Clean Carfax Clean Title?

When you search for a car online and see an advertisement for a vehicle which claims to have a “clean Carfax” – what exactly does that mean?

I believe there is a general misunderstanding of the relationship between a clean Carfax and a clean title.

Some people believe a clean Carfax means there is clean title.

In fact, a clean Carfax has nothing to do with title.

Clean title means that the seller has the title to the vehicle it is selling and is able to convey the title to the purchaser.

A Carfax report rarely shows anything about the title issue.

The information on a Carfax may include previous owners, servicing records, whether the vehicle has been in a wreck, mileage information, repairs, oil changes.

Although it does not directly show title issues, it does show the different owners of the vehicle over the years from the first sale of the vehicle.

As a general rule, then, a clean Carfax means that there are no significant previous wrecks or serious repairs to the vehicle.  It’s “condition” appears to be “clean”

Keep in mind, though, that even with a clean Carfax, one should not make a decision whether to purchase a vehicle solely based on what appears or does not appear on a Carfax report.

As I have written in a previous blog, Carfax is known for not having up to date, current data.  I have handled many cases where clients have bought vehicles with a “clean Carfax” only to check the report 6 months later,  to a see a major wreck reported on the Carfax.  So, while it is not a bad idea to check the Carfax when you are considering a particular vehicle, it should not be your only source of information.