Vehicle history report

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A vehicle history report in the United States contains important information about a used vehicle’s past. These reports generally show title records from each state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), along with salvage and insurance total loss records and accident records. This information is useful for buyers when choosing among used vehicles, as it can indicate issues with the vehicle’s safety and value. Additional information in a vehicle history report are ownership changes, and vehicle details decoded from the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) such as year, make, model, and odometer history.

Vehicle history reports are typically available online from several sources. Vehicle history reports are available for automobiles including light trucks and SUVs, motorcycles, recreational vehicles (RVs) and pre-1981 classic cars.

Vehicle history reports[edit]

Before purchasing a used vehicle, potential buyers often consider the purchase of vehicle history and title reports and salvage check reports to understand a vehicle’s background history. Users are generally interested in whether a vehicle that is being considered for purchase has been in a severe accident, had its odometer rolled back or has lemon history. Sellers of vehicles also check the history of their vehicle prior to listing for sale so they are prepared to answer questions to the condition of the vehicle or history events. Individual buyers usually buy these reports from either,, or

Dealers often obtain these reports that provide a detailed background on the used vehicle to show their customers. Dealers also run reports prior to acquiring vehicles at auction or from trade-ins to help insure they pay a fair market value. Vehicle prices may be adjusted due to history events on any particular vehicle.

A vehicle history report provides information and often detailed records associated with a vehicle’s unique serial number or VIN.

Items that can be included in a vehicle history and title report
Item Description
Title information Shows if the vehicle has been reported to have been issued a negative title “brand” like salvage or junk that often come with severe accidents
Number of titles Shows the reported ownership history and the possible ownership changes
States of title Provides the states that the vehicle has been reported titled or registered in previously
Salvage or junk information from titles or other sources Shows if the vehicle has been reported as a salvage vehicle by a state or has been reported at auction or junk yard
DMV-reported odometer problems Shows when the vehicle has been reported to having had its odometer rolled back or broken
Lemon history Shows if the vehicle has a been reported as a lemon
Insurance total loss information Shows if the vehicle has been reported as a total loss by an insurance company
Auction history Lets the buyer know if it has been reported at an auto auction
Accident history Shows if the vehicle has been in a reported accident or has sustained damage
Air bag deployment Shows whether or not the vehicle’s airbag has been reported as deployed
Mileage readings Lists the odometer readings that have been reported for the vehicle
Service records Shows any reported service information
State emission inspection results Shows the results of a state inspection or emission results as reported by the state
Warranty or service contract availability Shows whether or not the vehicle has been covered by warranty or service contract

A salvage and VIN check report are abbreviated versions of a vehicle history and title report, which helps consumers understand the severity reported damage associated with a vehicle. It identifies the reported title brands such as salvage or junk, or whether the vehicle has been reported a total loss by an insurance company. These reports can be obtained for passenger cars and light trucks, as well as motorcycles, RVs, heavy trucks, and classic cars.

Vehicle History and Title Report data is gathered from multiple sources including State Departments of Motor Vehicles, automotive auctions, fire and police departments, salvage auctions, rental agencies, automotive recyclers, insurance companies, state inspection stations, manufacturers, and car dealerships.

To obtain a vehicle history and title report, a potential buyer can go online to a reporting service provider and purchase a full report. Some services also offer a lower cost option for a salvage and VIN check report, which has just the major damage history. Salvage and VIN check reports can be accessed online from a number of companies, at varying cost. Used car dealers often provide a report upon request for a specific vehicle as part of the selling process. Consumers can check the validity and date of these reports by running their own report and comparing the results. Old reports may not contain the latest history as the reports are time sensitive. Typically, a consumer is most interested in whether or not the vehicle has been in a severe accident or has been branded as salvage, junk or totaled.

National Motor Vehicle Title Information System[edit]

The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) is a program of the U.S. Department of Justice intended to keep and protect consumers from fraud and unsafe vehicles. AAMVA (American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators) operates the system now.[1] Federal Law has mandated businesses and agencies such as Insurance Carriers, State Motor Vehicle Tilting Agencies, Auto Recyclers and Junk/Salvage Yards to regularly report to NMVTIS. NMVTIS refers the public to a list of approved private vendors who sell vehicle reports from the NMVTIS database.[2]

NMVTIS contains title information from states as well as information from insurance carriers, auto recyclers and junk and salvage yards, including over 75 million salvage or total loss records. As of 2014, 96% of US DMV data is represented in the system. NMVTIS offers consumer access to vehicle history information such as a vehicle's current state of title and title issue dates, previous states of title, odometer readings recorded at the time of title issuance, as well as title brands and junk, salvage and total loss records.


  1. ^ "". American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  2. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. Retrieved 14 January 2016.