Car Fax

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Jun 12, 2005
North Texas
How many of you would trust car fax history reports? Theres a 2004 Tacoma Double Cab im checking out on cregslist. I maybe selling my 2002 Tacoma Extended cab since its not a very good family truck.
Don't trust them.

In another car forum there is an instance of a guy buying a low mileage car from one of the rental companies, I believe.

The car has a clean Carfax. Some time after the sale, the guy starts to have all kinds of trouble with the car. Out of curiosity, he decides to have the Carfax run again.

Now it shows the car has been in a $15,000 accident. Carfax says they're not liable, they put the info in their report as soon as it was reported to them.

So that's the value of Carfax.
When I worked selling cars I ran many car fax reports, do I trust them? No! First off it takes a long time for an accident event to actually show up on car fax, secondly there are many accidents that are not reported, and if they weren't reported they don't show up. Finally never accept a car fax report from a dealer, I've seen reports that showed accidents that were doctored up by management before they were turned over to a customer.

I had an E-150 van that was legally parked and totaled, which I bought back from the insurance company. Two years after I decided to sell it. I ran a car fax report on it, the accident which was reported never showed up. They are far from fool proof.

Car Fax is a tool that has its limitations, if you decide to buy from a dealer, run it yourself. You'd be surprised to see some of them are actually tampered with.
Originally Posted By: demarpaint
Car Fax is a tool that has its limitations, if you decide to buy from a dealer, run it yourself. You'd be surprised to see some of them are actually tampered with.
+1 sounds like sound advice. I'd say it's one thing to look at, but as said, doesn't eliminate the need to do your own inspection/research.

I now see all these dealers advertising having carfax, that alone is enough to make me suspicious.
A smart used car manager checks a car, racks it, then runs a Car Fax before he puts a number on a trade. I worked with some real gem used car managers, that ran a Car Fax when a customer asked for it, and then discovered the report was bad. To save face they'd doctor the report. Once in a while a smart customer who ran a Car Fax on their own called them out. The the excuses on how the papers were blown on the floor and the report must have gotten mixed up with another started flying. Pure total [censored]! But most people didn't want to pay for their own report so they thought they were saving money when they were handed a report. Then as I mentioned how accidents weren't reported or never made a report, I wouldn't trust them at all. When buying a used car do your homework!

I worked with a moron manager who knew nothing about engines, transmissions or how to check them. He knew how to check for body damage. He didn't send the cars to the shop because the shop charged the used car dept to check them. Many times I would drive a customers trade over to the shop to be prepped for the line. It was then that I discovered the car needed a transmission or engine work. It was policy that a salesman had this manager handle the numbers for the trade, and the salesmen were to shut up, and let this A-hole handle the trade. I would tell the manager who took the trade the car was a lemon, after I took it to the shop for prep. He'd get [censored] at me. So I kept my mouth shut, and laughed when I found a car with a problem.
from personal experience they are OK / not OK ????

they are a "tool" but they are not foolproof!!!

case in point I ran a carfax on the van we bought. it came back clean however after having the van for a while I began to notice obvious signs of an accident like different paint on the strut towers, the metal on the right front fender is noticeably thinner and shows more recent paint than the rest of the van and other tell tale signs that it has had an accident and looks like a new clip was put on.... NONE of this was listed on the carfax soooooo.....

use them at your own risk they are helpful but only to an extent and are not foolproof!!!
Never buy a used car from anybody, except maybe Aunt Betty's estate. Never got a good one in over 20 purchased. And I worked as NIASE Master Mechanic and check vehicles over thoroughly* on lift and extended drive ...

* Yeah, not thoroughly enough
I've had good luck buying used cars from private sellers. I always took my father with me. He was pretty good at checking things out, and perhaps lucky too.

Ive always didnt like buying used cars. One day while [censored] online i went to Carmax looking at used Honda Crv's. Found a 2008 with 8K miles for 19,000...makes me wonder if something was wrong with the car or was it involved in a accident. Those V's for a well equited one goes for 10,000 more.
Some dealers buy damaged cars at auction, then fix them up and sell for a profit. I have seen many cars on the CAR MAX website that had obvious damage.
Is there a difference in reliability between Car Fax and Autocheck?

I ran Autocheck for prospective cars when I was car shopping this past January and there were quite a few that showed up with reported frame damage.
They are good for determining if the car was a previous rental, but other than that useless.
They are only as good as the people reporting the data. Some guy can have his truck t-boned, cough up 10k fix it himself and not report the accident. Then ta-da you end up with a big pos.

Happens quite often.
Originally Posted By: LT4 Vette
Some dealers buy damaged cars at auction, then fix them up and sell for a profit. I have seen many cars on the CAR MAX website that had obvious damage.

Exactly, I had made a post in another thread regarding this. Nissan 46 in NJ sold two Altimas(one to my fiance and her father). They ran an autocheck or had a saved version of it and it came clean. The cars were in accidents(several) and showed up shortly after purchasing the car. The car was in the dealers hands for 2 years! Either they hit something and kept it under the table or failed to report the data(2 years?).

Fiance was having all kinds of trouble with the car, no dealer wanted it because of the carfax. She bought it for like 18(after tax etc) and she owed 12-13. Dealers were offering her 2-3k for it. Finally found a dealer that gave her 10k, rolled the remainder onto a 2003 Grand AM GT Ram Air. She made out in the end(better car) but I hate sheisty people.
I only buy used cars from people I know. For example I have a neighbor who leases Hondas or Toyotas for 3 years. No kids. Low mileage driver and always has the oil changed with valvoline synthetic every 5000 miles. If I want his used lease I will pay to have the trans and diffs flushed at 30k and then assume the lease at the last payment and buy it out at the end. No markup and I always know the full history of the vehicle.
I buy used stuff with obvious issues from private parties that don't feel like paying mechanics to do the work. I'll budget a "worst case scenario" and got close to it with a taurus
but otherwise come out way ahead.

Of several three-to-six year old dealer used car purchases I've made or been involved in, two or three have been repo's and I found out when they brought me the titles with "affadavits of reposession" attached! (I forget to ask.) One of those had an eventual, unusual death (GM 3.8 spun bearing) but I can't say for sure it was neglected before the sale.

Carfax is a warm and fuzzy tool that acts more like a blinder than anything. They do have an unlimited, short term subscription that would be useful for calling dealers on shenanigans. But there could be so much more wrong.

The worst cars for shenanigans are the expensive luxury one-year-old things like Cayennes etc. There's a profit motive for rebuilding some real twisted pretzels.
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