Autocheck is owned by Experian and their vehicle history report (or VHR) is most notable for employing a vehicle history scoring system. They provide a number and a range — like 85 out of a range of 70-90. This shows their customers how this particular vehicle compares to other similar vehicles built that year. It is meant to be a quick way to identify and eliminate vehicles that might have issues, ranging from accident reports to salvage, flood history, etc.
The scale isn’t zero to 100, which can be confusing to folks researching vehicles. We ran a report on a 2016 Mercedes-Benz E Class and it received a score of 82. Sounds like a good car, right? But this particular E Class was in a major accident, declared a total loss and issued a salvage title, according to the report. The number that matters is the range and, from there, where the particular car scores. In this case, the range for similar E350s was 88-93. The one we were checking, with a score of 82, was 6 points below the bottom of the range — not a great bet for a used car, in other words. We also ran a report on a 1996 BMW 328i with a salvage title. It scored 25 out of a range of 31-53. Six points seems to be the deduction for having a salvage title, but the numbers weren’t clearly explained.
AutoCheck does provide info that Carfax sometimes misses or doesn’t have access to, so running both reports is a must for anyone serious about buying a vehicle. Autocheck has been the preferred VHR provider for auctions and automobile professionals for a couple decades, so they get insider auction info that Carfax does not have access to. For example: many vehicles get sold at auction every day that have a clean Carfax report, but an independent inspector at the auction finds frame damage or previous frame repair from an accident that the car had that was never reported to Carfax. In this case, Carfax will not have this info…but the auction does pass it along to Autocheck and their report reflects that auction announcement. That’s important.
The Autocheck report is broken up into six sections.
Section 1 is an overview. This section gives you a quick snapshot of the important stuff: accident check, number of owners, odometer check, title brand check and their score. This is the most important section and most bad cars can be eliminated from your shopping list by simply looking here.
Section 2 is the accident check section. This is the area that would give you more info if an accident was reported in section 1.
Section 3 is the Title Brand Check section. This one is easy to figure out and problems will stand out.
Section 4 is the odometer check area of the report. This is where Autocheck would provide more detailed information about any odometer issues noted in section 1.
Section 5 is the Vehicle Use Section. This is where you’ll find information concerning rental car use, taxi cab use, vehicle repo records, etc.
Section 6 deals with detailed records. This is where you can find registration renewals, title transfers, etc.
Pro Tip: Pay close attention to section 1, 5 and 6. The other sections are really just fluff and matter very little. The score can also be misleading, so take that with a grain of salt and just read the report. We use Autocheck every day at eimports4Less and we find it to be a very valuable resource.