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How to Check Car Service History by VIN (2023)

How to Check Car Service History by VIN (2023)

VIN Number Lookup

Enter VIN number to look up car service history

If you’re looking to buy or sell a car, looking up the vehicle history is a smart move. This will tell you tons of information like the original specs, how many times it was sold, to whom it was sold, and if the car’s been in any major accidents. While you can look up the 17/11 digits VIN number to get the history report, sometimes you may only need a license plate.

In this post, we’ll show you how to get a detailed & accurate history report easily and quickly.

Why do you need to check car history?

Before buying a car, whether used or brand new, you’ll want to make sure the car is worth every penny you spend. And that means you don’t want any lemon cars or one with its odometer rolled back. In many cases, the dealer isn’t required to tell you the repair history. So to check if a car is a catch, you need to get a car history report.

There are two types of car history reports: the free ones and the paid ones.

Free reports can get you most of the basic info you need, like recalls, original specs and warranty. It can help you steer clear of major red flags.

Paid VIN checks are in fact good investments too, as they’d offer premium data like ownership history, insurance and odometer reading, which may save you from future headaches and repair costs. Additionally, if there’s an outstanding lien on the title, it may lead to repossession in the future.

1. Lookup the VIN number online

You can get a detailed car report by looking up the VIN number. The 17 or 11 digits VIN number is located in several places on a vehicle. Once you get the VIN number, you can use some online VIN decoders to get the history report.

1. Do a free VIN check with NICB

NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau) offers an online VIN lookup that allows you to check basic information for free. It can help you quickly determine if a car has been reported stolen or salvaged. You can run up to 5 VIN checks within a 24 hour period.

  1. Go to NICB.
  2. Enter the VIN number, check the box next to I agree and complete the captcha. Then click Search VIN.
  3. If it locates a match, you’ll see the basic info of theft and loss records linked to the VIN number.

2. Check unrepaired recalls with NHTSA

In the U.S, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers a free recall lookup tool on their website, which allows you to check if there’re any unrepaired recalls associated with the VIN number.

An unrepair recall refers to a situation where a vehicle has a manufacturer-issued recall that has not been addressed or fixed.
  1. Go to the NHTSA recall search page.
  2. Enter the VIN number and click the Search icon.
  3. You can then see if there’re any unrepaired recall records linked to this VIN number.

3. Get premium data with BeenVerified

You can use BeenVerified to research a vehicle thoroughly. As an NMVTIS-approved data provider, BeenVerified makes it possible to pull detailed information from a VIN number or a license plate. By searching with the VIN number, you may get a detailed vehicle history report revealing previous owners, last odometer reading, sale listings, warranties and more.

  1. Go to the BeenVerified search page.
  2. Enter the VIN number and click Search.
  3. Wait for BeenVerified to search the database. Once it locates a match, you can subscribe to a membership to see all the available premium info of the vehicle, which could reveal previous owners, last odometer reading, sale listings, warranties and more. The report also comes in PDF format so that you can share it with the buyer or seller.
You can run unlimited VIN searches with one BeenVerified subscription, which would help you save big if you’re comparing cars.

4. EpicVIN

EpicVIN is the first NMVTIS data provider built on blockchain technology. With this advantage the database cannot be altered easily. It offers industry-leading reports at an affordable and reasonable price. EpicVIN is an cost-efficient alternative to BeenVerified or Carfax if you only need one report.

  1. Go to EpicVIN.
  2. Enter the VIN number and click Check VIN.
  3. You’ll see the basic information about the vehicle in seconds. To access the full report, you can choose a package to upgrade your report.

2. Look up the license plate

In some cases, you can get the vehicle history report with just a plate number. Just enter the license plate in the search box below, and it’ll generate a detailed report revealing the VIN and everything else if there’s a match.

License Plate Lookup

Research a Vehicle by License Plate

What to do with your VIN check report

Once you get the vehicle history report, you can review it and check for the irregularities. If you don’t know how to get insights from the report, pay attention to the following:

Does the report match the vehicle

The vehicle manufacturer, make, model and model year should match the title and description of the car you’re buying. If the information doesn’t match the title, it may indicate the car has its VIN number changed (possibly stolen).

Does the car have a clear title

When you’re reviewing the report, check if it has a clear, clean title. If you see a bonded, rebuilt, or salvage title, it could mean the car has bigger problems.

Hire a mechanic to do a final check

If the VIN check report looks good to you, you can pay a mechanic to look over the car to make sure nothing is hidden. You can ask your friends or use Yelp to find legit mechanics near you. If the seller has a problem with that, you should assume that something is up and it’s time to reconsider.

Free VS Paid: Which should you choose?

We all love free things, but when it comes to VIN history check, a free search usually means limited data. If you only want to avoid common red flags like theft, loss and recalls, you may be comfortable using free tools mentioned above, and they can usually give you the accurate data.

Paid VIN checks offer you easy access to records you may not find (or easily find) on the internet, such as title, accidents, ownership history, salvage listings, market value, sales listings and more. And most of the subscription-based services will allow you to run dozens of reports on your phone, which can help you help a lot of time and efforts during your vehicle hunt.

exclamation-blueThe methods in this article provide you with easy access to public record information, but without a guarantee for accuracy and may include links to websites not listed as a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA). Information acquired from these bodies is illegal to be used for employment, housing, credit, and other purposes alike, according to laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). If you’re not sure whether your use of our methods is appropriate, click here for details.

By Marcus Liang

Marcus brings a wealth of expertise to SuperEasy with his diverse background. Over the past three years, he has contributed hundreds of insightful articles on various topics such as technology, deal hunting, and life hacks. With a strong expertise in technology, he has helped many readers troubleshoot technical issues and tackle other real world challenges. In addition to his in-depth computer knowledge, Marcus is also a dab hand at programming and web development, which makes him a pro at online research and data mining.

Outside of work, he manages dozens of cloud servers and homelabs, which gives him valuable insights into networking and cybersecurity yet constantly keeps him awake at night. Apart from his technology background, Marcus is also a seasoned fitness enthusiast with seven years of experience in crafting tailored fitness and diet plans. Financial-wise, he's well-versed in the world of credit cards. With a passion for personal finance he is always on the hunt for tricks to maximize rewards and save money.

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