CarFax – How to Read the Report
If you’re in the market to purchase a used automobile, you MUST understand the CF (CF) report that each used automobile MUST have. CF is either supplied free of charge, by the seller, or you, the buyer, must pay for the study. The typical CarFax report is 25 pages long – don’t panic there is a review page or two that summarizes the rest of the report. The study has six departments:
Vehicle History Report. This is page one of the CarFax – the most significant page! This page immediately sums up the entire CarFax if 1) service records available, 2) number of previous owners, 3) if the car was leased or corporate vehicle, 4) any accidents, 5) detail event records 6) last odometer reading. One glimpse, at the CarFax, tells you if this used car is a turkey and not to spend another second of your time or if this car is worthy of more research.
A summary of 1) ownership history, 2) title troubles, and 3) other data follow. It takes but 10 seconds to scan these sections and look for red flags – things that CF has determined you need to investigate. Items CarFax has determined need to be investigated are spotlighted – this saves a lot of time and that’s the secret of CarFax.
Accidents, state inspections, all events, change in ownership, etc. are shown in the Details section, below the Vehicle History Report.. Each owner of the automobile has a segment with all the details CarFax has accumulated.
Vehicle Highlights. There are numerous sections in Vehicle Highlights. Ownership History segment reviews the number of previous owners and latest mileage. State DMV-Reported Title Problems is a super important section. Check if the car’s title has been reclassified into: Salvage, Junk, Rebuilt, Fire/Flood, Hail Damage, or Buyback/Lemon titles. If this has occurred, ignore this used car.
Warranty Check. Any warranty remaining for the various kinds of warranty coverage are displayed in this section. Eliminate or affirm any seller’s claim about warranties in this segment. Basic coverage, coverage of the Drive Train, Emissions coverage, Corrosion coverage, and if any of the warranties are transferrable are some of the types of warranty coverage tracked by CarFax.
Safety & Reliability Ratings. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests are covered in this wonderful section. Front, side, and rear crash results inform you just how safe this used car is to drive. Collision, Theft Indicator, and Injury section rates this used car against all automobiles and gives you guidelines as to this car’s rating – below average, average, or better than average. Manufacturer recalls and if they were done to the car are covered in the Safety Recall segment. J.D. Power Rating is a wealth of data contained in the last section.
Buyback Guarantee Certificate (Optional). If the used car qualifies, CarFax will buyback the car if they screwed up with damage warnings, odometer readings, titles, or a Lemon History reporting. Some cars flunk and this should be your test too – if CF won’t issue a Buyback Guarantee then you should NOT buy that used car.
Consumer Ratings & Comments. This final segment constitutes feedback from car owners of this identical model, make, and year of automobile. You better believe that car owners who dislike something about this make of car will go out of their way to alert folks like you. Once you use CF you will alert folks of any troubles you have with this make of car.
Eric Thor, the author, can be found at the internet site Cheap Used Car. Read How to read a CarFax Report at his website. Learn how this report can make a huge difference in purchasing a used automobile. If you buy a used automobile without viewing the CarFax you are making the greatest mistake you can make possibly make.