Vehicle History Report

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Welcome to - A Wiki Dedicated to Vehicle History Reports

Each Vehicle has a unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) which is a standardized serial number for the vehicle (as defined by ISO 3833).

VINs (and subsequently the historic records belonging to each unique VIN) are useful in helping law enforcement agencies fight vehicle-related crime and fraud.

Historic Vehicle Records may also be obtained by consumers via a Vehicle History Report to help them (the consumer) make educated decisions when buying a used vehicle.

About Vehicle History Reports

In the United States of America, a Vehicle History Report contains important information about a used vehicle's reported history. Vehicle History Reports typically show Title Records and Title Brands from the different State DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) offices, along with Insurance Databases Records, which include but are not limited to Salvage, Total Loss, and Accident Records. Because of the wealth of information and insight into the vehicle's past, the Vehicle History Reports are an important piece of information available to consumers when buying a used vehicle.

In addition to a vehicle's history, many Vehicle History Reports will provide additional information such as Ownership Records, Odometer History, and various other vehicle details that are obtained via decoding the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the vehicle. Information obtained from a VIN Decoder includes vehicle Make, Model, Trim, and Specifications.

Vehicle History Reports are available via online sources, most of whom are authorized partners of NMVTIS, a government organization designed to protect consumers from Vehicle Fraud and to keep unsafe vehicles and stolen vehicles from being resold. NMVTIS is also a tool that assists state and law enforcement in preventing Title Fraud and other vehicle crimes. The NMVTIS database tracks and provides data for cars, trucks, SUVs, Motorcycles, Recreational Vehicles (RVs), and other post-1981 vehicles containing VINs registered in the United States of America.

Importance of a Vehicle History Report

Before buying a used vehicle, car buyers should seriously consider buying a vehicle history report and running a free vin check to get information about the vehicle they're interested in buying. Vehicle History Reports will help consumers understand a vehicle's history, whether it's been in any recorded traffic accidents, if it has any vehicle title brands, and also help consumers avoid scams. Vehicle History Reports help consumers make educated decisions by providing information that is not available any other way.

Vehicle History Reports and Vehicle Fraud Crimes

Consumers often fall victim to a common vehicle scam that a Vehicle History Report could help avoid; odometer rollback. Since a vehicle's price is heavily dependent on how many miles it has, an odometer rollback would cause the price of the vehicle to be significantly different than if the vehicle displayed the actual mileage.

In addition to Odometer Rollback, there are many other various common vehicle scams that criminals will use to get a higher price when selling a used vehicle.

Vehicle Histories not only allow consumers to verify the Vehicle Seller's story, but also provide Law Enforcement Agencies with a way to track (and crack down on) Vehicle Fraud, including tracking stolen vehicles and stopping vin cloning.

How Vehicle History Reports Help Used Car Sales

Consumers looking to buy used cars are usually interested in whether or not a vehicle has been in a severe accident, if it was professionally repaired, and if it has any Lemon History, and a Vehicle History Report helps answer some of those questions and helps the consumers make a better informed purchase.

Private Party Sellers typically also check the history of the vehicle(s) they're selling in order to be prepared to answer questions about the vehicle (and its past history), and since consumers will be checking that information anyways, it's a good idea for the sellers to know their information too.

Used Car Dealerships often order Vehicle History Reports for the vehicles on their lot to show their customers the Vehicle's past history along with Repair Orders and Service Records in order to show that the vehicle was well-cared-for and professionally repaired. In the case of a trade-in, dealerships will use Vehicle History Reports as part of an equation to calculate a fair market value for the trade-in vehicle.

Understanding a Vehicle History Report

Before purchasing a used vehicle, potential buyers should consider the purchase of a vehicle history report to understand a vehicle’s background history. Car buyers are generally interested in whether a vehicle (that is being considered for purchase) has:

Sellers of vehicles also check the history of their vehicle prior to listing for sale so they are prepared to answer questions to the condition of the vehicle or history events. Dealers often buy these reports that provide a detailed background on the used vehicle to show their customers. Dealers also run reports prior to acquiring vehicles at auction or from trade-ins to help insure they pay a fair market value. Vehicle prices may be adjusted due to history events on any particular vehicle.

A vehicle history report provides information and detailed records associated with a vehicle’s unique serial number or VIN. Items in a vehicle history report may contain the following information:
Item Description
Title Information Shows whether or not the vehicle has been issued a title brand to denote that the vehicle has had previous damage or issues.
Number of Title Registrations Shows the recorded ownership history records and possible ownership changes according to DMV records.
States of Title Registration Provides the different states that the vehicle has been reported to have been titled or registered in previously.
Salvage & Junk Information Shows whether the Vehicle Title has been reported as a Salvage Vehicle by a state or has been listed at an Insurance Auto Auction or found in Junk Yard records, denoting possible past issues.
DMV Reported Odometer Discrepancies Shows if (and when) the vehicle has been reported to having possible odometer rollback or records of a broken/non-working odometer.
Lemon history Shows whether or not the vehicle has been reported as a lemon in DMV, Manufacturer, and Insurance Records.
Insurance Total Loss Shows whether the vehicle has any total loss records on file by insurance companies and DMV agencies.
Auction history Lets the buyer know if the vehicle has been listed at an auto auction.
Accident history Shows if the vehicle has been in a reported traffic accident and/or has sustained damage. The Accident History section may also list the type of damage that the vehicle sustained.
Air Bag Deployment Shows whether or not the vehicle’s airbag(s) were reported to have been deployed, often signifying a more severe accident.
Mileage Readings Lists the odometer readings that have been reported for the vehicle via DMV (and often Insurance) Records.
Service Records Shows any available service record(s) & information.
State Emission Inspection Records Shows the state inspection and emission results records as reported by the appropriate state agencies.
Warranty & Service Contract Availability Shows whether or not the vehicle has been covered and maintained by any warranty or service contract(s).

Table Credits: obtained from Wikipedia Vehicle History Article and updated to reflect current information

Title Registration Records

Title Registration Records will show which state the vehicle was (and currently is) registered in, according to DMV Records. Registration Dates will also be listed under Title Records - this is typically a good way to tell how many owners a vehicle has had, and how long the vehicle was owned by each owner (many owners with short periods of ownership usually depicts there may be hidden issues with the vehicle).

Title Brand History

Depending on the type of damage that a vehicle sustained, a Title Brand may be issued. There are many different Title Brands that a vehicle may be issued for many different reasons. There is more information on the Vehicle Title Brands Page.

Odometer Reading

When a vehicle is registered (or tags are renewed), the mileage is added to the vehicle's historic record. These mileage recordings will show up on a history report. If a discrepancy is found, it will be displayed on the report as well.

Overall, Vehicle History Reports provide useful data for consumers looking for more information about used cars. But that's not all:

Vehicle History Fraud

Vehicle History Fraud is rare, but it does happen. The most common type of Fraud that a vehicle history report helps crack down on is Odometer Tampering, but it is by no means the only one.

The different types of Vehicle Fraud include (but are not limited to) :

Identifying and Avoiding Vehicle History Fraud

In order to identify and avoid falling victim to a Vehicle History scam, consumers are encouraged to not only read up on Common Vehicle Scams, but also to Order a Vehicle History Report in order have access to as much information about their purchase as possible.


  • Internet Crime Complaint Center [[1]]
  • Federal Trade Commission [[2]]
  • American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators [[3]]
  • National Motor Vehicle Title Information System [[4]]