Reading Vehicle History Reports Properly

When looking for a used or preowned car, one of the first considerations many of us have is attempting to find out all the historical details of the car in question. We naturally want to know the specifics of how the car has been treated in the past – what maintenance it’s undergone or may need, plus any specific issues it may have.

At Auction Direct USA, we’ll help you with methods of obtaining this information. For many people, online resources like CARFAX or AutoCheck are the best way to do this. Both offer a number of different bits of information about vehicle history that can be vital while searching through used cars. Let’s take a look at how to go about reading and interpreting various elements of one of these reports.

Previous Ownership

These reports will give you a history of ownership, which allows you to verify how many people have owned the car and where it has been registered in the past. It will tell you if previous owners have been individuals, or whether they’ve been government, corporate, rental or for other purposes.


The title is vital – you don’t want to look at the report and see that it’s still owned by a bank or lender. You also want to be sure it’s never had a salvaged or branded title, which could essentially mean the car is unfit to drive.

Service Records

This isn’t always the case, but CARFAX will often show service records for vehicles. Any negative information will usually be highlighted in these cases, making it easier to note. Do remember that these reports can only use the information that was given to them – they may be incomplete, especially if the car has had multiple owners.


A history report is a good way to check on mileage, as this will be recorded after every historical event for the car. A red flag here might include a mileage report that doesn’t rise in sequence – this could be a sign that the odometer has been hacked. In addition, a car that was owned for many years but added very few miles could mean that the car sat for long periods of time, or that the odometer was rolled back.

Other Issues

Other issues these reports may find include accidents, airbag deployments, and anything else that may indicate significant damage in the vehicle’s history. If you notice any of these red flags, ensure you get a satisfactory explanation before proceeding further.

Want to learn more about reading an online vehicle history report, or interested in our wide selection of used cars? Speak to the experts at Auction Direct USA today.