I know that Carfax only has what is reported. I have considered a used small truck and a lot of dealers let you see the Carfax free. I just saw a 2008 ford Ranger and it had 3 reported accidents. 1. rear ended car 2009 2. hit tree 2010 3. hit parked car 2011 I feel sorry for the poor soul who buys this thing because it does not even have a low listed price.
I feel sorry for the guys who owned the cars you hit. I hope nobody was ever hurt. Thank God you didn’t hit a child.
Why did you hit the cars? I’ve been driving for over 45 years and I’ve never hit a car.
VolvoV70 isn’t the driver, TSM
The carfax on my car says it was rear ended in 06, and stolen in 08. I know these to be false since my mother owned this since new in 02 and I bought it in 2011.
I used the CarFax report when I bought my daughter a 2010 Cobalt. The car was 2 years old, had 14,000 miles, and was only $10,000 from a dealer. I thought something must be wrong. But the mileage between visits to the original dealer was evenly distributed between visits, not as though it had been off the road for a month with serious repairs. In this case, the car was only taken to a dealer for maintenance so it was easy for CarFax to follow. I called the Chevy dealer to decode what happened during the visits, and it really was just maintenance. I know that there are problems with services like CarFax, but in this case, the information really was useful.
Thanks for the correction Shadow.
Sincere apologies, Volvo.
Our old Civic was rear ended on fwy, pushing it into car stopped ahead. It was backed into at a gas pump by a Ford Excursion (couldn’t even see the Civic.) Finally, it was rear-ended at an intersection at 3 AM by a driver who waved my partner to the curb, then took off. Drunk, we think. Partner was getting off his shift at an HIV support hotline. Life really isn’t fair as that’s the accident that finally totalled the car. Poor little car had no luck, despite being red. It was perfectly reliable in ten years and we’d probably still have it without the wrecks. The first guy had no insurance so uninsured motorist coverage paid for it. But it didn’t pay for as much of the last incident because the guy wasn’t caught so we couldn’t say for sure he was uninsured. Just meant we had a bigger deductible, but still galling given what happened.
Insurance companies and wreck rebuilders (they go hand in hand) know that an ugly Carfax report means less profit so they have developed means to manage paperwork that avoids negative Carfax reports…
I can see the advantage of these services…if they are accurate. But what about the case where a auto is very well maintained by an independent shop. Doesn’t all their info come from only dealer repairs, or do small little independent shops have a way to include their work on the record???
If the small shop has no input, then the record will look like this car was poorly maintained, and selling the vehicle would bring a lower selling price.
This was the first thing I thought of when they started this independent drivetrain insurance.
How many shops within 50 miles of me honor this.
There are estimated to be over 200,000 independent shops in the U.S., and none of them has any reason whatsoever to report data to Carfax. Beyond that, there are countless shade tree mechanics, countless accidents that never get reported even to insurance companies, and privacy laws that prevent government agencies from disclosing data to any unauthorized person. In addition, there are flood-damaged vehicles that get their titles “washed” by multistate auto “groups” shifting the cars to states that do not require “salvage titles”, as well as countless thousands of privately owned vehicles damaged in natural disasters and other ways that get sold without the damage ever having been reported anywhere. And then there’re stolen vehicles.
Carfax attempts to create the image that they obtain their data from some national database that records damage to cars. There is none. None exists. That’s why Carfax always says “data reported to us”.
In addition, I’ve found personally lots of things in Carfax that are meaningless, but are there to get the customer to pay the fee to find out what Carfax shows for the vehicle. And IMHO there are also countless entries in Carfax that are just plain false. I know of one case personally where the Carfax report didn’t even describe the car correctly.
IMHO it’s long past time for Carfax to be investigated. And shut down. It’s fraud, IMHO.
I fully agree with mountainbike’s comments. ABC did a 20/20 segment a few years ago about the very issues mountainbike referred to but nothing changed. They still work on the same old misleading business model.
If I remember correctly, 20/20 had as part of that segment a story about a guy who bought a Corvette with a clean CF and it was discovered that the car had been wiped out and repaired.
Or the Carfax report on a SAAB 900 I owned some years back which Carfax showed to be “Currently stolen”. Not. It was not stolen and a little digging showed that it had never been stolen at any time. The car dealer I bought the car from (not a CF user) was a bit amused over this…
Having bought only three cars, all of them new, I’ve never had reason to consult CF reports but did run into a situation where CF was cited that was annoying. (Although before trading the '07 Impala I did run a CF report on it just to see if it showed any incorrect info that would affect my selling or trading it.)
In the process of shopping, ready to make a final choice, I asked to look over a specific trim level/features/color, brand new (not a demonstrator). Salesman trotted out what he claimed fit the bill. Even before starting a detailed look over, something seemed “off” looking at it from the side.
Raised the trunk lid to find what appeared to be sloppy welds around the trunk rim with excess paint slop on top of the welds. Ran my hand on the underside of the trunk rim to discover the welds were very raised, rough and with gaps. When I checked the interior discovered it had a couple hundred miles on it and stank of stale food and was quite dirty. Backed off about a dozen feet behind the car, squatted down level with the back bumper to eyeball it and could see the rear end was ever so slightly out of plumb horizontally. Immediately said I didn’t want it.
Salesman tried salvaging the transaction saying it had a clean Car Fax report. Hmmmm, supposedly spanking new car so why would it have a CF record?
Was told the interior could be detailed and that the sloppy welds were normal (even though the show floor model and the two I had test driven had no such problems with the welds). And if the car had been damaged that had to be disclosed to me or it couldn’t be sold as new. Don’t care, too many red flags. Good day, sir, think I’ll keep looking. Bye.
That’s another car salesman I royally pissed off.
The problem with Carfax is what they DON’T know…which unfortunately is significant.
They make it seem like people who use their service are getting this great service because we have everything ever done to every car on the road…when in fact their database has less then 10% of all accidents and repairs.
Dealers who give you free car-fax reports have a contract with Carfax to provide carfax with all repair data. In order to get data they must first provide data.
There are similar systems like LexisNexis. They are a company used by insurance companies to help detect fraud. The data is compilation of insurance companies clients…what they pay, their accidents, what vehicles they own…etc. If an insurance wants access to that data…they must first give them their own data of all their customers.
Carfax works with the same model…only they also deal with customers directly.
But even with all that data they get from dealers (and possibly insurance companies)…there is still much data that they can’t collect…and that’s where the problem is. People get one of these reports that indicates a clean vehicle…but there could have been a ton of work done on the vehicle (accidents, mechanic repairs) that was never reported to Carfax.
You are far better off spending a couple hundred bucks on an independent mechanic to go over any potential purchase…then rely on Carfax.
Mike, if missing information were the only problem it would still bother me because of the inaccurate way they promote themselves. But CF reports very often list things that simply aren’t true or accurate. Their data is simply garbage. And they take absolutely zero responsibility and have absolutely zero liability for the data’s accuracy.