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In the fast-paced realm of automotive sales, ensuring a dependable and reputable vehicle is still a paramount concern for buyers. With the increasing demand for transparency in used car transactions, numerous websites have emerged in the UK, offering free car history checks.

These platforms offer crucial details, such as MOT history, previous ownership, and possible concerns like outstanding finance or past accidents. Presented here is a comprehensive guide to the top 10 free websites in the UK that allow you to check a car's history. This will help you make a safer purchase decision.

Learn more: How to Check the Car Owner in the UK With A Partial License Plate

How to Check A Car History in the U.K - 10 Best Free Websites for the VIN/VRN/MOT
Top 10 Free Websites to Check Car History in the UK

Importance Of Checking Car History

It is essential to thoroughly examine the history of a car before deciding to buy a pre-owned vehicle. By acquiring a thorough report on the vehicle's history, prospective buyers can discover any concealed problems or warning signs that may not be immediately obvious. This information can assist buyers in avoiding the purchase of a car with a troublesome history, such as being previously involved in accidents, stolen, or having unpaid financial obligations.

Having a comprehensive understanding of the car's complete history can bring a sense of calm and confidence, knowing that the vehicle is in excellent shape and has received proper upkeep. Ultimately, conducting a thorough car history check can be a wise move for buyers. It can help them avoid future headaches and financial losses by providing them with the necessary information to make an informed decision when purchasing a used vehicle.

How to Check Car History in the UK

Checking a car's history in the UK is an important step when purchasing a used vehicle, as it helps you avoid common pitfalls such as buying a car with hidden problems. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to conduct a thorough check of a car’s history:

Obtain the Vehicle's Registration Number (VRN)

You'll need the vehicle's registration number, also known as the license plate number, to start your search. This is usually found on the number plate at the front and back of the vehicle.

Use a Reliable Car History Check Service

Several websites offer detailed reports on a car's history. These include:

• GOV.UK: For free, you can access MOT history and tax status. This is a great starting point for checking the vehicle's roadworthiness.

• Autotrader, HPI Check, RAC Car Passport: These services offer more comprehensive data, such as outstanding finance, theft checks, and previous accidents, but usually at a cost.

• Free sites like FreeCarCheck and Total Car Check: These provide basic information for free and offer more detailed reports for a fee.

Check MOT History and Road Tax

Visit the GOV.UK site for free access to the car’s MOT history and current road tax status. This will tell you about past MOT results, including failures, advisory notes, and the mileage recorded at each test, which helps indicate if the car has been clocked (mileage fraud).

Look for Outstanding Finance

Purchasing a vehicle with outstanding finance can be risky. If the previous owner still owes money to the vehicle, it could be repossessed. Paid services can tell you if the vehicle has any outstanding finances.

Verify the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Make sure the VIN on the vehicle matches the one in the documents and the one reported in the car history report. The VIN can be found on the vehicle's chassis or, in some cars, on the dashboard near the windshield.

Check for Insurance Write-offs

If the vehicle has a history, it will show whether an insurance company has written it off due to severe damage or being uneconomically repairable. This is crucial as some write-offs can be legally returned to the road, while others should be scrapped.

Review Previous Ownership

Understanding the number of previous owners can influence your decision. A car with many owners in a short period could be a red flag.

Inspect Accident History

Find out if the vehicle has been involved in any serious accidents that might have caused structural damage that could affect its safety and performance.

Consider a Physical Inspection

For added peace of mind, consider having the vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic. They can identify issues that may not be visible in history reports.

Ask for the Vehicle’s Service History

Request the service book or records from the seller. Regular servicing is a good indicator of a well-maintained vehicle.

Read More: Top 10 Best Car Insurance Companies in UK - Cheapest Quotes

Top 10 Free Websites For Checking A Car History (VIN) In The UK


Some of the top free websites for checking car history in the UK include MOT History Check and HPI Check. Be sure to take advantage of these resources before finalizing your purchase to guarantee a hassle-free transaction and peace of mind on the road ahead.


Website: GOV.UK

Anyone wanting to look up the history of a car can rely on the GOV.UK website. It gives consumers free access to the tax status and MOT history of a car. To confirm that a car is roadworthy and compliant with the law, this official government service is essential. To help you confirm the accuracy of the odometer reading, you can view previous MOT results together with any failures and warning notes as well as the mileage at each test.

2. Autotrader Vehicle Check

Website: Autotrader Vehicle Check

Autotrader offers a vehicle history checking service that provides a basic overview of a car’s history for free, which includes details like MOT history and the vehicle's age and mileage. For those requiring more comprehensive information, such as outstanding finance or whether the car was previously stolen, there is a fee-based service. This is a great tool for buyers wanting a quick check before diving deeper into a potential purchase.

3. Total Car Check

Website: Total Car Check

Total Car Check provides users with access to basic information about a vehicle for free, including details like the vehicle's age and MOT due dates. They also offer more detailed reports for a fee, which cover additional vital information including insurance write-off history, stolen vehicle checks, and outstanding finance. This website is suitable for buyers who are on the fence about a vehicle and need some preliminary information before proceeding with a more detailed paid report.

4. CarTaxCheck

Website: CarTaxCheck

CarTaxCheck allows users to quickly obtain free information regarding a car's MOT history and basic specifications. Their website is user-friendly and geared towards those who need quick answers about a vehicle’s tax and MOT status. For a comprehensive analysis, including information on previous accidents or any potential security interests, they offer detailed reports at a cost.

5. HPI Check

HPI Check
HPI Check

Website: HPI Check

HPI Check is one of the most well-known services in the UK for comprehensive vehicle history checks. While their primary service is paid, they offer a basic free check that provides essential information such as vehicle identification and MOT status. For a fee, their full reports include detailed checks on outstanding finance, stolen status, insurance write-offs, and mileage discrepancies. This service is highly recommended for buyers who want thorough documentation before making a purchase.

6. Cazana

Website: Cazana

Cazana offers a unique approach by providing comprehensive vehicle history checks that include not just the UK, but also international data where available. Their free service covers basic details such as age, mileage, and export status. They also offer a paid service for more in-depth reports, which include ownership history and whether the car has been used for commercial purposes, like taxi or rental.

7. CarAnalytics

Website: CarAnalytics

CarAnalytics provides users with a free basic vehicle report that includes information on MOT history and tax status. For those who need more detailed insights, their premium services cover areas such as previous owners, accident history, and outstanding finance. This service is ideal for users who need a quick initial check with the option to delve deeper if the vehicle shows potential issues.

8. MyCarCheck


Website: MyCarCheck

MyCarCheck allows users to obtain a free basic report that includes information such as vehicle make, model, and MOT history. For more comprehensive data, including previous accidents and detailed ownership history, they offer a paid service. This site is very useful for buyers who want initial facts at no cost with the option to upgrade for detailed insights.

9. RAC Car Passport

Website: RAC Car Passport

One of the most reputable motoring organizations in the UK, RAC Car Passport, offers a free basic vehicle history check that includes crucial information like vehicle identification and MOT data. Their full report, which requires a fee, is comprehensive and includes checks for stolen status, outstanding finance, and insurance write-offs. This service is a good choice for buyers who value the backing of a renowned motoring brand.

10. FreeCarCheck

Website: FreeCarCheck

Though its name implies that all services are free, FreeCarCheck provides a combination of free and paid services. Basic information including the MOT history and vehicle identification are provided by the free check. They charge for more in-depth reports that include financial checks and insurance write-offs. Buyers who prefer a quick first look before deciding on a more thorough investigation will find this website useful.

Conclusion: Choosing the Right Tool for You

While some of these services offer similar basic information at no cost, there may be variations in the quality and quantity of the data provided. Customers are encouraged to start with these complimentary checks and, particularly when dealing with a significant investment, consider obtaining a paid report for more comprehensive information. Utilizing these resources effectively can protect you from purchasing a vehicle with hidden problems, providing you with peace of mind during what can be a daunting process.

Ultimately, offering these complimentary services is crucial for fostering transparency in the pre-owned automobile industry and aiding buyers in making informed and safe choices when it comes to their vehicles. No matter how much you know about cars, these websites can offer valuable information about your potential next vehicle.

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