Car History Check FAQs


Getting a car history check should be the first thing that you do when looking to buy and view a used car. The amount of data that is provided can help you find out if the car is OK to buy or if you should walk away.

But it is always good to know how to view a car history report as to the untrained eye it could mean very little. Below are just some of the FAQs for car history checks answered so that you can hopefully use it to avoid buying a lemon.

What is an Import/Export check?

This check simply tells you if the car has been imported to the UK or exported out of the UK. Both provide some insight into what it could mean about the car. If it has been exported then the car is registered with the DVLA as an export therefore it cannot be registered on the UK roads. If it has been imported then it could make parts harder to come by or an issue with the insurance. There’s also the potential problem of not know the history to the car prior to it being imported.

An imported can could have a whole host of issues from it’s origin country that you will never know of. Therefore you should ask questions and see if they have a full service history – which might need to be translated.

What is a car history check?

A car history check is a report that will be instantly compiled after you input the VRM/number plate of a vehicle. The data is generally pulled from multiple sources that are government and 3rd party data providers based.

You will get a variety of information but it ultimately depends on the provider and which option you choose. They all offer free checks but for low-fee’s you can get a basic data check or a total car check. Below are some car history data points you can expect to get with paid car checks:

  • MOT history
  • Road tax status
  • Accident/write-off history
  • Mileage anomaly alert
  • Performance and running costs
  • Scrapped/Certificate of Destruction issued
  • Stolen/High Risk alert
  • and much more all of which can help you understand the true history and identity of the car.

Why should I get a used car check?

There is a growing number of used cars in the UK that have a hidden past. This ultimately costs the buyer more than the seller. Getting even a free car check provides you with a quick sanity check to make sure even the basic of information is correct.

Ultimately you would get the vehicle inspected by someone and run a car history check to ensure everything is correct. Basically getting a used car check helps you to understand if the car has ever been written-off, if it has outstanding finance, recorded stolen, imported/exported, plus much more. This is ideal to ensure you do not buy a car which will become expensive at a later date.

Where can I get an MOT check?

There are 2 options for this – the government website or a car history checker. The MOT (Ministry of Transport) test looks for various mechanical and bodywork problems to determine the roadworthiness of the car. The test will go through brakes, fuel system, lights, mirrors, seatbelts, wipers, exhaust and more.

A car will be issued a pass or fail with notes for the reasons added alongside advisories. Because this is stored by the government, it means that it generally has all of the MOT information of the vast majority of cars out there. MOT data provides you with mileage anomaly research, failure reasons and advisories too. All of this is amazing information to know how the car has been maintained, if it has been problematic and what the state of it should be in.

Why do I need a car tax check?

It is illegal to drive without valid road tax and can carry a hefty fine. This reason alone is why you should get a car tax check. So if you go to buy a car you need it to have road tax otherwise you cannot drive it away. Also if a car is stored off public roads and has no road tax it will most likely be SORN therefore you will need to find a way to transport it to get a valid MOT, to then get insurance to then get road tax.

Sometimes you can forget when your road tax is actually due, knowing how many days you have left can help you prepare for an MOT and repairs if needed.