Carfax for Motorcycles
Last updated Thursday, August 31st, 2023
As most people who have bought a used car are aware, Carfax can be a valuable resource in finding information about a vehicle. They are best known for their Vehicle History Report, which provides information about the number of owners a car has had, any accidents it may have been in, and maintenance records. Those who are looking to purchase a used motorcycle may look to Carfax for motorcycles to see the same.
Can I Use Carfax for a Motorcycle?
Carfax states on its website that it specializes only in cars and light trucks. However, some motorcycles are on Carfax. The database does not cover all VIN numbers, though, so a motorcycle not being found on Carfax does not mean that the seller is not legitimate.
If you do find a motorcycle on Carfax, you should be able to purchase a history report on it. Reports are $39.99 for one, $59.99 for three, or $99.99 for six. A Carfax report includes a detailed ownership history, title history broken down by owner, any additional history such as structural damage or accidents reported, and a detailed history of vehicle service, title updates, and damage reports. Carfax reports are extremely thorough and a great resource in determining the quality of a vehicle, but again, few motorcycles are included in their VIN database.
Are There Alternatives to Carfax?
Yes, there are! Some websites are available to check the history of motorcycles based on the VIN, such as VINData.com and cycleVIN.com.
VINData offers reports on cars, motorcycles, power sport vehicles, commercial trucks, RVs or campers, and classic cars. Its website also states that they specialize in reports for specialty vehicles, such as motorcycles, heavy trucks, and RVs.
There are multiple purchase options – $14.99/report for one report or $9.99/report for three, as well as a Dealer Program which allows for unlimited reports. Data in the reports is sourced from the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), which all states, insurance carriers, and junk salvage yards are legally required to report their data to.
VINData is an authorized provider and reseller of the title and brand data sourced through the DMV, as well. Reports include vehicle specifications; disclosure of title status such as junk, salvage, or total loss; current and past title information; trade-in and retail value; odometer information; open recalls; and warranty information.
CycleVIN deals exclusively with motorcycles, so you are more likely to find a bike in their database than in Carfax’s. The goal stated on the website is to “become the primary source for Motorcycle and other Power Sports VIN checks, and to be known as a reputable, reliable source of VIN check information…”
Its Motorcycle History Report is $25, but they do offer other free reports on motorcycle specifications and market value. Additional content is also available if you create an account.
CycleVIN is partnered with salvage motorcycle yards, insurance companies, banks/loan companies, DMVs in each state, federal motor vehicle associations, and government databases. Data is reported often to ensure accuracy. The history reports include vehicle specifications, title records, junk/salvage/insurance records, theft records, lien/impound/export records, and a section listing any issues found with the vehicle.
Are There Free Reports to Research the History of a Motorcycle?
While VINData and CycleVIN are great resources, they both charge for their reports, which can be costly if you are trying to compare multiple bikes. There are also sites like VinFreecheck.com, which allows you to find a motorcycle both through VIN and US license plate.
VinFreecheck will generate a report with some content immediately viewable and some behind a paywall. If you so choose, you can pay to unlock the entire NVMTIS approved report. Free content includes some vehicle specifications, some non-title related checks such as a junk or rebuilt record, some title related checks such as insurance loss record, number of accident records, number of odometer records, and a partial history of title records. This can be a great resource for a cursory check of a motorcycle you are considering to see if it has a junk record or a number of past accidents.
Another free resource is VINPIT.com, which has a specific motorcycle section. The report details stated on its website include number of owners, any outstanding dues, history of theft, odometer rollbacks, state agency brands, insurance claims, market value, and recalls/warranties.
It also includes a Frequently Asked Questions section with recall records, accident records, engine type, and auction records. VINPIT also links to Bumper, another paid vehicle report service, if you would like more detail. However, there may not be much information on motorcycles in the Bumper database.
Exercise caution when using free reports, as they may not be complete or accurate. Remember, you get what you pay for. That being said, a free partial report can be a great first step in comparing motorcycles and deciding which ones to pursue further.