With newer organizations like AutoCheck hitting the scene, you might wonder if CarFax is the right choice for you.
When you’re shopping for a used car, whether it be from a dealership or via private sale, looking over the car’s vehicle history report is a critical element of making sure you don’t buy a junker. Companies like CarFax provide a priceless service of giving you the information you need.
Here’s are some things to consider:
How Does CarFax Work?
A vehicle history report from CarFax utilizes the vehicle’s vehicle identification number (VIN) to dig up details about that car. The 17-digit VIN is similar to a person’s social security number. The VIN is used to track and notate events that happen over the lifetime of the vehicle, like crashes, major repairs, ownership changes, and more.
Keep in mind that the only information that CarFax can document is the data that is provided. If a driver gets in a small fender bender and does not report it to the insurance or complete repairs at a mechanic that reports damage, that accident will not appear on the history report.
Does a Vehicle History Report Cost Money?
Companies like CarFax come with a price tag between $25 for a single report to $100 for multiple reports. If you’re browsing used cars from private parties, you’ll most likely have to foot the bill for the report. If you’re checking various cars, the total price could add up.
If, however, you’re browsing vehicles from a dealership, you can often get the CarFax at no cost. Dealerships typically pay for a subscription that gives them as many reports as they need. If the dealership doesn’t offer the report on their website, just ask, and you’ll receive it.
Can I Trust A CarFax?
A CarFax is a useful tool in helping you know the history of the vehicle you’re interested in purchasing. It’s not, however, a perfect or complete record. That means you may need to do a little extra work to shop with confidence.
Here are a few options that can work along with your CarFax so you can make your best decision:
- Check multiple services: you might opt for reports from a combination of sources: AutoCheck, VinAudit, and VINCheck are several options
- Pay for a private inspection from a trusted mechanic
- Get any disclosures from the seller in writing
- Register your vehicle with CarFax after the purchase. CarFax offers a buyback program in certain cases if the report is wrong. Make sure to explore the program to understand what’s covered
Is CarFaxthe Right Choice?
Essentially, the major vehicle history report companies, in theory, should provide the same information. CarFax is a major player in this space, so you’re likely to see it on dealership websites. What you have to remember is that CarFax is a great tool, but it shouldn’t be the only method you use to verify that you’re making a good purchase.