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Free car checks – are they useful?

Are free car checks useful?

A car check is one of the ‘best things’ in life


They say the best things in life are free. Well, we here at Car Guide, would say that’s almost true. In fact, while many wonderful things in life are free, we believe there’s one pretty big exception to that rule: a free car check. Read on to find out why we at Car Guide say don’t waste time on a free car check.

Car checks definitely fall into that ‘best things’ category in life. And that’s because they can be invaluable for car buyers when buying a used vehicle. Think about it: buying a used car means you’re buying a product that’s had a previous life.


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Now you probably have every greatest intention of treating that vehicle with all the love, care and attention that it deserves once you exchange the keys. What’s important to realise, however, is that vehicle may not have had a whole lot of love, care and attention under its previous ownership.

That’s a crucial thing to keep in mind before you fall in love with your car on the lot. While it might seem like a fantastic purchase at ‘face value’, there could be stuff going on under the hood you’re not aware of. This is especially true in the case of used cars. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re getting an amazing deal when in reality you could be inheriting a host of issues. And that’s where doing a car MOT status and history check comes in. It is worth every penny for your peace of mind.

But, here’s why you don’t want to get a free car check

There are many places, (i.e. for MOT – DVLA, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency), you can go to to get a free car history check – the majority of them are free. But just as it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re getting a great deal on a car, it can be easy to believe that getting that free or cheap car check will cover everything you need to know. The truth is that free car checks only scratch the service of what’s going on with a vehicle:

Understand a car’s future, not just its past – Even paid car checks won’t give you information on all car running costs. For example, cost of repairs, service costs and what is likely to go wrong on a future MOT check. Whilst free checks may give you MOT history, also take care to look at a car’s MOT future using Car Guide.
Whether the car has been stolen – For one, a cheap car check won’t tell you if a car has been stolen. If the used car you’ve bought is stolen, not only will it get repossessed by the previous owner but it’s also highly unlikely that you’ll get money back on it.
If it’s been written off – While a used car may look safe to drive, it might not be. Free car checks don’t reveal whether a vehicle has been written off (and there are four stages of write-offs by the way). While it might not be a crumpled up hunk of metal yet, it could be that there are important repairs it requires, which will result in additional charges.
If there’s outstanding finance – Unfortunately, if there’s still a loan attached to a used car, you’ll be responsible for paying it off. And that’s regardless as to who took it out initially, or who was paying it last. You buy a used car, you inherit its finances. The only way to find out what’s outstanding on a vehicle is to opt for a comprehensive paid car check. 

Other things you aren’t likely to uncover with a free car check are mileage anomalies (the difference between a car’s odometer reading and the number recorded in the national mileage register), whether it’s been exported or imported, or it’s full MOT or repair history. 

So, with all of this information still missing, where do you turn to?

We’ll tell you what services and repairs are due on a used car

Don’t waste time on a free car check, get a comprehensive car check instead

Paying for a comprehensive car check is worth its weight in gold. And that’s because it will give you an incredibly detailed report covering all of the above points and even more. Not all paid car checks are created equal, however. Some may give you a little information for free upfront, but they’ll then charge you for each subsequent report or vehicle you request. 

At Car Guide, we’ve taken into consideration the used car buying cycle. We’ve thought about what buyers really want and need for it to be a smooth and pleasant experience. Our subscription service allows you to compare any vehicle and perform unlimited checks which go well beyond what free car checks provide. From outstanding finance, stolen check, full mot history, sorn/tax status to number plate changes.  Moreover, you’ll get access to our user-friendly shortlist page which makes comparing vehicles a breeze. We also offer a lot of vehicle data for free in case you want to check something simple like engine size, fuel type and other basic cars details.

How is Car Guide different?

The buyer’s reports generated are incredibly detailed, fully comprehensive assessments, while still being simple to understand and easy to follow. Our data and predictions are backed up by over 500m MOTs. In addition to the usual data that you would get from other vehicle checks, we will also show you what services and repairs are due, which items are likely to fail on the next MOT and we can even give you a breakdown of what particular used cars monthly costs might look like. 

Getting started is easy. All you need is the number plate/ vehicle registration number or VIN number. Car Guide’s instant car check will uncover more vehicle information than any other check on the market. Give it a go!

If you’ve still got questions about how we work or are keen to find out more, then get in touch with our friendly team who will be happy to help.

Frequently asked questions

Yes you can and there are a number of websites that provide car’s history for free. Car Guide provides more information than any other free car check on the market. Check a car for free.
Car Guide provides more free information than anyone else and in fact many others typically charge for it. On top of the usual information that you get free, Car Guide also provides salvage records, safety recall data, imported/exported information, colour changes and plate changes, as well as future MOT predictions on what will go wrong. Check a car for free with CarGuide.
Car Guide’s free check includes basic car details, imported/exported, plate changes and colour changes, MOT status, salvage data, safety recalls and MOT history. Using their own machine learning platform, Car Guide will also show you future MOT predictions, highlighting which components are likely to need replacing or repairing in the near future. Check a car for free with CarGuide.
Free car checks only scratch the surface and most of them are not worth your time. When buying a used car you need the right information that will help you make a decision whether it is the right purchase. Car Guide offers way more than any other car check – read more here.

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