Thousands of cars were damaged or destroyed by the September 2017 U.S. hurricanes. Vehicle history reports for a replacement vehicle’s VIN (17 character Vehicle Identification Number) should be reviewed before purchase.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that hundreds of thousands of vehicles are sold each year with mileage odometer readings fraudulently rolled back. This fraud can sometimes be detected by reading the vehicle history reports over time. Vehicles older than 10 years may be exempt from odometer tampering laws. CarFax offers a free online tool to check if odometer fraud was reported.
Some of the free and paid sites available to verify vehicle history and check recalls include:
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety recalls
- Safercar.gov Recalls Lookup by VIN
- National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) VINCheck service
- National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) which also has some vehicle history reports that are cheaper but less detailed than those of popular car history sites such as AutoCheck and CarFax.
- CarFax Free Flood Check for VIN (CarFax account setup required)
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) vehicle ratings
- Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) Car Buyer resources
Vehicle buyers may also check VIN data at their local state’s Department of Motor Vehicles site.