How to Get a Free VIN Check in Canada? Check out CARFAX

Purchasing a new car means no surprises or past issues. However, for many Canadians, a new car might not be feasible. Thankfully, The lively used car market offers comfort, reliability, and style inexpensively.

Yet, delving into the realm of used cars means navigating through their past. Determining a car’s past can be tough. Was it repaired often for recurring problems or rebuilt after a big crash?

Understanding a car’s past is crucial as it could hint at future problems. However, not every past issue is a deal-breaker; some are easily explainable, while others serve as red flags demanding attention.

Enter the vehicle history report—a valuable tool in unraveling a used car’s story. These reports offer insights that can either instill confidence in your purchase decision or unveil hidden issues. Armed with this knowledge, buyers can negotiate better deals and make informed choices. Thus, thorough research is key to a successful used car purchase.

What is a vehicle history report? 

If your vehicle has a problem like a crash, defect, or hail damage, different things can happen. For example, you might file an insurance claim with your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), request a warranty claim, get a recall notice, or update your title status. All these actions are recorded and sent to the right organization. Also, many agencies share this data with information providers who create detailed reports on each vehicle. These reports are useful tools that show a car’s past and help buyers make smart choices.

How to Get a Free VIN Check in Canada

Vehicle History Report vs. VIN Check / Lookup – What’s the difference?

Online services offer VIN checks and vehicle history reports, each with unique features. A VIN check, which is free, gives basic details like year, make, and model based on the 17-digit VIN. It’s handy for confirming a vehicle’s identity quickly.

On the other hand, a vehicle history report includes everything from a VIN check and even more. It provides crucial information like title status, accident history, service records, and more. However, these reports may come with a cost, especially from private sellers.

Dealerships and online sellers often include free reports for transparency. Private sellers usually don’t provide these reports, shifting the burden to buyers. To help, we’ve compiled a list of recommended services for informed decisions.

AspectVehicle History ReportVIN Check / Lookup
CostTypically involves a fee, varying by providerGenerally free
Information ProvidedComprehensive details including title status, accident history, service records, recall campaigns, odometer discrepancies, ownership changes, and import recordsBasic information such as year, make, model, assembly location, and basic engine specifications
ScopeExtensive coverage of a vehicle’s historyLimited to verifying vehicle identity and basic details
AvailabilityOften included by dealerships and online retailers with vehicle listingsAvailable online through various platforms or agencies
Use CasesRecommended for thorough pre-purchase inspections, particularly when buying from private sellersUseful as an initial verification step to confirm vehicle identity and avoid potential fraud
Cost EfficiencyMay involve additional cost, but offers comprehensive insights into a vehicle’s pastOffers fundamental information at no expense, ideal for quick checks or initial assessments

What are the best free VIN check services?

When buying a car, check its history report or VIN. It’s crucial for your research. For a VIN check, explore different options to gather details.

Options for VIN Checks

  1. CARFAX Canada – VIN Decoder and Lookup (free)
    CARFAX Canada offers a free VIN check providing limited but current information on a car’s history. This preliminary insight aids in deciding whether to invest in a complete history report.
  2. VIN Verify (free)
    The Insurance Bureau of Canada offers VIN Verify, a free tool identifying vehicles with branded title statuses like Flood, Fire, Irreparable, or Salvaged. Although lacking detailed reports, VIN Verify helps spot title-washed cars.
  3. Transport Canada (free)
    For recall information, Transport Canada provides a searchable database. This free tool swiftly locates recalls for any make, model, or year of vehicle due to manufacturer defects. Frequent recalls on a vehicle could raise red flags.

What are the best vehicle history report services? 

The best peace of mind comes from a vehicle history report. It’s worth the modest cost to avoid buyers’ remorse. However, remember that no report is flawless. Some incidents might not be included. For instance, a past owner might fix major damage privately. Still, we urge you to review the report before proceeding. Free reports are available with certain vendors. Paid options are also available online, and here are our favorites.

1. CARFAX Canada

CARFAX Canada, a top VHR service in Canada, has a vast car history database across North America. It gathers data from various sources in Canada and the US to provide detailed vehicle reports.

Key Features of CARFAX Canada Vehicle History Reports

  1. Vehicle Accident or Damage Claims: CARFAX reports detail any reported incidents of damage, ranging from collisions to weather-related damages. Information includes the number of incidents, dates, impacted areas of the vehicle, and repair costs.
  2. Service Information: Reports provide maintenance details, offering indications of the car’s past care and current condition.
  3. Vehicle Registration & Title Status Checks: Learn where the vehicle was last registered and whether it holds a branded or clean title, indicating its accident history.
  4. Canadian Lien Search: Identifies registered liens, crucial for avoiding potential liability for the previous owner’s debts.
  5. Outstanding Recalls: Reports highlight open safety recalls, alerting buyers to unresolved issues.
  6. Import/U.S. History: Reveals if the vehicle has an overseas origin or U.S. history.
  7. Theft Records: Confirms if the car was declared stolen, providing peace of mind for buyers.

Pricing and Options

CARFAX reports are priced at $54.95 with a lien check or $39.95 without, offering comprehensive insights into a vehicle’s history for informed buying decisions.

2. AutoCheck

AutoCheck, like CARFAX, offers a free VIN check service. It shows details like make, model, year, and more. For $24.99, you can access in-depth information on title, registration, and usage history.

3. VinAudit Canada

Recently in Canada, VinAudit offers reports for $14.95 per vehicle. These reports cover registration, recalls, vehicle status, manufacturer buybacks via CAMVAP, theft records, and more. You can also get free VIN check services.

How to get a free vehicle history report

When purchasing a used vehicle, ask for a vehicle history report. Dealers usually provide this to show transparency. Private sellers may not offer it due to costs. Still, it’s worth asking. The report gives insights for informed decisions.

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