It can be difficult buying a used car. You may not be able to obtain information about how the car was maintained by the previous owner. The beautiful condition of the body may hide underlying problems. One way to learn more about a used car is by getting its history report.

Step 1

Visit used car inventory web sites such as Carfax.com, Autotrader.com and Cars.com. The sites list used cars for sale. Once you find a vehicle that you are interested in, you can use the associated link to obtain a free Carfax report. Some dealership web sites also list used inventory with links to obtain free copies of the vehicles' histories.

Step 2

Ask the dealer. If you are interested in a used car on the lot, request a free copy of the car’s history from your salesperson.

Step 3

Ask the vehicle’s seller, if it's a private sale, for a copy of the car’s history report. The seller may feel the expense of providing the report for free is worthwhile to improve the chances of selling his used vehicle at a good price.

Step 4

Visit the insurance site National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), which is working to build a database dealing with the identification and prosecution of crimes against insurance companies. This includes selling vehicles that were reported as a total loss. With the vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number, the free service will supply information about any insurance claims made for the vehicle.