CarFax vs AutoCheck

CarFax vs AutoCheck: 3 Differences You Must Know

experian-autocheck-reportWhen you buy a used car, it’s important to get an accurate and detailed vehicle history report and know the differences between CarFax vs AutoCheck reports. It can save you big in the long run.

CarFax and AutoCheck vehicle history reports are two of the most prominent options, but it can be difficult for shoppers to understand the differences between the two choices. Although both reports can offer plenty of useful insight into the history of a used car, AutoCheck reports have a better reputation among used car lots due to their ability to thoroughly track vehicles sold at auctions.

In general, AutoCheck and CarFax reports offer many of the same advantages. Both reports will provide a fairly reliable account of the emissions history and accident history of any given car. This means that with either report, you can be confident that you have a good idea of any problematic aspects of the car’s history.

Tracking Auction Cars with AutoCheck

The most significant difference between AutoCheck and CarFax is that AutoCheck is far better at tracking auction cars, while CarFax is known for not being able to effectively track cars at auctions. This obstacle makes CarFax much less useful since many used cars have been auctioned off at some point in their history.

So why can an AutoCheck vehicle history reports successfully keep track of auctioned cars?

AutoCheck currently maintains exclusive access to data about important auctions at the two largest auction houses in the United States. That means that no other report can come close to the accuracy that AutoCheck reports provide on used car lots. If you’re buying a used car, look for dealerships that offer AutoCheck reports in order to ensure that you have a fully accurate report before you make a purchase.


All DriveTime vehicles purchased from an auction pass through an inspection center.


How the History Impacts Market Value

This is another area in which AutoCheck wins again. The “AutoCheck Score” provides you with easy-to-understand analysis of how the vehicle’s history impacts its current market value. With one glance, you can gain a better understanding of the significance of past accidents.

While CarFax reports do include collision records, they aren’t as detailed as the AutoCheck score, so you may not gain a clear picture of the true market value of a used car if you rely exclusively on a CarFax report.

Reports Based on VINs

If you choose to subscribe to AutoCheck, you can take advantage of the opportunity to run a limitless number of reports based on VIN numbers. This benefit allows you to thoroughly check out a variety of used cars from different used car lots before making a final decision.

Again, CarFax doesn’t offer this type of service.

If you are planning to purchase a vehicle through DriveTime, you can view a live AutoCheck history report for free on any of our vehicles online.

CarFax vs AutoCheck – Who Wins? 

Although many used car lots prefer AutoCheck, CarFax reports do offer some advantages. For instance, CarFax has a better record of successfully verifying mileage and reporting how many owners the car has had.

However, it’s important to remember that neither vehicle history report can provide a guaranteed history of a vehicle. Both providers can only provide information that has been recorded or reported. Regardless of what the report says, it’s important to ensure the vehicle has been thoroughly inspected before purchasing.

What has your experience been with vehicle history reports?

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    I perfer autocheck since the report on my car is definitely correct with no accidents and 3 owners versus carfax who says my car has structual damage has been in an accident due to parts that were order for it and it was a 1 owner vehicle.

    Their report clearly shows the 3 owners yet they deny the error. I went to sell my car and the buyers did carfax reports and immediately decided not to buy my car without even inspecting it for themselves. Autocheck rates the car at the high of their scale while carfax says it is worth $2000 below book. After opening a case with carfax and pointing out the descrepencies in their report they still deny the issue and case closed. I recommend AutoCheck!

  2. charles   •  

    Autocheck is way better. Carfax is a scam and very costly for continued poor service and incorrect information as well as not very transparent. It’s all about taking your money.

  3. Jackie   •  

    I prefer Carfax as it tild me how many people had my car and that is was in an accident. Autocheck did not tell me how many people had the car nor did it tell me that is was in an accident. I used Carfax as the Used Dealership that I bought my car from used Autocheck and I received the report but have been having numerous problems with it. So i decided to do my own check. Not impressed with what I received from the dealership, now i am trying to get help with fixing it or my money back… Should be told in the beginning if the car was in an accident no matter how minor.

    • Jim Hanking   •  

      The CarFax report on a recently purchased 2011 Ford Explorer shows 3 accidents and structural damage and the AutoCheck report shows none of this. The CarFax report essentially reduces the trade in value of my vehicle to zero dollars. I’m not sure which to believe and hope that the dealer that sold me the certified pre-owned vehicle will do the right thing and give me my money back.

    • Jean   •  

      How do you get a copy of the auto check or car fax report?

      • DriveTime   •  

        Hi Jean – All Auto Check reports are provided for free on the vehicle details page of every DriveTime vehicle online. Thank you. – Tiffany | DriveTime Community Manager

  4. Revs Checker   •  

    Nice post! The information you provided is very helpful if someone is planning to buy used vehicle. I think Autocheck is better way to get all the information of used vehicle.

  5. Sergio   •  

    Autochecks! Carfax is a scam.

  6. Teresa Phillips   •  

    There are blatant errors on the reports from both agencies for my vehicle, stating it has a branded title. There was a clerical error that was fixed and all documents can be requested through Washington State DMV who will say it was a clerical error caused by a lien holder (Not while I owned it). I can’t get a dealer to take my vehicle as a trade in even though I have a non branded title in my hand they say I have to fix both companies reports. However they refuse to fix them. Vehicle is in perfect shape and mileage is correct but they won’t accept any documentation that explains this

  7. Keith   •  

    Totally agree. Carfax is a ripoff with no real information at all for older cars. Which I would think is the main customer base for it’s use. Don’t use it.

  8. Marshall   •  

    We just purchased a vehicle from a used car lot where the Autocheck was provided by the dealer who noted no accidents or issues, as well as 100K Toyota servicing. It starting driving strange so we contacted the dealer who performed the servicing to verify the work – they reported it was not serviced, but rather inspected and needed a transmission and had overheating issues and was submitted to auction with that information. The dealer told us there were no issues with the car. We then got suspicious and purchased a Carfax Report which noted the car had been in a major front end accident at 60K miles including airbag deployment. The two reports are WAY OFF for the same VIN. My lesson learned is to acquire both reports. Had we been wise consumers we would not have solely trusted the Autocheck (and dealer) and passed on this car.

  9. John   •  

    Autocheck is a scam .. They dont let you run unlimited checks as claimed..
    After 25 odd checks on the Autocheck they disable your account and you are supposed to send them email to unblock further checking for another 10 or so checks. Scammers at their best..

  10. Steve   •  

    I would agree with author. I was looking at a used car that did come from a car Auction. Auto Check indicated vehicle having two accidents (one with a police report). While Car Fax did not indicate any accidents. Definitely a Red Flag for Car Fax. I would say that Car Fax did indicate more of the maintenance records. But, more concerning is that Car Fax didn’t indicate the accidents.

  11. Tera   •  

    I actually just asked a family friend, who is in the car business about which one is better to use. He said Autocheck is just as good and that it’s actually what MOST car companies use to check cars coming in and going out. I wish people would do their homework instead of just jumping into one over the other just because it’s all over t.v. (Carfax). I think just from the comments, I’ll go with AUTOCHECK!

  12. JHONATHAN   •  

    I hope this help someone. Autocheck is a piece of crap….. just basic information, does not show maintenance records etc. Carfax is better however BE AWARE…. the “unlimited” is NOT really unlimited if you are trying to run the VIN numbers… only 5 reports after you pay $55… Is unlimited if you run the License plate of the car… NOT every car being sold on Craigslist or dealers have a license plate on it… so be aware of this first hand. Car fax is better than the Auto Check in my opinion but be aware of the “unlimited” thing.

    • Rich   •  

      Carfax Unlimited is not unlimited either. Per the CarFax terms: If you purchased the Unlimited CARFAX reports package, you agree to pay a single charge in the amount set forth above for the Unlimited Reports (Private Seller Vehicles Only) plan (“Plan”) plus applicable sales tax in the following states: CT, DC, HI, NJ, NM, NY, SC, SD, TX, WA and WV, according to your card issuer agreement. You acknowledge and agree that vehicle license plate and state information is needed to run each CARFAX Report under this Plan. So CarFax requires plate and state info for their “unlimited” plan too. I hope this helps someone…….

  13. Bob   •  

    I just found out that AutoCheck picks up cars that have an “Educational” vanity license plate(Ilinois) as a car that is used for drivers education. Because of this use CarFax reduces their appraisal value by about 12%. The vanity plate has nothing to do with a driver education vehicles but it could take weeks for AutoCheck to change this use which requires a state DMV to get involved in the process. CarFax usage is based on the title not the licenses plate.

  14. PPSR REVS Check VIN   •  

    Very true. Auto check is the better way to check VIN online regardless of its minor glitches.
    Well done!

  15. Dan   •  

    If you want to get your money’s worth, DO NOT USE CARFAX! If you need to search by VIN, CarFax’s unlimited plan is not unlimited at all – you only get 5 searches for $55. With Autocheck, you can get unlimited searches by VIN. HUGE DIFFERENCE. Will never use Carfax’s paid service again.

  16. Claire H   •  

    I just sold a car and the buyer used Carfax. Carfax said title was branded and listed an accident. Autocheck showed clear title and no accident listed. The title is clear and there was an accident, so both were inaccurate. Carfax had detailed maintenance records, Autocheck had no maintenance records. Autocheck flagged events Emissions test (an emissions test was done at an approved facility) and Loan/Lien (“Check with the seller to ensure that the lien has been satisfied.”)
    When buying a car, I would definitely like to see both the Carfax & Autocheck reports.

  17. Vin checker   •  

    Carfax is unreliable by my experience.

  18. isaiah   •  

    Can someone explain why anyone should pay for what should be public information? At the least it should be consumer awareness and all dealerships should be offering this info from both agencies or we should demand it. Think about it, when you get your car serviced or you buy it or you trade or sell it, you are paying for it to be reported already through raised or hidden fees so why should I have to pay for it again? In my conspiracy-minded opinion, these guys are double-dipping.

  19. stacey   •  

    When you go to and, and input the vin numbers, the search tells you (for free) how many reports were found for that car. I just did this, Autocheck came up with 18, and Carfax came up with 40. I have to believe Carfax is more detailed. The car I am thinking about buying has been in an accident. I’d like to try and figure out how extensive the damage was, and how complete the repair was.

  20. Nick   •  

    I was in an accident with my vehicle and neither Carfax or Autocheck had received wind of the accident. I contacted Carfax and provided copies of the damage and repair bill from the collision center. I also provided a copy of the automatic frame spec printout from the machine. They added this information to CarFax. I did the same with Autocheck and they denied it. Even though I am the owner of the vehicle. They said Quote:

    “Hello Nicholas,

    I am unable to view the links you have provided for the accidents on this vehicle, but please also note even if we can review the accidents, we will not be able to add the information to the AutoCheck report, until it arrives from our data sources. I appreciate your honesty in wanting to warn the next buyer, but you may wish to provide the damage report to interested buyers to they have the full detail available.

    Thank You,

    Senior Client Services Representative
    Customer Support: 888-409-2204 option #1,1,5
    Hours: Monday – Friday 8-7pm CST
    Fax : 224-698-5060”

    I will never trust Autocheck ever!!

  21. Greg   •  

    Until today I knew nothing of AutoCheck and I hate to say it my first experience with them is not only bad but it’s causing me to lose money too. At CarMax while they where appraising my truck to trade in this company AutoCheck reports there was an accident on the VIN for my truck. They reported this so called accident happened about 1.5 years ago which is wrong. I’ve owned this truck since the beginning of 2013 & when I purchased it they reported it had NO accidents, I know it’s never been involved in a accident or ins claim of any type since I’ve owned it. This report has lowered my trucks value so I contacted AutoCheck my self when their employee MariaB told me “we just report what we’re told and there is NOTHING I can do about it” so now I’m losing value in my truck because of this company not willing to fix a error on a report they sold. AutoCheck says the won’t fix it which tells me they really don’t stand behind their reports accuracy. My opinion, NEVER use AutoCheck and NEVER believe anything they report!

  22. Robert Burns, Jr   •  

    I bought a car from the Chattanooga area Drivetime and upon signing the contract was told that there was no recalls on my car (2012 Ford Focus Sedan). However, after having the car for three months I received a letter in the mail from Ford saying my car has been on recall for a TCM Transmission Control Module since 2013. Not impressed with Drivetime at this point or with AutoCheck!

    • DriveTime   •  

      Hi Robert – I am very sorry to hear this. You can definitely give our Customer Relations Department a call at 800-965-8043 and they will be able to help you out with this.

  23. bob sig   •  

    Carfax offer defaults to “unlimited” reports. However, this is not unlimited VIN it is only unlimited by plate number. Don’t be fooled. The offers are 1. (1) report 2. (5) reports 3. unlimited by plate NOT Vin number. You can cancel after receiving 2 reports. So if you want to get two FREE reports, activate the unlimited service but then cancel it after opening only 2 reports.

    Also read other reviews where the reports are not helpful and may not report serious issues with the vehicle you are interested in. In fact, a vehicle I purchased new had 5000 miles at first reported service. However, carfax reported this as 50,000 miles. I ended up purchasing a vehicle that showed a clean report but actually had major damage to the passenger side. Replacing a cracked headlight alone cost me $1000. In addition, carfax does not offer a phone number to call for addressing your customer service issues. GOOD LUCK

  24. Mick G   •  

    Many years ago there was and still is a company called CCC. They provided INSURANCE companies with auto histories. I know this because my brother has worked there for over 35 years. Then you have basically “information brokers” like CARFAX who buy information from reputable companies. The issue is they are information brokers and nothing else. A lot of the information is assumed and incorrect. I am not familiar with Autocheck as much but the major issue is that I know CARFAX is just a marketing tool for dealers. A reputable dealer would never use a CARFAX to check a trade but will use against you if there is something on there that helps them. The dealers use a reputable company like CCC and then if there is something nasty and probably wrong on the CARFAX they will just show you that costing you money and bargaining power. To sum this up it is kind of like the brokers who put your information on the internet and then want people to pay for information that more then 20 years old. It’s all a SCAM, unregulated and legal. The reports don’t have to be accurate. They make money on the side by getting people to buy reports. The chance of a report being 50% correct is slim. Basically everything about a vehicle is tied to the VIN, a plate is just that. In my state it costs $10 to transfer plates but $101 to get new ones. One year I had the same plate on 3 different cars. Anyway if a dealer tries to lowball you because of a bad CARFAX or AutoCheck just walk. My experience: A brother who works for the company that has the true info on your VIN and a couple of friends who own dealerships. It’s all a marketing tool and if you fall for it, it can cost you a significant amount of money. Never trust a company that you cannot call on the phone. That’s a dead giveaway of a CON. Email us the info you have. No, prove where you got your erroneous info from. The problem is they take their sweet time Emailing you back. It’s all a SCAM and marketing tool.

    • R. Rizzoli   •  

      THANK YOU SO MUCH, finally the answer I was looking for…THE TRUTH

    • Damone   •  

      Thanks for the helpful information. Much appreciated!

  25. Brandon   •  

    Autocheck is a scam! I am trying to sell my car and was expecting to see the service history of the car like the new engine, new transmission, and other new additions to the car I had made over the years, so I could show prospective buyers. It had no such information, and when I asked for a refund they said no. DO NOT USE AUTOCHECK

  26. Armand   •  

    Got my Car at Audi 3 years ago vent to sell it my car guess what happen CARFAX was totally off said my car was clean but today after I went to sell my car the AUTOCHECK found that my car was in a big accident thank you so much AUTOCHECK For that information now you people know what’s the difference I will go with AUTOCHECK %100?

  27. MikeW   •  

    I purchased reports from AutoCheck and CarFax. AutoCheck show no accidents. CarFax shows two accidents. I asked AutoCheck for refund. They said no…

  28. Dana   •  

    If I am buying a car for my daughter, I am hopefully getting both reports… but if I can only run one, I am going with Carfax. They have 10x the records that Autocheck does. The more info I can get to buy a safe car for my daughter, the better. Period.

  29. Joe   •  

    A local Kansas Ford dealer has a 2016 Fusion for sale as “used” with 11 miles on it. Yes, eleven. My contact at the dealer told me sometimes a car is damaged in transit or something, gets repaired but then can’t be sold as “new”. He looked up the damge: +$4000 in repairs to the rear bumper, both rear quarter panels and one rear door.

    The AutoCheck report on this car (double checked the VIN #) lists it as 100% CLEAN !!!!! WHAT A JOKE!!!


  30. mark Kellogg   •  

    Better switch to Vinaudit. For just $5, you’ll get a full car history report or $1 each with business account.

  31. VIN check   •  

    I believe autocheck is best if you choose to run multiple vehicle history reports. If not I’d go with a Carfax report for a single VIN check report.

  32. Lois Halvorson   •  

    How do you purchase a report from Auto Check on a purchased used car???

    • DriveTime   •  

      Hi Lois – You should be able to obtain an AutoCheck report here.

  33. Ang   •  

    Just checked both AutoCheck and CarFax for all 3 of our vehicles. AutoCheck said all had been damaged in a flood, reported as a total loss and been repo’ed. Not true for all 3 but it said that. CarFax was correct with their information though. Going with CarFax.

  34. Mark   •  

    I’d go with, they give the first vin check for free. Then, you can purchase a full vehicle history report for as little as $6.95

  35. Craig Wells   •  

    CARFAX contains much more information and service records and has department that actually works with police departments to obtain correct accident data as states are slow to report. Auto check just provides basic DMV record info you can get for free. Check out both and make sure dealer provides it for you. If a dealer tells you they are the same do you homework before you sign anything.

    • Jacki   •  

      Thank you for the advice. I am about to purchase a car out of state and the dealer offers Autocheck. When I asked for a Carfax report also, he got a bit defensive saying that 8/10 dealers use Autocheck and that Carfax isn’t very reliable. I am insisting on both reports just for peace of mind.

  36. Bill Coddington   •  

    CarFax drills down deeper in the car’s history/information. For example it shows all the service dates the car was worked on if taken to a dealer, lists the dealers name, address, phone number and in most cases the work that was completed. Far more info than any other source – BUT – it is a ripoff and a crime there is no true competitor offering the same detail for a reasonable price. I hate them!

  37. Denzel   •  

    In my humble opinion none of them are good, and I can explain why. First of all they are very uncomfortable, and have just terrible design. Secondly they are very expensive, and it seems to me that only rich people use this services. And finally why do we need this services, if we can use FAXVIN reports that works just great!

  38. Kyle   •  

    I’ve used both and CARFAX was much more detailed with much more information. The problem is with CARFAX is that since they have a lot more information on the vehicle (more service records, especially more accident info), people get upset because they don’t want their vehicle showing the accidents. It seems people selling like to use Autocheck (because there is less info) and people buying like to use CARFAX. Buyer beware on Autocheck.

  39. BJ   •  

    Let me guess DriveTime uses Autocheck? Seems unbiased enough for me.

  40. Mike   •  

    As a dealer, i would prefer Aufocheck to sell the car quickly to unsuspecting buyers. as a car buyer i would use Carfax to get car history. Beware buyers. do your homework throughly

    • Customer Relations   •  

      Hello Mike,

      Thank you for reaching out to us. Please know that we provide a copy of the Experian AutoCheck History Report to all of our customers since this report provides the most accurate and up date information which details previous owners, liens, or accidents if applicable that are reported to the appropriate source.

      Should you have further questions, please reach out to my Customer Relations department at (888)290-0148.

      Thank You,

      Jodi-Customer Relations

  41. Gary T Bianchi   •  

    I was just shopping for a car and Autocheck reported no accidents for the vehicle, but Carfax reported three in the last fourteen months. I am certainly glad that I spent money for the Carfax report than to spend thousands of dollars on a car that was involved in that many accidents over that time period.

    • Customer Relations   •  

      Hello Gary,

      Thank you for your review and your interest in DriveTime. Here at DriveTime, we do provide all of our potential customers a copy of the Experian Autocheck report. Experian is a third party company that is not affiliated with DriveTime that provides accident reports, history of use as a fleet or government vehicle, registration in a storm area and storm records.

      We provide this as a tool for researching the history of the vehicle, and we encourage all of our customers to complete their own research to ensure they are confident in their purchase of their vehicle. We also provide every customer the same 5 day vehicle return period to ensure they are absolutely satisfied with both the vehicle, and the terms of their contract.

      Thank you again for taking the time to leave your review, should you wish to discuss this situation further please reach out to our Customer Relations Team at (800) 965-8043.


      Jodi-Customer Relations

  42. Courtney L Mitchell   •  

    So by reading the comments the best way to go would be to get both the Autocheck and Carfax reports and decide from there.

    • Customer Relations   •  

      Thank you for your interest in purchasing through our company, Courtney!

      Please know that our company emphasizes a sense of transparency by providing each customer with an Experian Autocheck History report for every vehicle on our lot. We always encourage our customers to perform their own research on the vehicle they are purchasing in order to ensure they are completely aware of the product they are purchasing.

      Additionally, if our customers find that they are dissatisfied with their purchase in any way, they may utilize our Vehicle Return Program (VRP). This program allows our customers to return their vehicle within 5 business days of signing their contract, in additional to being within 300 miles driven, while excluding Sundays and holidays.

      Thanks again for your interest in DriveTime! If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact your local DriveTime dealer.

      Jacob – DriveTime Customer Relations

  43. Tim Davis   •  

    We bought a car and were provided with a AutoCheck report that shows no accidents. Today when we were looking at trading it in 5 months later we were told that Carfax shows structural damage from an accident and the value is half what we paid.

    • Customer Relations   •  

      Hello Tim,

      Thank you for reaching out to us and I truly apologize if you felt we misinformed you in any way pertaining to the condition of your vehicle upon purchase.

      Please know that at time of sale, an Experian AutoCheck History Report was provided to you as a courtesy. This report provides a history of the vehicle’s use such as any prior accident records, rental or government use, registration in a storm area or involvement in a theft. If any of these items were applicable, they would be notated in the vehicle information section of the Experian AutoCheck.History Report. DriveTime is not affiliated with Experian AutoCheck in any way and has no control on what is and what is not reported. AutoCheck may provide information related to the subject vehicle’s history, including whether there are any reported prior accident records.

      Should you have obtained outside documentation otherwise, I would suggest you contact our Customer Relations department at (800) 965-8043 and a representative would be glad to look into this matter further.

      Again, I am sorry to hear that you are dissatisfied with DriveTime due to your recent experience.



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