CARFAX® vs AutoCheck® Comparison (Updated)

Which company is best for Vehicle History Reports?

When it comes to checking vehicle history, dealers and vehicle wholesalers have several options, with new organizations popping up all the time. Two of the most well-known options are CARFAX and AutoCheck—and dealers and consumers alike often wonder which one is better. Here we’ll explore the history and background for both Vehicle History Report companies to help you decide which to choose for your dealership business.

Why use CARFAX or AutoCheck?

Before we dive into the best source for Vehicle History Report, let’s explore why they’re important to begin with. Consumer demand for transparency is at an all-time high when it comes to the car buying process. And customers are doing their research before entering a dealership, so they are far more educated on comparative pricing and other factors than ever before.

Each vehicle listing should expose as much information as possible in order for shoppers to feel confident and trusting. Even negative information should be divulged with assurances that the price is reflective. One of the best ways to achieve this transparency and trust is a Vehicle History Report.

What’s more, consumers have come to expect that they can access Vehicle History Reports for free while at the dealership—meaning dealers should pay for these subscriptions/services so that their customers don’t have to.

What is a Vehicle History Report?

A Vehicle History Report, or VHR, is a detailed description of past events associated with a specific automobile. Such details may include:

  • Number of owners and the vehicle purpose
  • Service records and recall notices
  • Accident and damage history
  • Title History and Lien information
  • Odometer readings
  • And more

While no VHR can find an owner of a vehicle by VIN number, for dealers, the history of a vehicle plays a major role in the determination of adjusted market value.

What are my options for Vehicle History Reports?

There are several options you’ll see when searching online for Vehicle History Report providers, but the two largest and most well-known are CARFAX and Experian AutoCheck.

What’s the Difference Between CARFAX and AutoCheck?

CARFAX and AutoCheck deliver very similar offerings when it comes to VHRs. But for dealers, there is one key difference to keep in mind. CARFAX has invested quite a bit in branding and consumer advertising—encouraging car shoppers to ask dealers and car sellers to “Show me the CARFAX!” It might seem trivial, but on the lot, this could mean the difference between a sale and a lost prospect. If a customer asks for a CARFAX report and a dealer hands over an AutoCheck report, this can erode trust in the sales process.

CARFAX vs. AutoCheck Report Data

Both CARFAX and AutoCheck provide detailed vehicle history reports including information about accidents, service records, title history and more. However, they may present and interpret the data slightly differently.

CARFAX is generally known to have more data sources compiled into its reports. For example, CARFAX collects data from over 100,000 different sources including DMVs, auctions, as well as service and repair shops. This can lead to more accurate mileage reporting and ownership numbers of the vehicle in question. Still, AutoCheck collects its data from similar sources and will factor in data collected from insurance companies and law enforcement agencies.

CARFAX also tends to prioritize information regarding service records and ownership history, while AutoCheck focuses on potential issues that could affect value or safety.

Finally, both CARFAX and AutoCheck have buyback protections and guarantees, but there may be differences between the two, and generally CARFAX promotes this feature more. It’s crucial to read the fine print here, as not all reporting errors are covered in the buyback protections and guarantees. Still, these programs can go a long way in instilling consumer trust and confidence—and ultimately closing the sale.

As far as vehicle history report accuracy is concerned, both CARFAX and AutoCheck strive to be as accurate as possible. It’s usually a good idea to check both CARFAX and AutoCheck reports to get a complete picture of a vehicle’s history.

CARFAX vs. AutoCheck Pricing

As two leaders in the field, CARFAX and AutoCheck can tend to be slightly pricier than lesser-known alternatives. Dealers will pay a premium for CARFAX because of the consumer name recognition. And at the end of the day, if a customer is asking for a CARFAX History Report, providing an alternative/cheaper brand may not sit well and could impact sales closings.

AutoCheck is typically known as the cheaper alternative to CARFAX. Many dealers and wholesale buyers prefer AutoCheck because they have exclusive access to Manheim and Adesa auctions’ data reports. This breeds confidence with the dealer, but not necessarily the car buyer.

CARFAX typically charges a flat fee for their VHR service. AutoCheck offers pricing plans based on the number of reports your dealership pulls.

Do CARFAX and AutoCheck Show Car Accidents?

One key difference between AutoCheck and CARFAX is that CARFAX is the only one of the two that pulls service and maintenance information; meaning a CARFAX report is more likely to reveal if a car has been in an accident or has a history of recurring maintenance issues. This will also show if previous owners have kept up with car maintenance, which can impact the future performance of the vehicle. This type of information is often at the top of the list for consumers who are seeking vehicle history information during the used car buying process.

Most importantly, if a car buyer finds out later about an accident that affects their day-to-day use of the vehicle, dealers could have a very angry customer on their hands—and risk their long-term reputation.

Still, it’s important to note that no vehicle history reporting agency will catch everything with every car—there is always the possibility of missed information and gaps in vehicle history.

CARFAX vs. AutoCheck Comparison

Overall, both CARFAX and AutoCheck are good options for Vehicle History Reports, with some key differences. Here’s a high-level comparison.

 CARFAX vehicle history reportAutoCheck vehicle history report
(CARFAX is nearly twice the cost of AutoCheck, with bundle pricing available for multiple reports and subscriptions)
(AutoCheck is cheaper, and offers savings for multiple reports)
Consumer Recognition+++
Consumer recognition for CARFAX is high thanks to extensive advertising campaigns
Consumers may not have heard of AutoCheck but will likely have name recognition of the parent company, Experian
Key data included in VHR● Accident and ownership history, title history, mileage, recalls
● Service & repair information
● Focuses more on service/ownership history
● Accident and ownership history, title history, mileage, recalls
● Focuses more on safety/value
● Does NOT show service and maintenance records
Guarantees & ProtectionsYes (with exclusions)Yes (with exclusions)
Car ScoringNoYes

Which is better, CARFAX or AutoCheck?

When it comes to the question, “Is AutoCheck as good as CARFAX?” the answer isn’t that simple. It’s open for interpretation as to which vehicle history report provider is best. And for dealers who are debating whether CARFAX or AutoCheck is the right VHR for them, it really depends on individual needs and perspectives.

For auction buyers and wholesalers, AutoCheck may give the most reliable vehicle acquisition results. On the other hand, CARFAX tends to deliver more buyer confidence. Our advice is to utilize both CARFAX and AutoCheck in your dealership operations. While it may cost slightly more, the return on investment is clear: Not only will you have more comprehensive information to help assess and price cars, but you’ll build stronger trust with prospects, which will lead directly to higher sales. Finally, you mitigate the risk of a customer returning to your lot post-sale, angry because they didn’t get the full view of their vehicle’s history.

A good rule of thumb is to use AutoCheck within your organization for assessment and valuation, but CARFAX with customers on the lot as a strong sales tactic.

Close the Deal with VHRs and More

It’s important to know that Vehicle History Reports aren’t the end-all-be-all when it comes to closing a used car deal with a prospective customer. Reassuring the customer that you have all history covered with two reports (or more!) is a great first step, but there are other things you can do to make sure a customer feels absolutely confident in their purchase:

  • Have a strong understanding and be able to demonstrate fair market value to the customer; this is possible with a fast and reliable VIN scanner that can provide in-depth vehicle information at your fingertips.
  • Provide guarantees or warranty periods (beyond manufacturer warranties) that show you stand behind the quality of your inventory
  • Leverage a reliable dealer management system that allows you to focus less on operational tasks and more on taking care of your customers and employees.

How Can I Access CARFAX or AutoCheck Vehicle History Reports?

Both CARFAX and AutoCheck can be integrated for free into Laser Appraiser VIN Scanner and Laser Appraiser Dealer Studio. Submit a CARFAX registration or AutoCheck registration to establish an account. Then provide Laser Appraiser with your CARFAX login or AutoCheck login to activate your free integration.

Save time while having the right data to make informed buying and selling decisions every time with Laser Appraiser. Enjoy easy access to CARFAX, AutoCheck, and other dealer appraisal software tools in one convenient app. Take advantage of the latest dealership auction pricing software with the power of AutoCheck and CARFAX vehicle history reports, in the palm of your hand, with Laser Appraiser.

Discover how the Laser Appraiser Used Car Dealer Management Software and VIN scanner app can give your used car dealership the winning formula with a free used car dealer software demo today! Share this article with your colleagues and get started with a free Laser Appraiser VIN Scanner or Dealer Studio demonstration to see how you can use these tools to increase your average used car profit margin on every transaction.

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