HPI Checks Explained: Understanding the Issues They Might Uncover


‘HPI check’ is a term that most motorists will be familiar with, but many have only the vaguest understanding of what such a process entails. The letters stand for ‘historic to present information’, and the aim of the test is to give you as much detail as possible on the backstory of any potential purchase.

The performance of such a test thus enables you to make a fully informed decision when it comes to buying or hiring the vehicle in question. But what, exactly, does the process aim to uncover?

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Existing Ownership

For those buying used cars, there is always the danger that the vehicle belongs to someone else, often as the result of finance agreements gone wrong. In fact, one in four vehicles checked by professionals HPI Check were found to still have finance on them, meaning that the company concerned could feasibly seize the vehicle in lieu of payment should you fail to check that it’s debt-free.

Stolen Status

Of course, there is one other way that the vehicle could belong to somebody else: if it’s been stolen. Those who purchase such a vehicle, even unknowingly, can have the car seized without any sort of recompense, leaving them severely out of pocket. This means that it’s always important to check before you buy.


One method of adding value to a vehicle is to ‘clock’ it – to adjust the mileage in order to increase the vehicle’s value. Although the practice itself is actually lawful, trying to sell such a car isn’t. It can mean that not only are you being misled with regards to the motor’s likely wear and tear, but also that you could miss important service internals and work as a result. This could be very dangerous, and is just one more reason why you should have a HPI check performed before you purchase.


A practice that can be even more dangerous than clocking is trying to sell write-offs. When vehicles are seriously damaged, the insurer will either authorise repairs to them, or declare them a total loss. Where the latter is the case, the vehicle will be categorised. Those labelled A or B should never appear on the roads again, but those classified as C or D can be fixed and resold. A HPI check will ensure that this work has been properly carried out before you buy.

To ensure that you can make a fully-informed decision about your next motor, consider having a HPI check performed before you purchase.