Monday, June 25, 2012

How reliable is CARFAX?

When I sell a used car to a customer,  one of the most common questions is..."Does it have a clean Carfax?" or "Do you have the Carfax?"
Carfax is an important tool that can give a buyer or seller some good information ,but it is not always accurate. Carfax is only as good as who or what is reporting to it.
As a used car dealership, it is a great tool when we buy a car wholesale or take in a trade to see the possible number of owners, service history, accidents or open recalls. It can affect the value of a trade. Some dealers don't even want to have cars on their lots anymore if there is a "BAD" Carfax! Meaning that an accident has been reported.

Here is what I find to be ironic about this whole process. In the past couple of years I have found that Carfax does not know all!!! I knew a customer that wanted to trade in a car to me. It was a high end car that looked to be in pretty good shape. This customer disclosed to me that it had been in an accident that had caused about $12000.00 in damage. I would have never known that because it had a clean Carfax. Meaning the accident was not reported. I was wholesaling the car and I mentioned to the dealer that the customer disclosed the accident. The dealer said "I don't care as long as it has a clean Carfax!" This has happened on a number of  occasions. How reliable is Carfax?

Perspective is so key. Here is another side to Carfax that is frustrating. A car may be in one of those accidents where there is NO damage. Everyone walks away and nothing happens to the car. This will get reported to Carfax. Those cars now have a BAD Carfax and are worth less on trade or selling because of that. Sometimes they will report to Carfax that there was "very minor damage". This is helpful because it will not scare people as much when they go to purchase or a dealer takes it in on trade.

We all want to be protected from the bad car deal, buying a lemon or getting scammed. I think that when we run on fear, we end up over thinking and letting our fear make financial decisions. Slow down and use this information as a tool. Carfax is a tool that can help you, but at the end of the day if your buying any used car, have it inspected by your mechanic and a body shop. It will take more time and maybe a few bucks, but will be so worth it over the long term!


  1. Hi Katie!

    Thanks for the great info.!

    U said u consider yourself as a "dealership alternative." Are u available for hire as a consultant to find cars that are reliable, haven't been in accidents, etc.? Or do u only sell cars personally?

    I would love someone with your kind of experience to help me find a used BMW 5 series (preferably 528i or 530) year '98 or later. I'm willing to spend up to $10,000 (through financing.) I'd like to put 0$ down and finance or up to $1000 down.

    Can u help in any way? I definitely don't want to get stuck with a lemon or a pre-wrecked-and-fixed-by-mechanic car. Safety is very important to me as I commute for most of the day, 6 days a week in the business I'm in.

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  3. I meant willing to spend up to $10,000 on the BMW.

    We could talk about the price for the consulting through private e-mail or messenger, etc.

  4. On you can get genuine CARFAX and AutoCheck reports for just 4.5$ if you buy both together or 5$ for each, but the good side is that payment is through PayPal, so it is safe.

  5. Here you can find a much better option than Carfx with it and cheaper.
    instavin reviews

  6. Hi, just want to add information to the discussion, you can also use this coupon to get a discounted VIN check I hope it helps :)

  7. Great information Katie! Carfax is good but not always reliable and that is why I'm always searching for good sources of vehicle history reports. Autocheck is just similar to carfax but still I'm not satisfied with their reports and the cost is totally expensive for just a single report. Why would I get reports from them if I can get them from VINaudit for only $4.99 or $3 if you buy a bucket of 10 reports?

  8. @Mark Kellogg, dealers get VinAudit reports for just $1 each and its unlimited over the whole month of subscription HERE.

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  11. Katie, why even spend money on something that should be free? I suggest to try this cool free vin check service by, you will not be disappointed!