Ad Alert

This site's "free vehicle report" costs money and some of its contents can be found elsewhere at no cost.

When buying a used car it can be helpful to get a vehicle history report with information on a number of potential red flags, such as if the car has ever been taken on a weeklong trip to Vegas but not by any of its previous owners or if any of its previous owners, following bad GPS directions, drove the car straight into a lake, causing significant water damage. Usually these comprehensive reports, which are also referred to as VIN checks, cost money — until now, says one site. calls itself “the free Carfax alternative” and a Google ad for the company under search results for “VIN check” claims consumers can access a “free vehicle report” simply by entering the VIN for the car in question, or vehicle identification number, on the site:

Yet, after we clicked on the ad, entered the 17-digit VIN of a staffer’s (totally rad) station wagon, and hit “View Report,” we were given two options, both of which cost money:


However, consumers need not pay for some of the information VINCheckPro says it may, “when available,” provide in its reports. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for example, has a searchable database where consumers can find out if a vehicle has any safety issues or if a car has been recalled. And the National Insurance Crime Bureau provides information on salvaged vehicles, among other things. And those services are for real for free. reached out to VINCheckPro for comment. Check back for updates.

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