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How to Check Vehicle Purchase History by VIN (2024)

How to Check Vehicle Purchase History by VIN (2024)

Used Car Purchase History | Search Car Purchase History

Explore Ownership History incl. Number of Owners, Purchase Price, Mileage, Lienholder!

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique code assigned to each vehicle, and it can be used to track various details related to the vehicle’s history, including its past ownership and transaction history.

In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through the steps to find a vehicle’s purchase date, how much it was purchased for, the number of hands it has passed, as well as the mileage at purchase that are usually included in a Vehicle History Report.

1. Request documentation from the seller/dealership

Before making a purchase, it’s a good idea to ask the seller or dealership for any available documentation related to the vehicle’s history. This may include the bill of sale, sales contracts, or any paperwork they have from previous transactions. These documents can provide valuable insights into the car’s purchase history, including details about when it was bought, who the previous owners were, and any significant events in its past.

2. Contact the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

You can also reach out to the DMV of the state or jurisdiction where the car was previously registered. Gather the information needed and make a request, and you may be able to access the information about the car’s ownership history.

3. Obtain a Vehicle History Report

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), usually found on the dashboard near the windshield or the driver’s side door frame, holds a treasure trove of information. You can perform a VIN lookup and when available, get a detailed Vehicle History Report that may include the following information:

  • Photos
  • Detailed History
  • Sale Listings
  • Damage History
  • Theft Records
  • Maintenance
  • Ownership History
  • Recalls
  • Market Value
  • Ownership Cost
  • Vehicle Specs
  • Warranties
  • Vehicle Safety

Free VIN lookups

If you are to identify a vehicle’s plant of manufacture, use NHTSA’s VIN decoder which is publicly accessible at:

Step 1: Go to and enter the full VIN into the search box, then click Decode VIN.

Step 2: Refer to the field at the bottom of the page result, which lists the build plant and country for the searched vehicle. You can also see the vehicle specifications.

If you want to determine if a vehicle may have a record of an insurance theft claim, and has not been recovered, or has ever been reported as a salvage vehicle, you can utilize NICB’s VINCheck.

To obtain a free Vehicle History Report and know details about a vehicle’s history, you can enter the search query “free vin lookup” into the search box of your browser and hit Enter. Then go to each website and perform lookups by following the on-screen instructions to find the information for you.

However, using free services comes with some downsides.

1. They may not be approved NMVTIS Data Providers.

“NMVTIS is the only publicly available system in the United States to which all insurance carriers, auto recyclers, junk yards, and salvage yards, are required, under federal law, to report on a regular basis. “1 Although it might not be a must that you choose an approved NMVTIS Data Provider for your Vehicle History Report, you should have more peace of mind to receive more accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive information this way.

Approved NMVTIS Data Providers

2. There may be intrusive advertisements.

While free VIN lookup services offer a convenient way for users to access basic vehicle information, one notable downside is the prevalence of intrusive advertisements that can significantly impact the overall user experience.

These services often rely on advertising revenue to sustain their free offerings, leading to an influx of pop-ups, banners, and sponsored content throughout the user interface. If you prioritize user experience, free services may not suit you.

Paid VIN lookups

If free services aren’t what you are looking for, opt for the paid ones. After testing some VIN lookup services, we would like to recommend as a budget-friendly yet trustworthy option.

BeenVerified Vehicle Search is owned by, an Approved NMVTIS Data Provider. It compiles reliable, regularly updated information from NMVTIS, JD Power, NHTSA, and many other top industry data sources, including state-level government agencies, insurance providers, and auto industry partners.

Below is the simple three-step guide to perform searches:

Step 1: Visit BeenVerified’s Vehicle Search page.

Step 2: Enter the VIN number into the search box and click SEARCH.

Step 3: Wait for BeenVerified to search through various data sources. If available, BeenVerified will compile all the information into an easy-to-understand report. You’ll need to purchase a membership plan in order to view the report.

Sample report. Actual BeenVerified will contain more or less information.

Navigate to the Ownership History section and you should see the original purchase date, how much the car was purchased for, the number of previous owners the car has had, as well the information on the lien holders.

You can also explore other sections to learn more about the car, such as its titles, maintenance records, and theft records.

A Vehicle History Report is NOT a substitute for an independent vehicle inspection. Before making a decision to purchase a vehicle, users are strongly encouraged to hire a professional mechanic to inspect it and have a test drive.
  1. Understanding an NMVTIS Vehicle History Report. ↩︎

*featured image by senivpetro on Freepik

By Sammi Liu

Greetings! I'm Sammi, and my journey as a content writer began right after graduation. While my initial academic focus was in Public Finance, I later pursued a major in English Literature. This diverse educational background has equipped me with a unique skill set that combines analytical thinking with a passion for creative expression.

My career path has led me to become a proficient content writer with a keen eye for research. Intensive training in Microsoft Office, coupled with a natural curiosity, has allowed me to incorporate design principles and advanced internet search techniques into my work seamlessly.

What truly sets me apart is my knack for research. I've dedicated time to mastering advanced internet search techniques, inspired by countless articles and video tutorials on the subject. This has transformed me into a seasoned researcher, skilled at uncovering reliable and valuable information.

In addition to my professional pursuits, I'm a tech enthusiast who stays current with the latest trends through YouTube. Listening to podcasts of various genres has been a hobby of mine, especially in every morning. I balance my professional life with an active one, enjoying badminton, table tennis, tennis, and yoga. On weekends, you'll find me lost in the pages of books in the local library or soaking in the beauty of nature on bike rides. I'm also passionate about culinary arts, frequently experimenting with recipes and crafting delightful beverages like smoothies.

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