Vehicle History Reports

Learn about the importance of getting one & the three primary suppliers to choose from

Purchasing a used vehicle? The VSA recommends a vehicle history report (VHR). These reports are provided by a majority of licensed dealers as part of the disclosure process. If a dealer does not automatically provide a VHR, ask for one. Or purchase your own.

Things to consider

  • A VHR is only one step in the buying process
  • A physical and a mechanical inspection are also recommended to help evaluate a used vehicle
  • If a dealer provides a report, pay attention to the information shown in the report and the representations made by the dealer
  • Be sure to look at the date the report was run and to any limitations mentioned in the report
  • A dealer can be held accountable if misrepresentations about the contents or the accuracy of a report are made
  • Lien checks are essential if you are buying privately. These can be purchased as part of some reports or separately from BC Online. For more information, please visit the website for BC Online

Limited Exceptions

  • You may be able to return a vehicle if the dealership has an advertised or stated return policy. Not all dealers do this and the terms of the return policy will vary by dealer
  • If you are leasing a vehicle, you may be able to return a vehicle because there is a one clear day cooling-off period. This means that, unless you waived your right to the cooling-off period in writing, you can cancel the lease without penalty within this time period. One clear day (definition can be found at this link) is a legal period that can change due to holidays, Sundays and other factors
  • You may be able to return a vehicle that did not meet the minimum standards required for a motor vehicle to be driven on the road at the time you bought it
  • You may be able to return a vehicle if, when it was sold to you, there was a material misrepresentation about the vehicle—such that the vehicle cannot be used as designed or in the way you told the dealer you intended to use the vehicle


There are currently three primary vehicle history report suppliers to choose from. No report is recommended over the other. Choose one that best fits your needs:

  • ICBC Claims History Reports reports detail damages and repairs that have occurred in BC, provide the title status, any damages claimed through ICBC and import history. ICBC reports note if a vehicle was imported into BC, but will not provide any history from outside of BC
  • CARFAX Canada provides reports with the most damage and registration information for Canadian vehicles. These reports include ICBC data and private repair details. Report options range from online damage checks to comprehensive reports that include cross-Canada lien searches and may contain recall information
  • CARFAX USA – Caution: These reports do not include important BC and Canadian data


These reports are not 100% accurate and many have limitations. Completing a vehicle inspection prior to purchase is highly recommended.

Free online tools

*A VIN is the unique Vehicle Identification Number for each vehicle

If you have any questions, please contact VSA Consumer Services.

NOTE: This is to provide general information and is not intended to be legal advice.

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