Buy, sell and trade your stock

Vehicle Check

Your vehicles checked, your customers reassured

Research has shown that knowing whether a vehicle has a clear history or not is a major factor in the purchase process for car buyers. 77% of car buyers said they would be more likely to contact or visit a retailer after seeing a full vehicle check on an Auto Trader advert.1

So, we set out to introduce Vehicle Check, which offers huge benefits for retailers and car buyers. As a retailer, you have access to run unlimited vehicle history checks for vehicles you’re looking to buy or take in part exchange, in partnership with Experian. In addition, all your advertised vehicles on Auto Trader will show the summary results of the vehicle check increasing trust and transparency with car buyers.

See Vehicle Check in action

Unlimited Vehicle Checks

No caps or limits, run as many vehicle checks as you need for your business; whether you’re buying at auction, taking a part-ex or sourcing from your network. Our checks are run in partnership with Experian, to give you confidence from a trusted brand. They’re mobile friendly too, so you can easily check on the go. Our fair usage policy is designed to prevent misuse and not restrict legitimate usage.2

Reassure Your Customers

Car buyers have told us how important it is to be sure the car they’re buying doesn’t have any hidden history. They also value impartiality and said they would trust checks provided by Auto Trader more than checks provided by a dealer directly1. With a summary of our checks displayed on your Auto Trader advert, you can offer the reassurance car buyers need.

What car buyers are saying1

Auto Trader seems to be a company that I would trust. If I saw an online advert that said it had a full vehicle check, I would definitely feel more confident in buying that vehicle. Peter, 43, Newcastle
Having a vehicle check on an advert would make me much more confident about going to see a vehicle … really it would give so much more peace of mind. Farooq, 52, London

How it works

Checking vehicles pre-purchase

  1. Enter the VRM and mileage in Portal and click "Find vehicle”.
  2. Check the vehicle found is correct, then click the “Vehicle Check” or “Retail Check” button, depending on which products you use.
  3. Once you've run the report, we'll show you the at-a-glance results, or you can click to view and download the full report.

Reviewing your forecourt

The forecourt view is available on the Stock & Ads page in Portal and makes running and reviewing checks quick and easy. Every stock unit will have a Vehicle Check status and you can filter this column to show vehicles with an issue such as outstanding finance or a mileage discrepancy. You can also run, update or view the latest report using this view with a single click.

Vehicle Check trade report

Our checks, supported by Experian data, show you all common vehicle provenance data points, including:

  • Outstanding finance & lender details
  • Vehicle registration data
  • Stolen, scrapped or written off status
  • Import or export history
  • Recorded mileage history
  • Plate changes & colour changes
  • Number of previous owners
  • MOT History
  • And more…

Vehicles which you check before purchasing are covered by a 12 month data guarantee of up to £18,000, subject to terms and conditions.

View sample online report View sample PDF report

Advertising vehicles

  1. Advertise the vehicle as normal, whether through Portal or a stock feed.
  2. Vehicle Check will automatically run a report which is displayed on your Auto Trader advert to reassure car buyers.
  3. If the vehicle has outstanding private finance, we will automatically update the check once Experian notify us that the finance has been cleared. To update any other status or discrepancy you need to contact Experian’s dedicated support line 0344 481 0078, then update the check manually using the Vehicle Check forecourt view once the issue has been resolved.

Vehicle check displayed on your adverts

The Vehicle Check stand-out is displayed in a prominent position on your Auto Trader advert alongside specification and running costs, delivering trust and transparency to consumers. Where a vehicle shows all clear, we’ll highlight this so the consumer can see at-a-glance. Where there is something that the consumer needs to be aware of, we include helpful information which explains more about what it means and encourages them to get in touch with the seller.

Got questions?

If your question isn’t answered below, your Account Manager will be happy to help.

Our fair use policy is designed to ensure legitimate and fair usage. We will only take action where usage is excessive or unfair, for example; checking cars for other retailers or other sites in your group who do not pay for the service.

You can find the policy in more detail here:

You can refresh the Vehicle Check if you believe the status has changed by re-running the report from within the stock item condition & history tab in Portal. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, you can contact Experian on 0344 481 0078 and they will help you to resolve your query (calls are charged at the standard landline rate).

If the report has provided you contact details for the data source (such as outstanding finance records) you can also contact the source directly, using the data provided in the report, to see if you can resolve your query.

If your query is regarding the MOT data, this is managed by Auto Trader, so please contact Auto Trader Product Support. Alternatively, you can use the DVSA service directly at

Yes. When you advertise stock via a stock feed, vehicles which are advertised will be automatically checked and the results shown on your adverts. However, you will need a Portal login to interactively check vehicles, before you buy them and refresh any previous checks.

We recognise that it takes time to clear the finance on a car and customers want to advertise their cars as soon as possible. Therefore, we have now changed outstanding finance to no longer appear as an ‘issue’ in the FPA and it now appears as a green ‘Pass with advisory’ flag.

Analysis proves that a ‘Pass with advisory’ flag does not impact performance of the FPA

We’ve also taken a fresh approach to how vehicle checks are summarised on adverts and unlike conventional reports, we won’t flag unit stocking finance as an alert to buyers, as we know this shouldn’t impact consumers.

Vehicle Check enables you to check any car or van. A vehicle check will work for any VRM which is registered with the DVLA, including those registered in Northern Ireland and private/cherished plates. Due to the complexity of the data, it is possible that a vehicle check may not work for a very recent cherished plate transfer.

Any other type of plate, including those from the Republic of Ireland, will not work with the vehicle check product.

We’ve chosen to work with trusted partner Experian to power our vehicle check service, and they take every precaution to ensure that the data supplied to you is correct and complete. However, due to the complexity of the information provided, there will be a small number of occasions when a piece of data is not passed correctly in the vehicle check.

To help ensure that you do not suffer a financial loss due to incorrect or incomplete data, we are able to offer a data guarantee. This is included at no extra cost and guarantees specified data provided up to a maximum of £18,000 for 12 months.

To qualify for the data guarantee, you must carry out the check yourself, before you have purchased the vehicle.

For full details of the data guarantee provided by Experian, including any limitations and exclusions, please see the Vehicle Check Terms and Conditions .

We would always recommend you download and/or print the PDF version of every full check report you run, to ensure any claims can be processed more easily.

Please note: the data guarantee only provides coverage against losses that relate to data issues and no other losses (for example the data guarantee does not cover any losses arising from a vehicle's physical condition, value or valuation, MOT history, specification, fuel consumption or dimensions, except as otherwise stated in the terms and conditions).

Currently Vehicle Check is only available to customers with an Auto Trader car or van advertising contract and isn’t available for pay as you go, or private sellers.

If you choose not to take Vehicle Check, your adverts will continue to show the 5 basic checks we perform today. However, you will not get access to other features, such as the full retailer report, the ability to run unlimited full vehicle checks to check stock you’re looking to buy or take as part exchange, and the data guarantee. You will also be offering the consumer less information and transparency on your full page advert.

The data we receive from Experian updates every 24 hours, meaning within the same day there won’t be any changes to vehicle check information. Experian then send us a daily update of any finance cleared and we automatically update the adverts to appear as a Clear check, without the retailer having to recheck the car themselves.

If another retailer performs a check on a vehicle you have in stock, this will update the check information on that vehicle and show the new information on the full page advert.

Experian receive daily updates from their suppliers (including the DVLA, Motor Insurance Bureau, and finance houses / lenders). But It can take some finance houses several days to update their records and pass this information back to Experian, so in some cases, even though finance has cleared, there may be a delay before our vehicle check data will show this change.

Experian is working closely with the finance lenders to speed up this process so we can clear checks as quickly as possible.

We believe promoting trust and transparency to consumers is important and so you will not be able to edit or remove the data that is shown to consumers. If a vehicle status has changed, the report can be refreshed, and Experian will rectify any incorrect data, as quickly as possible.

Yes, in rare occasions a vehicle check may fail, for example if the VRM isn’t valid, there is an issue with Experian’s service or the VRM and VIN supplied don’t match the latest DVLA data. Don’t worry, we'll still publish the advert as normal, but without the full check results. The forecourt view in Portal will show you any failed checks and you can refresh checks for affected vehicles. Once a successful check is performed, this will update to show in the full page advert.

When you log into Portal, there will be a new metric added to your home screen which will show you the count of advertised vehicles on with non-clear checks. From there, you can view a filtered list of your forecourt stock, showing only these vehicles, allowing you to quickly view the vehicle check result and refresh as necessary.

Outstanding finance is still flagged as an issue in Portal to the retailer as they need to know they need to clear the finance. However, we now make it clear to the retailer in Portal that the car will appear as a ‘Pass with advisory’.

Experian now have dedicated resource to manage Auto Trader customer queries as quickly as possible. You can raise a query through your Account Manager or by calling the Experian support line on 0344 481 0078

Experian are working to continually improve their processes and that of finance lenders to ensure Vehicle Check data is as accurate and as close to real time as possible, with the aim of providing a great overall customer experience.

Experian notify us of finance updates on any advertised stock on Auto Trader, which we then use to automatically generate fresh check reports with no manual intervention required from retailers.

Mileage data is supplied from both industry recognised bodies such as the DVLA and BVRLA as well as a number of other reputable sources. In addition to this, Experian also sources mileage records directly from the previous owners of a vehicle, to support or challenge the mileage history.

Occasionally mileage discrepancies are returned in a Vehicle Check, indicating possible clocking of a vehicle or a genuine data capture error in the vehicle’s past. To support retailers, Experian has a dedicated customer support team on hand that will help investigate these cases on your behalf.

The best way to raise a data query is to send an email to Experian’s dedicated customer support team. Experian operate a 48hr SLA on any emails they receive although this may increase at peak times.


1Auto Trader independent research conducted December 2018 on a representative sample of 1,037 UK car buyers.

2 Usage must be for legitimate business purposes only. You must be checking vehicles you're looking to source for your business. Checks must be carried out for your dealership site only or at group level where all sites subscribe to the service. You should not carry out excessive refreshes on already checked vehicles. Full terms and conditions can be found here:

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