How Much Is a Carfax Report

When considering the purchase of a used car, getting a comprehensive history of the vehicle is crucial to make an informed decision. One of the most well-known resources for this is a CARFAX report. These reports provide detailed information about a vehicle’s past, including previous ownership, accident history, mileage, and service records. Understanding the cost and procurement process for a CARFAX report can save you time and help you assess the true value and condition of the car you are looking to buy. Let’s explore the various ways to obtain a CARFAX report and the costs associated with each option.

how much is a carfax report

Direct Purchase from CARFAX

One direct way to obtain a CARFAX report is by purchasing it from the official CARFAX website. They offer different pricing options for single reports or multiple reports if you are considering several vehicles.


  1. Visit the official CARFAX website.
  2. Enter the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or the license plate number and the state of the used car you’re interested in.
  3. Select the report option that suits your needs.
  4. Proceed to checkout, where you’ll be prompted to enter payment details.
  5. After the purchase is completed, you’ll have immediate access to the report online.

Purchasing directly from CARFAX is straightforward and secure. You get instant access to the report, ensuring the most current data is available. The downside is the cost, as it might be higher than other methods or services that offer vehicle history reports.

Dealership Provided Reports

Many car dealerships provide a free CARFAX report for vehicles in their inventory. This is especially common with certified pre-owned cars.


  1. Ask the dealership if they offer complimentary CARFAX reports.
  2. If available, request a report for the specific vehicle you’re interested in.
  3. Review the report provided by the dealership thoroughly.

Receiving a report from the dealership is convenient and cost-effective. However, be mindful that dealerships might only provide reports for some of their inventory, and there’s a chance the report might not be as up-to-date as one obtained directly from CARFAX.

Third-party Vendors

Some websites and third-party services purchase CARFAX reports in bulk and offer them at discounted rates or include them as part of their services.


  1. Research reputable third-party vendors that offer CARFAX reports.
  2. Compare prices and reviews to ensure you’re getting a good deal.
  3. Purchase the report through their platform.

Third-party vendors can offer more attractive pricing, but be cautious of the legitimacy of these services. Some may not provide the most current information or may be unreliable.

Subscription Services

CARFAX offers subscription packages that give you access to a set number of reports over a specific period, ideal for those looking at multiple vehicles.


  1. Determine if a subscription service would be cost-effective for your needs.
  2. Visit the CARFAX website to subscribe to a package.
  3. Use the reports within the time frame specified.

Subscription packages can provide significant savings if multiple reports are needed. However, if you don’t use all the reports, it could be a wasted expense.

Free Options

Some online platforms might offer free access to a limited version of a CARFAX report or provide the option to pay for a full report.


  1. Look for legitimate websites that advertise free CARFAX reports.
  2. Ensure their sources are reliable and the information is complete.
  3. Take advantage of the free data while being aware of the limitations.

Free reports are great for saving money but might not contain all the comprehensive details found in a full report.

Check with Your Bank or Insurance Company

Banks and insurance companies sometimes provide CARFAX reports as part of their services when you finance or insure a vehicle through them.


  1. Contact your bank or insurance provider to inquire if they offer this service.
  2. Follow their process to obtain the report.

This method provides added value to the services you’re already using. The downside is that the availability of this option is not widespread.

Mobile Apps

Some mobile apps can provide CARFAX reports directly to your phone, sometimes at a lower cost than purchasing through the website.


  1. Find and download a reputable car history report app.
  2. Purchase the report through the app.

The convenience of having a report on your mobile device is beneficial. Just be aware of the cost and ensure the app is reputable.

Online Marketplaces

Sometimes, online car marketplaces like AutoTrader or will provide a free CARFAX report for vehicles listed on their platform.


  1. Search for the car you’re interested in on these platforms.
  2. Look for an option to view or request a CARFAX report.

This is a convenient and cost-effective method, as long as the report is up-to-date and the car you’re interested in is listed on such a site.

CARFAX Report Giveaways

Keep an eye out for promotions or giveaways from automotive websites or forums that might offer free CARFAX reports.


  1. Regularly visit automotive forums and websites.
  2. Participate in any promotions or giveaways.
  3. Follow the instructions provided to claim your free report.

Though infrequent, such opportunities are cost-effective. The potential downside is the time invested and the uncertainty of actually securing a free report.

Negotiate with the Seller

Individual sellers may be willing to provide a CARFAX report as part of the sale negotiation.


  1. During discussions, ask the seller if they can provide a report.
  2. Negotiate this as part of the vehicle purchase agreement.

This can be a simple way to get a report if the seller is cooperative and sees the benefit of providing one. The downside is that it depends entirely on the seller’s willingness.

Acquiring a CARFAX report can be done in several ways, each with its benefits and potential drawbacks. It’s important to consider your individual needs, whether you’re evaluating a single vehicle or multiple options, and how much you’re willing to spend. By understanding the different avenues to obtaining a CARFAX report, you can choose the method that best aligns with your car-buying strategy, ensuring you have all the information needed to make a sound purchase.


  1. Can I get a CARFAX report for free?
    Yes, there are certain situations where you can get a CARFAX report for free, such as from a dealership for a car in their inventory, via some online marketplaces, or through promotions.

  2. What is included in a CARFAX report?
    A CARFAX report typically includes a vehicle’s history, including accident and damage history, service records, ownership history, and odometer readings.

  3. How reliable are CARFAX reports?
    CARFAX reports are generally reliable and are sourced from numerous databases. However, they may not include every event in a car’s history, particularly if an incident wasn’t reported or recorded in a database.

  4. Can I get a refund if the CARFAX report was incorrect?
    CARFAX has a buyback guarantee that may provide recourse if you purchase a vehicle based on an incorrect report, but terms and conditions apply.

  5. How many times can I use a CARFAX report?
    When you purchase a CARFAX report, you typically have unlimited access to view it online, but it’s specific to one VIN. Subscriptions offer multiple reports over a set time.

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