General

Best Auto Check Websites 2022

Best Auto Check Websites 2022

The boom in used car prices has not only made buying a car more expensive, but also made the whole process more risky. As the value of used vehicles has skyrocketed, it has become much more attractive to rebuild crashed cars, which previously would not have been financially viable.

Desperate buyers may also consider cars with checkered pasts, and criminals will see even bigger profits by stealing popular models and hiding their identities, making it more important than ever to do a data check before buying a car.

Also known as HPI checks, these are taken for granted by most dealers, but not all will reveal a car’s full history. If you’re buying from a private seller, be sure to do your own research to avoid buying a vehicle that still belongs to a finance company, gets stolen, or has been written off.

There are plenty of options online, but which site is the best for spotting duds?

How we tested them

Using the registrations of cars spotted at salvage auctions and other sales sites, we asked the data check companies for reports. We then assessed the clarity and accuracy of the information provided.

All sites were expected to report registered issues, so we were also looking for additional information to help buyers avoid issues. Finally, we also looked at the cost of the checks, both as an individual purchase and as a package. These are often significantly cheaper by check and allow you to shortlist potential purchases.

verdict

Choosing a data check can be as perplexing and complex as buying the car itself. Only two sites saw all of our dodgy cars – TotalCarCheck and Vcheck. TotalCarCheck wins because it is cheaper, has more data and is slightly more user-friendly.

The rivals were way behind, but MotorCheck is the best of the rest. If it got a faster server and added a salvage site search, it could be a winner.

  1. TotalCarCheck
  2. VCheck
  3. EngineCheck

Reviews

TotalCarCheck

  • Price (single check): £8.99
  • Price (five checks): £19.99
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Contact: totalcarcheck.nl

TotalCarCheck is still our first port of call when researching a car’s history, in part because it gives away a surprising amount of data for free and has a basic check available for £1.99.

Upgrade to a full Gold package and you get pretty much everything you need to make an informed purchase decision in an easy-to-understand format. This includes a dragnet of data from salvage auctions to spot cars that are damaged, but have not yet been marked as written off by the insurance industry’s database. This is also one of the cheapest sites.

Visit totalcarcheck.co.uk

VCheck

  • Price (single check): £9.99
  • Price (five checks): £35
  • Rating: 4.5 stars
  • Contact: vcheck.uk

Vcheck offers one of the easiest and most hassle-free ways to check a car and we were very pleased with the clarity of the reports. Where a problem was noted, a warning was highlighted at the top of the page.

There are cheaper basic checks available, but the full £9.99 package includes all the information you need, as well as a £40,000 guarantee. It successfully spotted our dodgy cars, including a Golf that had been up for sale at a salvage auction. The only reason it loses to TotalCarCheck is because it’s more expensive, especially for a package of checks.

Visit vcheck.uk

EngineCheck

  • Price (single check): £9.99
  • Price (five checks): £19
  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Contact: motorcheck.nl

We really like how MotorCheck targets the ‘average’ buyer, with jargon-free explanations and guides. There’s a neat timeline that also shows the history of the car, although we’d like it to highlight issues more prominently.

However, we have a few complaints. It sometimes took several minutes to generate a report, even over Wi-Fi – this can be embarrassing if you’re waiting with a salesperson. More disturbingly, there is no auction check, so it gave a clean bill of health to a Golf that had been in one fell swoop.

Visit motorcheck.nl

Mycarcheck

  • Price (single check): £9.99
  • Price (five checks): £24.95
  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Contact: mycarcheck.com

After you have provided your email address and some details, Mycarcheck will give you a valuation and the freely available APK information. An upgrade to the £3.99 basic check adds a lot more data, including if a car has been written off or scrapped, but not the outstanding financial check. To get this later you need to pay £6.99. There is also no search for a salvage auction.

The report is quite comprehensive, but could have been clearer about issues. We also couldn’t see a data guarantee.

Visit mycarcheck.com

AA Car Check

  • Price (single check): £14.99
  • Price (five checks): £29
  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Contact: theaaacarcheck.com

The AA’s offering uses HPI’s data and has very similar reports to the supplier, but it’s a fiver cheaper on a check. The data is extensive, but perhaps too detailed and too full of jargon for the average motorist.

There are also annoyances – even if you’ve bought a pack of checks, you’ll have to re-enter your personal information and be charged £2.99 for manufacturer recalls, which are available for free on the government’s MoT website.

Visit theaaacarcheck.com

Caranalytics

  • Price (single check): £9.95
  • Price (five checks): £49.75
  • Rating: 3 stars
  • Contact: caranalytics.co.uk

Caranalytics offers a decent amount of data for free and a little more if you upgrade to the basic £1.99 check. The full package has a reasonable price of £9.95 and contains all the important information in a simple format, but a £30,000 guarantee costs an extra £2. There is also no bulk buy package.

We also found it brutal to include ads in the resulting report, and there is no auction search. You can get better checks for less money.

Visit caranalytics.co.uk

HPI

  • Price (single check): £19.99
  • Price (five checks): £59.94
  • Rating: 3 stars
  • Contact: hpicheck.com

As you would expect from the market-leading giant, the HPI report is vastly expanded with exceptional detail. There is also a handy Fraud Guard option, which allows you to check V5 registration document and serial numbers and VIN data against the HPI and DVLA databases.

However, there is no reason to pay the high prices. The AA check is identical and five cheaper, while others offer five checks for the price of one from HPI.

Visit hpicheck.com

Green flag one check

  • Price (single check): £9.99
  • Price (five checks): £49.95
  • Rating: 3 stars
  • Contact: greenflag.com

Green Flag’s product has had a major makeover since our last test and is better. It’s an acceptable value for a single check and also gives away a fair amount of information about the car for free.

But the final report is very simple and it didn’t find a car that was reported stolen and has since been recovered. A single report costs £9.99, but there are no discounts for buying multiple checks. We can’t think of any reason to recommend it over rivals here.

Visit greenflag.com

car guide

  • Price (single check): £8.99
  • Price (five checks): £19.96
  • Rating: 2.5 stars
  • Contact: autogids.nl

All websites try to add something extra. Carguide has a tool to predict the operating costs you are likely to incur when buying a car.

This huge amount of data can make the site confusing, and some terms have been used to make search engines happy rather than making it easy for customers. But our main problem is that it failed to notice our sample wave, which was listed in a salvage auction, despite the fact that it’s one of the checks it runs.

Visit autogids.co.uk

Take care of your car with this year’s Product Award winners…