Car Buying

Types of Car History: How to Find Them

You can tell a huge amount of information about a vehicle from the history that comes along with it. There’s all kinds of data out there about what every car on the road has been through in some way or another and it all goes a seriously long way into giving you an accurate image of what you’re actually working with. Being able to use it all, however, needs a very specific set of skill, knowledge, or services to find out. To help make it easier to find the car history you’re looking for, we’ve put together this useful guide on where it all is.  Consumer refers to car history check process or hpi (it’s a brand and doesn’t describe the check it self)

MOT history 

The most common and most easily accessible form of history to research is with your MOT history. MOTs are something that every single car on the road needs to have with it, and as a result, there’s always an easily accessible gold mine of info waiting to be seen along with it, since every year’s data since 2005 is in there. 

There are multiple ways to look at this data as well. We have a free tool here that can be used pulling info from government official sources, and we look at advisories as well which can help if you’re not familiar. 

Service History 

The second most commonly sought after piece of information usually comes alongside this as service history, and this is actually easier history to find usually on the car’s person or with the owner. It should all be in the car’s documentation. 

In some cases, however, that’s not the case. Service history isn’t mandatory and for the most part, isn’t accessible online either. You would really need to aks the registered owner or in very rare cases the DVLA (for a £5 fee).

It’s also worth noting here that if you’re buying your used car from a dealer, this should be advertised somewhere on the vehicle’s information as required by law (saying something like part service history, full-service history, or otherwise). 

Criminal History 

Just like people can, vehicles can also be subject to crimes as well. We’re not looking at things like vandalism here, but theft and fraud more than anything are what you need to be on the lookout for. There are a few different things that you need to do to get this information. 

Check the vehicles information against the DVLA 

The initial thing that you need to do is to check the information that you do have access to against that of the DVLA. That’s using more services like ours as well as any other resources you have access to like similar car history services

Look at: 

These should ideally all be matching or have a seriously good explanation of not. 

Check the VIN 

The VIN is another useful tool in your professional standard arsenal to find a car’s criminal history. A VIN tells you everything about a car’s creation so if it doesn’t match or doesn’t have one, you could have a serious issue (even like cloning). 

Financial History 

Physical crimes aren’t the only thing that can cause you serious problems with a car. Financial history is another serious aspect that you need to really comprehend to be able to comfortably and safely purchase a car. If a car has unpaid finance schemes in place and you buy it, you could well be liable to pay for it as the new registered owner or have to legally return it to the original owner due to their losses. 

To make sure that all of this does not happen to you in any way shape or form, this is just another type of history you need to find. There are schemes out there like HPI that can help you find out, but any financial history check is a great move in preventing this. It’s near impossible to do yourself, so you will need a paid service. 


Another dangerous type of history that you need to look into with a vehicle purchase is with any accident history or worse still, insurance write-offs. Most of the time you’ll find this kind of information pre-purchase as it will be listed, especially in the case of an insurance write off with the category system that is in place. 

When it comes to accidents that didn’t write off the car however there’s not too much that can be done about it other than to trust the owner or get a vehicle inspection service involved to see through the cracks in a thorough inspection. 

Owner History

Lastly, the only other major historical factor that you might want to find about any car is the previous owner information. That comes from a multitude of different reasons as well. On the one hand, you get an insight into the previous owner and how they treated the car. How it has been kept in particular, if it has been looked after, modified, serviced… you name it, the owner will know as they had to get it done. It does go deeper than this as well, however. 

You also need to remember here that you have insight into how the car has been used as well as kept. You can learn about the car’s usage, purpose, and the mileage justification in places like this which are all important factors that can give you a new outlook on your vehicle. To find it, you can do your own checks again and ask the seller for all the information that they know of. It’s all down to each situation. 


Ultimately, finding your car’s history comes in a lot of shapes and sizes. Always get as much information as you can form relevant services, MOT checks, paperwork and seller knowledge, but there’s only so much that you can do. 

If you’re still in doubt, professional services like CarExmaer can get all of this done for you as well as check the whole vehicle on a microscopic level to tell you everything there is to know about the car. 

Whatever you decide to do, stay safe and always do your homework.  

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