Question about a CarFax report (and its meaning)

Question about a CarFax report (and its meaning)
Here’s the CarFax report:

As you can see this car has moved about several states, but pay attention to the fact that it seems to have a Salvage AND a REBUILT title–they’re not the same things.

Can someone offer some clarification about this?

Is this a rebuilt vehicle? Or Salvage???

They are indeed, effectively the same thing. Different states use different terms.

Unless the price is stupid low. I mean cheap as dirt that you can pay cash for AND you are a skilled DIY car mechanic, avoid this car like it has Hepatitis, the Plague, Covid and Ebola together … because it is the automotive equivalent


OK, I hate to sound like an idiot but does the report mean that the car is SALVAGE (but NOT REBUILT?)


Does not matter . They mean the same thing . You don’t want this thing ( what ever it is ) . You might not even get insurance on it .


We don’t even know what kind of car the OP is talking about. An old car with a Blue Book of less than $3k in excellent condition? A recent model being sold for a “too good to be true” price? Or even worse, a recent model being sold for not much less than it would cost with a regular title?

I would avoid buying anything with a salvage/rebuilt/restored title if it’s less than 10 years old, and/or if the “event” which made the title salvage/rebuilt/reconstructed occurred less than 2 years ago, or if the current owner has owned the vehicle for less than a year. If the current owner is a car flipper, or if they have only owned the car for a short time, I’d run away.

If, however, we are talking about an old car with a low dollar value, even a very minor accident or vandalism can result in the title being branded salvage/rebuilt/reconstructed. Also, if the “event” which made the title salvage/rebuilt/reconstructed occurred many years ago, and the current owner has owned the car for a long time, I wouldn’t let the branded title worry me. Any problems which were going to happen would have been dealt with by now.

Edit to add:
I clicked on the image of the screenshot, and was able to read the full Carfax report. The vehicle in question is a 2013 Honda Fit, which was damaged in an accident back in 2015 when it was just two years old to the point it was declared a total loss, and subsequently repaired by a dealer and issued a “restored” title. It has been driven less than 13,000 miles in 7 years. I would not touch this thing with a 10-foot pole connected to another 10-foot pole, even if it was free.

It’s a 2013 Honda Fit, so it’s definitely less than 10 years (or 8 years old in NY.)

my understanding is that a “Rebuilt” title means that the car was repaired and declared legally drivable whereas Salvage means it has NOT been repaired…

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You can get a 2013 Fit for less than 6 grand, so unless this thing is at least 50% less than that, it’s not something you’d want to consider even if you were a full-fledged mechanic and could do all the potential work for the price of parts.

As to the difference between rebuilt and salvage, it depends on the state. You’d do better to ask that state’s DMV what the difference is, because any of us who aren’t from that state might be wrong if we tell you what applies where we live.

I would want my own mechanic to thoroughly go over it if I were still considering this car. I do not trust passed safety inspections done by a shop I don’t know, because I don’t know how thorough they are, and I also don’t know that the inspection was honest.

Which does not matter in the slightest as we’ve been trying to tell you since post #2.
For your purposes, it is the exact same thing.

Got it, thank you :slight_smile:

Take a better look at the report.
Obviously, the car has not been in the category of ALL of the situations that were noted, namely… salvage AND junk AND rebuilt AND fire AND flood AND hail AND lemon.

The report is warning you that this is a highly problematic vehicle, but it is not telling you specifically what type of problem from that list is applicable. Shouldn’t the more serious possibilities be sufficient to steer you away from this vehicle?

Thank you!

A vehicle with a salvage title can not be registered, the vehicle must be repaired and pass an inspection to change the status to rebuilt.

This vehicle was declared a total loss in July 2015.

A rebuilt title was issued 8/24/2015 in Massachusetts.

Note that when the vehicle was moved to Pennsylvania the title status reverted back to salvage, then 8 days later a rebuilt title was issued. Perhaps Pennsylvania has its own inspection standards.

The vehicle then went to New Jersey and New York, what state is the vehicle in now? Will it need to pass inspection again?

Insurance company sold the car at auction as “Salvage/Scrap” = not worth fixing

Somebody bought it at auction and “Rebuilt/Repaired” the car, had it inspected and the state issued a “Rebuilt” title

If it’s in NJ, the only inspection that it would have to pass is the emissions check.
As one of the inspectors said to me, after Chris Christie eliminated safety inspections…
Even if you limp in here on 4 flat tires, with no glass and no working lights, I still have to give you a passing sticker if your emissions are okay.
Thanks, Christie!

I was referring to a rebuilt vehicle inspection should the title status revert back to “salvage” in a different state, not annual safety inspections.

Everybody wants to find a “great deal” but if that “puppy” is drooling, snarling and looking like a racoon it’s probably not a good choice.

Maybe an extreme case but what can happen if a shop takes a shortcut on a Honda Fit (glued the new roof on instead of welding)

In OK a vehicle that has been declared a total loss can be repaired and put back on the road. The title will be designated a “Salvage” title and means the same as “Rebuilt”.

I wiped out a Subaru I once owned when some woman on the shoulder with her emergency flashers on suddenly decided to make a left turn from the shoulder and across both northbound lanes so she could go back in a southerly direction. This took out the entire front clip along with the radiator, condenser, most of the suspension, and front subframe.

I repaired the car myself, the state issued a “Salvage” title on it, and I drove that car for another dozen years and 180k miles with no issues before scrapping it at 300k miles.
Oddest thing of all was that during the entire time I drove it on a salvage title Carfax continued to show it as having a clean title.

The problem with a vehicle that has been rebuilt after being declared junk - is how well the repair was done. This actually is done a lot…but it depends on the severity of the damage - which you really have no way of knowing. If you knew the extent of the damage then MAYBE. I’ve seen cars declared a total loss because the 2 front air-bags deployed.

The other red flag is it’s a Honda Fit. Good reliable vehicle, but is is it really worth bringing back from salvage? And again what was done.

The last red flag is the multiple states this thing has passed through.

As others have said…unless you can get this dirt cheap and have it inspected BEFORE you buy then maybe. I won’t pay more then $2,000.


One last thing…On Jay Leno’s garage - I think the guest was Joe Rogan. He bought a fully restored 1966 Vette. Looked beautiful. After he bought it he took it to his mechanic. And his mechanic found a MAJOR PROBLEM. Seems this brace behind the dash was cut off. You couldn’t see it because it was hidden behind the dash…but his mechanic was familiar with it enough to know to look for it. Do you know what to look for on a car that’s been restored? I’m a decent back-yard mechanic and I wouldn’t have a clue. A few mechanics here in the forum like (@ok4450 or @db4690) might.