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What is a Carfax report?
A Carfax report is a record of an individual vehicle from the very beginning of its history to present day. Carfax uses a vehicle's VIN to bring up reports of accidents or repairs for that particular vehicle, alerting potential buyers to any previous issues.
What exactly is included in a Carfax report?
- Any previous accidents or damage to the vehicle, including whether the airbags have been deployed
- Odometer history to ensure accurate mileage
- Any issues with titling, including salvage, flooding or fire
- Any recalls or repurchases by dealers because of major problems, also referred to as lemon status
- Records of previous owners and the number of times the vehicle has been sold and length of ownership; also provides information as to whether the vehicle was used as a rental
- Any service and maintenance records that are available
- Whether the vehicle is still under warranty
- Crash-test results on the make and model, safety recalls and other information specific to the model
Where does Carfax get this information?
A bulk of the data comes from your very own Department of Motor Vehicles, but the information also comes from sources like insurance companies, car rental companies, collision-repair shops, law enforcement agencies, auction houses, inspection stations and dealerships.
Is Carfax worth it?
That's up to you! Often, buyers choose to get a PPI (pre-purchase inspection) on a car they're thinking about buying. Getting a Carfax report first can let you know if there are any potential problem areas that you should tell your mechanic to pay special attention to during their inspection. If you want to start the process, you can sign up for a Carfax report by clicking right here or you can check out our Cars For Sale page and look for the "Free Carfax Report" logo next to a listing to grab the report for free.
Is there anything else I can do to prepare when purchasing a used vehicle?
If you're currently shopping for a used vehicle, we recommend checking out the "Research" tab at the top of the Autoblog homepage. From there, we have several tools that can help you in your search for the perfect used car.
Car Finder – Our Car Finder tool can help you narrow down what kind of car might be best for you based on specific criteria such as your budget, what features are important to you and how many seats you're looking for.
Compare Cars – This tool can help you see the pros and cons of specific vehicles side-by-side if you're stuck between a few solid-looking choices.
Cost of Ownership – The Cost of Ownership tool can help you get a realistic estimate of the cost of any potential maintenance, repairs, insurance, and overall depreciation of a vehicle you might be considering.