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Carly launches free used car check: overview and Parkers' impressions

  • A used car check that's free for anyone to use
  • An overview of the report and our impressions
  • The pros and the cons

Written by Aaron Hussain Published: 3 July 2024 Updated: 3 July 2024

Carly, a firm specialising in app-based car diagnostics, has launched its new, completely free Carly Used Car Check, a tool for checking the full history of any car using its registration number.

To use it, you download the Carly app, select the Used Car Check section and type in a vehicle’s registration details. It will then show information about its mileage, tax, and MOT status. It’ll also show previous damage information, which, in some cases, will even include images of the damage.

It uses multiple data points to provide the user with a comprehensive, transparent history report of a used vehicle they might be interested in. You can think of it therefore as a free service which some other firms will charge a fee for, placing Carly in a unique position in the car check field.

Carly is a diagnostic specialist that predominantly sells a vehicle ODB scanner along with a couple of packages to give you access to diagnosing different vehicles and troubleshooting issues. When the app is downloaded, you will require a premium package in order to unlock other features, while the Used Car Check remains free of charge.

Our impressions:

We’ve tried it for ourselves, and although it’s nice to see it’s free, I couldn’t help but notice one or two flaws.

Carly Used Car Check

But first, the pros: you do get an easy-to-read report after typing in the registration. The mileage graph is useful for spotting any mileage discrepancies, and thankfully, none of the cars we typed in so far had any. You also get basic information on a vehicle’s tax and MOT status, but this information is already free on the DVLA.

However, what the DVLA doesn’t have are some rather nice specs at the bottom of the report. There, you can see how much power and torque the vehicle has as well as its top speed in both km/h and mph as well as a few other dimensional and technical specs. It even states the car model variant and trim in good detail, ensuring that the car you’re interested in matches up with the advert in hand.

Carly Used Car Check

Where the flaws begin however, are in the damage reports. I typed the registration number of my own car, and it states the MOT advisories are classed as damage. This becomes apparent when you type in different car regs, and when you can just look at these things on the DVLA, it doesn’t make Carly’s stand out.

However, I upped the ante and began typing in car registrations that had previously been involved in accidents. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find a significant damage report on the results. Perhaps I’ve not been lucky enough to find a car that has a fully comprehensive damage report in order to see it in crashed form. However, there is a statement on the damage section that a vehicle must be reported/registered with the insurance company or police in order for Carly to find it, thus stating that a car entered isn’t necessarily 100% damage-free.

Carly Used Car Check

With that said, the Carly App which houses the Used Car Check is incredibly easy to navigate. Every single menu is clear, and it didn’t take long for me to get used to it and learn about its different functions. You can even take the diagnostic scanner and use Carly’s Used Car Mileage Check if you have a vehicle at hand. You can also set your own maintenance schedule for things like the brakes, and there’s even an Intelligent Predictions function, which can detect potential future issues, so you can take preventative maintenance.

Overall, the Carly Used Car Check is a relatively useful tool; and it’s excellent to see one that’s free to use in a space where other firms will charge a chunky fee. However, it’s not without a few flaws, and Carly should realise that MOT advisories surely shouldn’t account for ‘damage’.

The simplest OBD scanner to use
The Carly Used Car Check is free for anyone who simply downloads the app and creates an account. However, to unlock some of the other features, such as the Used Car Mileage Check and other things, you need a Carly OBD2 Scanner and possibly a premium package, depending on what you want to use.


  • Incredibly easy to use and pairs easily with the app
  • Can potentially save you huge money on repairs
  • Mileage check feature is a useful tool


  • Most of the clever features require opting for the premium package

Aaron Hussain is a commercial content writer at Bauer Media writing for Parkers and CAR. He is obsessed with classic cars and anything with a fascinating story to tell.

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