Carfax Reports vs Autocheck Reports

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Used car lot

When you're purchasing a used car, should you get a Carfax report or an Autocheck report? Image from Flickr.

Purchasing a used car can be a very nerve-wracking and difficult process – but Carfax or Autocheck reports can help make the process easier. Nowadays, a vehicle history report is a standard tool in used car shopping. So which should you get – a Carfax Report or Autocheck report?

What is included in vehicle history reports

A full vehicle history report should include a few major elements. Lemon check, a report that lets you know if a vehicle has major mechanical problems, is very important. A clear history of registration and titling of the vehicle is also important – big gaps in the history raise red flags. Odometer rollback, accidents, and salvage titles should also be a part of the vehicle history report.

Why a Carfax report may be better

Carfax reports have been around since about 1984. A Carfax report comes in two flavors – a free report that tells you the basics of vehicle history, and a full, paid report. Many times, car lot or pre-owned vehicle salespeople will provide a free Carfax report for any vehicle they sell. With partnerships with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, NHTSA and J.D. Power and Associates, Carfax is a well-known and well-respected vehicle history report provider.

Why an Autocheck report may be better

Autocheck is a relatively new service owned by Experian, an agency better known for providing credit reports. A 2009 market study found that Autocheck reports tend to report about twice the number of accidents as Carfax reports. Autofax also provides more vehicle history reports about cars from automotive auctions. The free Autocheck report provides about the same information as the free Carfax report.

Should I get Carfax or Autocheck reports?

Both Carfax and Autocheck are relatively well-credentialed and well-respected vehicle history report providers. If you are not sure which type of vehicle report you should get, you should use the free reports from both Carfax and Autocheck. If your used-car dealer provides a free full report from either one of these providers, that is the ideal situation. If you are paying for your own vehicle history report, then either one is a reliable option.


  1. Don Pepe on

    AutoCheck will suspend service if you use too many searches under their " unlimited reports" since they characterized it as commercial – it take a lot of persuatiob and is not worth it – they may be cheaper but also their reports are incomplete lising salvage branding but give no reports explaining how / event leading the vehice to that point

  2. Chris on

    I bought their service when I was looking to buy a used car. I found one and their report showed the car to be free of any discrepancies or accidents. When a dealer ran the VIN with Carfax, an accident showed up and he immediately offered thousands less for my car. When I confronted Autocheck, it took countless emails and phone calls to find out they could care less. Their customer service is basically non-existent and their guarantee is a joke. I would never recommend this service to anyone. A company that will not stand behind their product is useless.