How Can I Get A Car History Check? Explained

Car history checks are incredibly important to run when you are about to purchase a used car. Whilst you understand the importance of a vehicle history check you probably would like to know what some of the checks include and why they are important.

Below we will explain what some of the advanced car history checkers provide in terms of data and what it means to you.

Mileage Anomaly/Tampering

The value of a car is generally determined by the physical appearance, the mechanics of the car, and the mileage. Because of the direct relation to the value of the car you need to ensure there is no mileage anomaly alert of the car. Running a vehicle check ensures you can see for yourself if there are any mileage anomalies and issues plus, most checks will automatically alert you to any mileage related issues.

This important car check will help you to dig deeper to find out some more information as there could be a genuine reason for the mileage change. You need to ask questions around this but be vigilant with making a final decision when a car has a mileage anomaly alert.

Outstanding Finance

If you happen to be looking at buying a relatively new used car, around 3 years old for example, then there is a chance it once had finance or may still have finance with outstanding payments left. An outstanding car finance check is generally run with Experian which is a 3rd party data provider.

The data that is included with an outstanding finance check will include:

  • Agreement type
  • Agreement number
  • Date of contract
  • Supplying finance company
  • If applicable – direct contact information

Now if the vehicle has outstanding finance you then need to walk away from it. The issue with outstanding finance is that the company which owns the vehicle will likely try to recover the car. The reason being that the finance contract still stands and needs to have all payments fulfilled. Unfortunately, if you buy a car still on finance then you will need to give it back, with no compensation being reimbursed to you. This is not a pleasant experience and ultimately will cost you a lot in the long run.

Theft/Stolen Car

Checking if a car has been stolen will pull data from the Motor Insurance Database and the Police National Computer (PNC) to look for any occurrences when the car was reported as stolen and if it currently is. This is an important check that needs to be run when looking at buying a used car.

If you are found with a stolen car you will inevitably have to proof that you never know it was stolen, you will inevitably lose the car and ultimately have to spend wasted time on confirming that you never knew the car was stolen. Getting a car check that provides this check instantly minimises the level of stress you will have at a later date if it turns out things are not as it should with the car.

Insurance Write-Off

An insurance write-off means the car was considered too expensive to repair in comparison to the value of the car itself. This check will go through the MIAFTER database to see if there have been any reports of the car as a write-off.

You need to know that there are a number of write-off categories which includes: A, B, C, D, S and N with the date too. Knowing if the car has been written-off will help to determine the true value and if it is safe to drive. A written-off car can be a hazard to yourself and people around you on the road, plus it can get expensive if things were not repaired properly.

Additional Data


This tells you if the vehicle has been legally scrapped which is only done by DVLA accepted salvage yards with a Certificate of Destruction being issued. The certificate is only issued once the recycling process has been completed – this could take longer if the salvage yard finds parts of the car that can be stripped and sold on. The DVLA gives the salvage yard the ability to make the choice of what should happen to your car and when.


This check helps you understand if the vehicle has been on the move around the world. Please be warned that if this is true for a vehicle then the car’s history may by limited.

VIC Inspection

This car check tells you if the vehicle was involved in a major accident that was repaired and required a VIC inspection. This could be a sign of a big crash which would instantly lower the value of the car, even if it was repaired well. This is crucial to know and understand as it could point to upcoming issues.

MOT History

This check is also used to determine if there is a mileage anomaly with the vehicle. By pulling data from the Ministry of Transport you are able to get data that includes date and time, pass/fail, fail reasons and advisories. All of this information is ideal for understanding any potential recurring issues, if there’s a mileage anomaly and if the vehicle has been maintained and is in good mechanical condition.

Colour Changes

Know the number of times that the car has had a full colour change since it was first registered. This is important to know to ensure that it has not be stolen and has had a colour change to mask the car’s true identity.


The Motor Insurance Bureau database provides information that determines the legality of the vehicle. Does it have insurance, road tax and MOT (unless declaring SORN).

Keepers History

A vehicle keeper’s history check will provide you with information such as number of previous owners and dates. If a vehicle has lots of keepers in a short space of time then you should be aware of any potential issues that it may have.

But it is a common exercise to replace car’s on a yearly basis when they are brand new, do not be alarmed if a car that is 1 year’s old has 2 owners. Do remain vigilant and use the vehicle history report to dig deeper and ask the relevant questions when buying a car.

Running Costs

Most car checks provide running cost data – fuel and road tax – which can help you understand what the long term costs are going to look like for that specific car.

Performance & Spec

Running a free car check will provide you with the general specification and performance stats of the car that you are checking. This information includes:

  • Make
  • Model
  • Engine size
  • Fuel
  • Type
  • Emissions
  • Transmission