There are two major players in the car VIN history report business Carfax and Autocheck. Carfax is the market share leader, but Autocheck reports may be a better value. Their stated missions is to make their car history reports as easy to read and understand as possible. According to company sources, the main element they are pushing to accomplish this goal is the “AutoCheck Score.”
What is it?
The Autocheck score is a summary of all the very detailed facts contained in the rest of the report. It is most useful when you are comparing vehicles of similar age and class and want to do so at a glance.
The Autocheck score is a scale that starts at one and ends at one hundred but that number has to be used in conjunction with the Score Range to really paint the most accurate picture of the condition of the car you are considering investing in.
Here’s an example: a 1999 Nissan Maxima has a score of 84 and the score range is 76-81. On the other hand a 2005 Chevy Malibu scores an 89 but the score range for this vehicle is 90-95. If you go on the score only it might seem that the Chevy is a better car than the Maxima but that is not quite the case.
The Maxima actually scored higher than other similar models would have been expected to (that’s the Autocheck score range) while the Chevy, with its score of 89, didn’t quite make the cut and hit the 90-95 mark that other vehicles its class would. So if you look at the big picture the Maxima would seem to be the better bet.
How is it Calculated?
The Autocheck score is calculated using a number of different factors. Age is an issue (usually the older a car is the lower the core but that is not always the case) mileage, number of owners, the class of vehicle (pick-up trucks and family sedans are two very different creatures) and of course any accidents or major repairs the car has undergone are taken into consideration as well.
Some people wonder where Autocheck actually get all their data from. Data is compiled from many sources including the Department of Motor Vehicles, salvage yards/recycling facilities, auctions, insurance companies, police departments and government agencies like FEMA (who track storm damage). The Autocheck report is an Experian product and all the expertise they have built over the years as one of the nation’s three credit bureaus is put to great use here.