A service to consumers when purchasing a used car and for dealers who deal in used cars. Carfax provides vehicle history reports given a VIN number for the car to obtain a report on.

Carfax began in 1986 with a list of 10,000 used cars. The reports were initially distributed via fax. In 1996, Carfax went online to aid consumers in used car purchasing. Today, over 1.67 billion records are available through Carfax.

Using Carfax is relatively simple. All you need is the VIN number of the car you want to obtain a history report on, and your ZIP Code. After searching the records on the vehicle, Carfax will return the number of matches for the VIN number. For $15, you can order a detailed record of what was found, or for $20, be able to search Carfax and obtain detailed records on an unlimited number of cars for two months.

A Carfax report will give you the car's title history, mileage reports, any liens that may exist, and any records that indicate that the car is a lemon. In some cases, you may be able to access any police reports that Carfax has on a vehicle.

With this information, you can make an informed decision if the used car that you want is worth the price that's posted on the sticker.

Carfax is accessible via the web at www.carfax.com