We know that getting a comprehensive vehicle history report is going to cost money; unless we get it through a dealer, or through law-enforcement. The cost is fairly reasonable in many cases, but you can find a lot of information about a prospective auto, truck, SUV or other vehicle for free; simply by doing some quick online research. Within a half-hour, you can pull together quite a lot of information about vehicles.
Some of the information will be VIN specific; other of it will be specific to make, model, and year of the particular vehicle.
Simply type a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) into your search engine's search field and hit the "Enter" key. You will get a list of "hits"; though probably not more than a page or two. You can click on most any of those links; most likely CarFax, AutoCheck, VinHistory, and a few other vehicle history report providers. What you will get there, for free, is a minimum of information; such as actual build year (sometimes model years take on 'gray areas', and dealers might advertise a vehicle as newer than it actually is); how many records are available (which cost money to get); and a few other interesting tidbits. Poke around these sites; you might also be able to learn some things about recalls, or other make/model/year related information. Print or save any of the pages you find anything of real value; to help you learn all you can about a prospective vehicle purchase.
Visit government sites that deal with motor vehicle safety. Sites like the NHTSA (National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration), where you can learn a lot about safety, recalls, defect information, and more; based on make/model/year, not VIN specific. This kind of information can be invaluable, and can shed light on some important issues. Well worth the site visit; and, again, print or save whatever you think is important for your purposes.
Visit the D.O.E. (Department of Energy) website, also; where you can learn about fuel economy, tax incentives, and more; based on make/model/year, not VIN specific. Once again though, such information is always useful when considering a major purchase such as a vehicle.
Visit the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) website, also. Type "vehicles" in the search box on that site; hit "Enter"; you'll come up with numerous links to interesting and useful articles, data, and other good information about vehicles in general. The FTC provides tips on buying used cars, alternative fuels, vehicle maintenance, and much more.
Finalize your report:
Clearly, there are numerous other websites you could visit to glean even more useful vehicle information, to help you in your vehicle purchase experience. Of course, the information gathered through these steps is apt to lean toward make/model/year characteristics, and not VIN specific. That does not mean this information is not beneficial; it certainly is.
Once you've gathered enough information to satisfy your particular needs, and have printed the pages you thought were especially informative and helpful, simply staple the pages together, or place them into a "report folder"; and voila(!) you have your free vehicle (history?) report! Not so much actual "history", but truly a lot of good and useful information.
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