Why a Carfax Report is Not the Complete Answer

You see the reports on TV almost every night. Check the Carfax. If it is clean, you are in the clear, right? I would not be so certain. A CARFAX report is not comprehensive and it usually does not contain the most up to date data. CARFAX gets no accident data from insurance companies except when cars have been totaled. Nor does it get records or accident data from all government agencies who report accidents. Much of the data from government agencies takes months to get, often long after wrecked cars have been re-built and re-sold.

See the recent ABC news report on CARFAX which includes an interview with the owner of CARFAX.

Then, read CARFAX’s own disclaimer:

“This CARFAX vehicle history report is based only on the information suppled to CARFAX and available as of [date…time] . Other information about this vehicle, including problems, may not have been reported to CARFAX. Use this report as one important tool, along with a vehicle inspection and test drive, to make a better decision about your next used car.”

Now that, actually, is good advice. CARFAX is an acceptive FIRST STEP. Just don’t base your entire decision upon the report. Get it inspected. Take it for a test drive. Ask questions.

Car dealers know the real facts about CARFAX. I have spoken to many purchasers who have bought used cars from dealers who make a big deal about the car having a clean CARFAX. They would hardly mention CARFAX if the report was not clean, would they? Car is bought. Then, a few months later, when car is taken in for repairs or taken to trade in on something else, purchaser finds out the car was involved in a major wreck. And guess what, now it shows up on CARFAX. Car dealers have been buying and selling cars, evaluating cars much much longer than CARFAX has been around. How did they evaluate cars before CARFAX? By looking them over; they know what to look for, they can tell if the car has been in a wreck before. THEY don’t really rely on CARFAX. And neither should you.