oodles of cash in repairs.

What’s In a Car History Check?

A car service history can show the following:

Write-Off Status: if your target vehicle has ever been involved in a road accident, the chances are that it may have been written off. It probably underwent rigorous repairs before being approved as roadworthy again. When you check the car’s history report, you’ll find the details of the accidents and repairs that were needed to get it back on the road.

Finance Check: if there’s an encumbrance on the vehicle you’re about to purchase, you’re looking at a big financial risk. If anything, it’s prudent to avoid second-hand vehicles with car loans attached to them. Otherwise put, such vehicles are actually owned by the lenders, and could be repossessed if the seller defaults on the loan.

Registration Status: is the vehicle registered? If indeed so, up to when?

Engine Number: The car’s history should include the original engine number. This can help you recognize “reborn” vehicles, those cars that were stripped down and rebuilt ground up.

Stolen Status: Would you, in a sober mind, want to purchase a stolen vehicle? I thought so. Luck for you, a car history check will help you know if the car has ever been reported as lost or stolen. Either way, knowing this will help you dodge a bullet.

Manufacturer Details: the car history will also provide basic information such as the vehicle model, year of manufacture, colour, body type, the car maker, etc.

Odometer Report: this will show you if the reading of the odometer is accurate or if it’s been tampered with.

So, how can one check a vehicle’s service history?

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to check a car’s history.

Gather What You Need to Do a Car’s History Check

Several free tools can help you get a free car history report, including PPSR, NEVDIS, and a number of local, state, and Territory registration agencies. Ideally, if you know the seller’s date of birth and full name, you can search PPSR database by the grantor. Otherwise, you will need vehicle’s chassis number, VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), or manufacturer number, all of which the seller can provide, and where possible, you can sight the vehicle in person.

If the vehicle was made or imported prior to 1989, you would use the chassis number to do a car service history check. The chassis number is often found under the hood/bonnet.

Alternatively, if the car was made after 1989, you will have to use VIN. This alphanumeric code is often located along the driver’s side door closure area, at the bottom of the windscreen on the passenger’s side, or on underneath the bonnet.