How accurate is Carfax reports?

Looks like there is a big gap between oil changes like 40k should I avoid this car? Is there a way to make sure this car was maintained?

Not all shops provide information to CarFax. It’s worth looking at, but I wouldn’t depend on it for a decision. If you drove the car and did a thorough inspection yourself and like it, pay a shop for a pre-purchase inspection. If it comes through clean, consider buying it.


I would add to @jtsanders excellent advice that you may wish to ask the owner for any maintenance receipts they have.


I would not trust Carfax at all a guy I knew bought a new car five years later he wanted to sell it he got all his maintenance receipts together an decided to pull a Carfax report as another selling point the Carfax reported the car stolen and totaled two years before.

When I change oil in my garage, I don’t report it to carfax, so my car will look like it never had the oil changed. On star though records it on the Pontiac when you push the reset button. It’s not public information though and the have no idea if I actually change it or just hit the reset. None are reliable.


Even the disclaimer on the Carfax web says they only have what is reported to them .


It is from a dealer. Is there even a way to reach the previous owner? I would assume dealer wouldn’t provide that info.

The dealer might contact the previous owner and see if they can give out any service records but they can’t just give it to you . If they got it at auction they may not be able to contact the previous owner . Frankly if the odometer mileage is correct then just buy it or move on to something else.

Why is your profile hidden ? The FBI , CIA and NASA already know where you are.

Because I run a darkweb business.

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I would take a look at the car, remove the oil fill cap, and look inside. If the car really went 40,000 miles with no oil change, or even 20,000 miles for that matter, you will see baked-on sludge on the valvetrain, baffle(s), and on the inside of the oil fill cap. The probability that a modern vehicle could go this long without an oil change, and still run reasonably well is pretty much nil.

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I sold a 2016 car recently to an online gig. I was the 1st owner and had done extensive maintenance to it, in my garage. Every 3.5K synthetic oil changes, transmission fluid, brake fluid, tire rotation and new tires, new battery. All done as DIY with receipts. When they listed the car, I looked at the carfax and there was only one entry. The purchase date/event.

Correct. Then do a pre-purchase inspection with a independent mechanic (NOT at the dealership) . If they refuse to let you take the car to your own mechanic, walk away.

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carFax is about as accurate as the weather reports, but at least the weather reporting is getting better.

The problem with Carfax is what’s NOT on the report. None of the oil changes on any of my vehicles will show up on a carfax report because I do my own oil changes and most other maintenance. Carfax gets a lot of their accident reports from insurance companies, but in many states that information is not allowed to give to third party. If there is something on the report then it’s probably true. But you never know what’s NOT on the report.


Accuracy of Carfax depends on the accuracy of the data submitted, period.
Whomever entered the data may have erred.
Data might be entered under wrong VIN.

As noted in above replies, not all shops submit information, DIY maintenance/repairs are not entered.

Can happen in any situation.
Had a college professor enter the wrong data, took me half of a semester to get it corrected, restoring my A grade.
Some are deliberate, had a coworker insist on reporting data outside of the linearity of the test equipment, she did not last long.

I suspect many of us have heard/read stories of misplaced decimal points on bank checks.

Stuff happens.

As I mentioned a few months ago in a different thread, for decades nutritionists wildly overstated the iron content of spinach. It all started with a misplaced decimal in a German Nutrition text in–I think–the 1920s, and then that mistake was restated/reprinted–verbatim–until just a few years ago.

When my wife was trading in her 2012 Escape, CarFax reported to the dealer that the car had been totaled. No such thing. It was in a hailstorm and many parts of the car were dented, but it didn’t even need paint for the repair. I contacted them and corrected it. But I wouldn’t trust them.

Agree with that.

ya it séms like it might of had alót of owners too, because say you buy a car brand new ur gonna want as many car fax records as possible it increases the value and the likelihood the person interested will buy since only responsible people keep accurate car fax and the owner or owners who let 40,000 miles get away without a car fax doesn’t look good and car fax are they very accurate good luck to u

More nonsense , the owners do not enter things into Carfax , Autocheck or other tracking sites . That is done by the service facility and they have to pay to belong . Very few are going to enter what they did to all of the sites . They might not even bother with entering a simple oil change if they are busy.