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Car History Check

Enter the vehicle registration to get a car history history check.


A full vehicle history check includes a £30k data guarantee, logbook loans check and outstanding finance check.

What is a car history check and how can it protect you from hidden problems when buying a used car?

What is a car history check?

A car history check is a report that combines data from multiple sources to provide an overview of the history of a vehicle. This usually includes data from the DVLA, Police, Insurers and finance companies which can be used to highlight potential issues with a used vehicle before you buy it.

After payment, you’ll be able to access the report online or in the form of PDF document and get an overall picture of the vehicles history in minutes. There are also some manual checks that you should complete, like checking the VIN number is correct, which is important to help avoid buying a cloned vehicle.

How do you check the history of a car?

You’ll just need the vehicle registration to buy a car history check. It’s also handy if you have the full VIN as it allows you to complete extra checks, but you won’t need this to access the report.

After searching for the vehicle using the number plate, you’ll see a few basic details such as the make, model and colour which will allow you to confirm you’ve got the right vehicle.

You can then complete the purchase and access the full report in minutes.

Step 1: Enter the vehicle registration
Step 2: Confirm the vehicle details are correct
Step 3: Purchase the check to access the full report
Step 4: Review the data returned and use this to aid in the purchasing

How do I choose a car history check provider?

When choosing a car history check provider, you should consider the following:

Which data checks are included?

Some services offer different levels of checks, so it’s important to make sure you’re fully covered.

Some cheaper checks will not check for outstanding finance. This could mean you inadvertently end up buying a car with an outstanding finance agreement in place, leading to a lot of hassle or even losing the vehicle.


The price of car history checks ranges from as low as £1.99 for basic checks, all the way up to £19.99 for a full check with some companies.

Again, the main consideration here is what data checks are included and which data sources are being used. Some checks may only include mileage data from MOT readings, while others will also check additional data from the DVLA, leasing companies and dealerships which can provide a higher level of protection.

Data Guarantee

A data guarantee can provide additional protection when buying a car history check. The level of protection varies by service, so it’s important to read the terms and conditions to understand this fully.

Full Car History Checks purchased from Car Tax Check include a data guarantee as detailed in our terms and conditions.


Looking at reviews for car history check providers is a great way to get an idea of the level of service. It’s important to look at trusted review sites like Trustpilot which verify user reviews meaning you’re less likely to be seeing fake or paid for reviews.

Is it worth buying a car history check?

What are the risks of not buying a car history check?

In the unfortunate event that you end up buying a vehicle with a hidden history, it could lead to one of the following outcomes:

The vehicle resale value is affected, meaning you’ve paid more than you should have and will likely get a lower price than expected if you decide to sell on the vehicle at a later date.
You could end up with a lot of hassle in resolving issues or proving that you have purchased a valid title to the vehicle.
You may lose the vehicle altogether if it turns out it’s stolen or has outstanding finance.

How many cars are affected by a hidden history?

Nearly half of all checks completed on Car Tax Check highlight one or more issues.

Last month, out of all vehicles checked on Car Tax Check:

1 in 5 vehicles checked were written off
1 in 10 vehicles showed outstanding finance
12% of vehicles had a mileage discrepancy

When buying a car history check from this service, you’ll see one of three results displayed at the top of the report:


This means no issues were found that require further attention. It’s still important to look over the vehicle in person though as some issues, such as mechanical defects can only be identified with a physical inspection.


This means that there are a few data checks that highlighted some possible issues. It’s important in this case to look at this and investigate further to decide if you should continue with the purchase. For example, a plate change could just mean that someone’s added a private plate in the past, but it’s important to confirm the identity of the vehicle to make sure that this isn’t being used to cover up a hidden history.


This means that serious issues were found with the history of the vehicle, for example it has a finance agreement or has been written off in the past. This doesn’t necessary mean that you should completely walk away from the purchase, but you should be really careful to resolve any issues first and be aware of the possible implications of the history check markers. For example, a written off vehicle will likely have a lower resale value or could be more expensive to insure.

We’d recommend being very cautious if you decided to purchase a vehicle with a fail marker and do your research first.

What doesn’t a car history check protect you against?

A car history check is a great tool for spotting issues, but it’s important to combine this with a test drive and further inspection before making the decision to go ahead with a used car purchase.

Mechanical defects

A car history check won’t highlight any mechanical issues with the vehicle. These can only be identified with a good inspection of the vehicle in person.

If you’re not confident doing this yourself, there are a number of companies offering pre-purchase inspections such as the AA vehicle inspection service.

Damage to the vehicle that’s not recorded by an insurer

When a vehicle is involved in an accident or damaged to a degree that results in the vehicle being written off, it’s recorded in the MIAFTR database. This is a database that’s used by insurers to record written off and stolen vehicles. These markers will then show up on any future history reports.

If the damage is more minor (or even if the damage is serious but the owner doesn’t report it to their insurer), then there will be no written off marker to display. For this reason, we’d always recommend a thorough pre-purchase inspection to check for any signs of badly repaired damage or other issues that could affect the vehicle.

What are the benefits of a car history check?

Buying a car history check is a really simple way to protect yourself against a range of potential issues when buying a used vehicle. It can be purchased in minutes and instantly gives you access to a wide range of data about your potential purchase.

It can avoid many costly and time consuming problems that can be a huge hassle to resolve. For the price of £9.99, it really can help to avoid a range of issues and give you confidence in purchasing a used vehicle.

Do I need to pay for a car history check?

What’s the difference between free and paid car history checks?

There are a number of costs involved in completing a full car history check. Many of the data sources require payment to access, meaning that if someones offering a free car car history check service, then it’s very unlikely to be as in depth as a paid one.

Many free car history check services will provide basic information such as the MOT history and other publicly available data, but won’t complete many important checks that can prevent you buying a stolen or written off vehicle. It’s also very unlikely that there will be any sort of data guarantee.

Our pricing page provides a simple comparison of the different features provided in our free, partial and full checks.

What are the next steps after buying a car history check?

After buying a car history check, you should review the report carefully and see if you need to investigate any of the data fields further.

It’s also important to check the VIN, Engine Number of V5C dates on the report match up with the vehicle you are buying. Completing these checks can help to avoid buying a cloned vehicle, where someone has put a fake plate on it in an attempt to hide the fact that it is stolen.

After this, we’d advise a good physical inspection and test drive of the vehicle to ensure everything is in order and allow you to spot any potential issues that would not be highlighted by the report.

How much does it cost to check the history of a car?

We currently offer 3 levels of vehicle check:

Free car check
Partial check for £2.99
Full check for £9.99

A full comparison of the different levels of check is included in our pricing page.

We also offer discounted rates if you choose to buy multiple checks. You’ll receive a code that can be used any time in the next year, so you won’t need to use all of the checks straight away.

Common terms used in car history checks

The following terms may vary slightly depending on the company you use to complete a history check, but in many cases they provide the same data:

Outstanding Finance Check

Check for any finance agreements that are currently secured against the vehicle. This returns details of any finance companies that have an interest in the vehicle.

Written Off Check

Check if the vehicle has been written off by an insurer and see which category marker was added to the vehicle.

Stolen Check

Check if a vehicle is reported stolen by Police or Insurers. We also offer a free stolen check, however this only includes a check of the PNC database and doesn’t include any data guarantee, so we’d still advise buying a full check.

Mileage check

Check mileage records to highlight any discrepancies. A drop in mileage can be due to a mistake in how the mileage was recorded, or a deliberate attempt to ‘clock’ the vehicle and make the mileage appear lower that it is.

Ready to buy a Car History Check?

Enter your vehicle registration to get a car history check.