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Published May 03, 2021

AutoCheck vs. CarFax: Main differences between vehicle history reports

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If you are planning to buy a used car, EchoPark helps you make an informed decision by getting you records on a used car's history.

Currently, the leading companies that use various data sources to supply comprehensive vehicle history reports are AutoCheck and CarFax.

What’s in a vehicle history report?

A vehicle history report is a document that details past information about a used vehicle. Operating under the US Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) provides data to approved companies that offer vehicle history reports. Such reports contain the following:

  • Previous owners
  • Accident history
  • Original sale information
  • Odometer readings
  • Structural damages
  • Service and maintenance records
Possible shortcomings

Although crucial in car buying and car dealerships, a vehicle history report might not always be accurate and complete. If a previous owner repaired their car without notifying their insurance company, the report might not include the damage.

Similarly, if a body shop doesn’t document a repair, this information might not appear in the report. It should be considered a red flag if your car dealer fails to provide an updated vehicle history report.

Main differences between AutoCheck and CarFax

With a vehicle identification number (VIN), AutoCheck and CarFax can easily prepare a vehicle history report. Unlike CarFax, AutoCheck has access to large auctions in the country, allowing the company to provide auction data in its report. AutoCheck also allows subscribers to run up to 300 reports from their computers or smartphones.

Meanwhile, CarFax has a Buyback Guarantee for second-hand car buyers, promising that the company is ready to buy the used car back from you if it makes a mistake on an issued vehicle history report. CarFax also prepares service and maintenance records, which are not included in AutoCheck reports.

Compared to AutoCheck, CarFax also provides a more comprehensive accident history. This is why EchoPark® chooses to trust CarFax to provide vehicle history reports for customers.

CarFax Overview

At CarFax, a vehicle history report costs $39.99. The company offers deals for three reports for $59.99 and six reports for $99.99.

Most dealer websites offer free vehicle history reports from CarFax. The free version includes the same vehicle history information that is available for purchase on CarFax’s website.

Every car listed for sale on the CarFax website also comes with a free vehicle history report. You can also request a free CarFax report from private sellers.

Although it contains the same information in a paid report, a free CarFax report does not have information on any existing or potential issue of a vehicle.

What's covered?
  1. Title information
  2. With a report from CarFax, you will discover if the car has a junk, flood, a branded title, or a salvage title. The report also indicates whether the vehicle was a part of a commercial fleet.

  3. Service and maintenance records
  4. CarFax provides service and maintenance information in its vehicle history report, using data from over 100,000 sources, including every US and Canadian provincial motor vehicle agency.

    The company also uses data from less common sources, like auto auctions, police departments, fire departments and collision repair shops.

  5. Ownership info
  6. The company also reports ownership details, including transfer information. These records also reveal if a vehicle is or has been stolen.

  7. Inspections and repairs
  8. CarFax provides information on when and where an inspection took place and whether the car passed or failed the inspection. A CarFax report also details vehicle repairs and recalls.

  9. Accident history
  10. CarFax also provides information about severe accidents. The company offers customers the largest database of accident reports that may not be available elsewhere.

Key Benefits of CarFax Reports

  • You can receive free CarFax reports through private sellers and dealer websites, like EchoPark.
  • The company’s vehicle history report includes maintenance and service records.
  • CarFax offers a Buyback Guarantee and open recalls information. CarFax also has an odometer fraud check to protect you from odometer rollback fraud.
  • CarFax can gather total loss data from any insurance company to help you determine accidents that may not have resulted in salvage titles or junk titles.
AutoCheck report pros

A vehicle history report from AutoCheck costs $24.99. The company also has plans that offer 25 reports in 21 days for $49.99 and 300 reports in 21 days for $99.99.

With a VIN or license plate details, you can check vehicle history report scores on the company’s website for free. AutoCheck’s scoring system is one of its most notable features. The company assigns a numerical score to each vehicle to measure how well the vehicle stacks up against other cars within its range.

The scoring system isn’t based on zero to 100, but on the score range of cars similar to the one under evaluation. However, this feature isn’t completely reliable. The scale can be confusing and AutoCheck doesn’t explain how it determines the numbers on the scale.

What's covered?
  1. Auction data
  2. AutoCheck has exclusive access to large auctions in the US, allowing them to provide a comprehensive history of used cars.

  3. AutoCheck score
  4. The company also has a unique scoring system to help buyers evaluate the quality of vehicles.

  5. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data
  6. The company’s vehicle history reports include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data that may be associated with the vehicle. This information can help you determine if the car you want has passed safety standards

  7. Frequent problem area checks
  8. AutoCheck includes scrapping, junking and other damages to a vehicle, such as fire, hail or water damage, in its report.

Key benefits of AutoCheck reports
  • AutoCheck, an Experian-owned company, has exclusive access to US auctions, allowing them to provide auction data in reports.
  • AutoCheck vehicle history reports have a score for cars to indicate product quality.
  • The company also offers a Buyback Protection policy that will compensate you if there’s a mistake in the vehicle history report for your purchased car.
  • AutoCheck reports structural damage, odometer readings and accident history.
  • The company’s reports contain information from NHTSA, including branded title data.
Should buyers get both reports?

For your peace of mind, you can always get reports from AutoCheck and CarFax if you have enough funds to do so.

To save you from visiting several car lots to get information on similar vehicles, AutoCheck might be helpful because it allows you to compare 300 vehicle history reports for one price.

Meanwhile, CarFax can provide you with a comprehensive vehicle history report, including a free but less detailed, version.

Are there alternatives to CarFax and AutoCheck?

CarFax and AutoCheck are the most prominent sources of vehicle history reports.

CarFax has been providing vehicle history reports since the 1980s. AutoCheck has connections to various industry leaders, including Edmunds and eBay Motors.

However, if you are looking for other options, you can visit NMVTIS’s website.

The website serves as a database of vehicle information and records for car buyers in the US. Vehicle history reports are available on the website for $10.

However, the system offers less information and data compared to CarFax and AutoCheck. If you are looking for detailed records, a CarFax or AutoCheck report is a worthy investment.

Which report is more reliable?

Both CarFax and AutoCheck provide reliable and accurate vehicle history reports.

A single report from CarFax can be a huge help to potential buyers because the company’s reports are filled with relevant information, including accident history, ownership history and other relevant data.

AutoCheck and its connections to industry leaders, including used-car retailer CarMax, can also help potential buyers by providing unique information, like auction data and AutoCheck scores.

However, CarFax provides more comprehensive and more detailed information in its reports compared to AutoCheck.

In some cases, CarFax discovers ownership and accident information that AutoCheck doesn’t.

Do car dealers typically use AutoCheck or CarFax?

You can get a vehicle history report through a VIN check on CarFax or AutoCheck’s website.

However, the most reliable used-car dealers, EchoPark® included, choose CarFax.

EchoPark has partnered with CarFax because the company has been delivering the best possible vehicle history reports since the 1980s, including maintenance and service history.

Both companies are committed to giving the best service possible, ensuring that prospective buyers get their money’s worth for any used car.

Want to learn more?

Chat with us or learn more about EchoPark.

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