What is a CarFax report?

September 1st, 2021 by
Chevrolet GMC Of Sanger is located at: 1028 Academy Ave • Sanger, CA 93657


What is CARFAX? Car-Buyers Questions Answered

A vehicle is one of those purchases that have a huge impact on your life. You’re going to be using it almost every day, and you want it to last. Everywhere you look, it seems like someone has cars for sale. A used car or truck can be a way to get a terrific deal. It can also be a way to accidentally help someone out by taking their problem car off their hands. You may have heard of CARFAX when looking for your next used car. Read on to learn why when you should get a CARFAX report when buying a used vehicle, and how you can get a free CARFAX report from Sanger Chevrolet Buick GMC.

What is a CARFAX report anyways?

CARFAX is a company that provides vehicle history checks. Using a car or truck’s unique vehicle identification number (VIN), CARFAX can track reported odometer records, history of ownership, service records, title status, insurance claims, and accidents.

Should I get a CARFAX report before purchasing a used vehicle?

It’s important to get a CARFAX report before considering the purchase of a used vehicle. Having the report provides a good background for the vehicle, and allows you to spot any red flags, such as odometer roll-backs or title washing. Assuming all the relevant information has been accurately reported, you can get a good sense of a car’s service history, and any major accidents or repairs.

What is title washing?

Title washing is a common problem in the used-car market, especially among unscrupulous sellers. When a car is written off in one jurisdiction, it can sometimes be registered in a different jurisdiction with slightly different criteria for writing off a vehicle. In this way, a vehicle with significant crash or flood damage can be repaired and sold without any indication of being scrapped in its original jurisdiction. By getting a CARFAX report, you can see a vehicle’s full title history and protect yourself from buying a huge headache. You can protect yourself even more by avoiding suspicious used-car dealerships and sticking to only trustworthy places like Sanger Chevrolet Buick GMC.

Does a CARFAX show me flood damage?

A CARFAX report will let you know if a vehicle has ever been in a flood, as long as it has been reported by an auto dealership, repair shop, or insurance company. Flood damage can affect a car’s electrical system, as well as cause major corrosion issues. It is for this reason most jurisdictions write off vehicles with flood damage. Even if they can be cosmetically repaired, they will never be exactly the same as before.

What is the downside of a CARFAX report?

Although CARFAX tries to be as thorough as possible, their reports sometimes can miss things. CARFAX relies on insurance companies, car dealerships, service shops, as well as law enforcement agencies to report information about vehicles. Not every one of those groups works with CARFAX so there is a chance of a vehicle’s report being incomplete. A car could have a meticulous service history done at a reputable shop that simply doesn’t upload their information to CARFAX, and that vehicle would show up on a CARFAX report with no information whatsoever. Likewise, any accidents that occur that are paid for out of pocket may not appear on a report either.

How much is a CARFAX report?

A single CARFAX report costs $39.99. You can also get 3 for $59.99, or 6 for $99.99.

What is a CarFax report

That seems expensive. Can I get one for free?

Yes, you can! Many car dealerships, such as Sanger Chevrolet Buick GMC offer complimentary CARFAX reports on all the vehicles they have for sale. Dealerships like Sanger Chevrolet Buick GMC are the best place to purchase a used vehicle because they provide a free CARFAX report on every used car they sell. Many private individuals do not, meaning you have to buy reports for every vehicle you’re considering. At Sanger Chevrolet, you can browse as many vehicles as you like on their website, and view the free CARFAX reports at the same time.

What are some of the things I should be looking out for on a CARFAX report?

Things you should pay attention to when viewing a CARFAX report:

  1. Title Status: When you look at a CARFAX examine the title status. Words like “insurance loss,” “salvage,” “rebuilt,” are all cars to avoid. This means that after an accident causing major damage, the insurance company determined that the car wasn’t worth repairing, and sold the vehicle for scrap. Also, keep an eye out for anything indicating flood damage. Finally, be sure that the title is clear of any liens, and is in the seller’s (or dealership’s) name.
  2. Many repairs or a recent major repair: If a car has a long rap-sheet of repairs, chances are it will need more in the future. Pay close attention to how recent the repairs are. A car that has a lot of recent work could be a vehicle that the owner is trying to cut their losses on. Even when a car has had plenty of recent services, if it’s anything beyond the ordinary, get it inspected to make sure the repairs have been done right.
  3. Too many owners: If a car has multiple owners in a short period, it can be a sign that previous owners have had too many problems with this car and have passed their troubles on to someone else. Or it could be that you’re interested in a make and model that attracts short-term buyers, a sporty coupe, or other fun “seasonal” vehicle. In either case, a car that quickly goes through many owners may have suffered from a lack of maintenance, as owners intending to only briefly own a vehicle may not have wanted to invest much in it.
  4. Missing registrations or renewals: If a car has been unregistered or uninsured for a long period, that usually means the car was sitting somewhere. The best-case scenario is that it spent time in a climate-controlled environment, being properly stored and run every few months to keep the engine lubricated. Unfortunately, more often than not, vehicles that have been sitting are poorly stored and cared for. Sitting for long periods is hard on cars. Fuel lines can harden, brakes can rust, and engines can seize up. Make sure you ask the seller why the vehicle was sitting. Sometimes it can be a matter of the car being a seasonal-use vehicle, other times it can be a result of being un-roadworthy.
  5. Incomplete recalls: If the car has outstanding recalls, it means that part of the vehicle has been recalled for a severe safety or performance defect. Although recalls are repaired for free by the manufacturer, an outstanding recall can be a sign that the previous owner neglected the vehicle enough to not bring it in for a free repair. This can be a sign that other issues with the vehicle might exist. If you buy a vehicle with a recall, you’ll have to use your own time to drop the vehicle off for repairs. At Sanger Chevrolet Buick GMC, all the used vehicles they have for sale have had their recalls properly serviced.
  6. Failed smog testing: A vehicle that fails smog testing can indicate that there is something wrong with the emissions system. Emissions systems can be very expensive to replace! You can’t register a car without a successful smog test. Dealerships like Sanger Chevrolet Buick GMC sell only vehicles that have passed their smog tests, so you don’t need to worry about additional repairs after your used vehicle purchase.
  7. Fleet vehicle status: A car or truck that was previously used as part of a fleet (such as a rental, taxi, first responder, or other government vehicles) can be of great value. It can also be a potential headache. Vehicles that have many drivers tend to be more worn out than cars that are owned by someone who took pride in their vehicle.

As you can see, CARFAX has its pros and cons. However, it provides a great starting point for looking at a used car. When checking a CARFAX report, you can learn which vehicles are worth going and looking at in person, and which ones to stay away from. Be aware of any used-car dealers or private sellers who refuse to provide you with a vehicle identification number so you can get a CARFAX report. Sellers who do this may be trying to hide something from you.

At Sanger Chevrolet Buick GMC, there is no hiding. Every vehicle for sale has its free CARFAX report on our website. If you plan on making a used car trade-in, our website also features a “Value My Car” tool to let you know the exact value of your trade-in. Our friendly sales staff is here to help if you have any questions about your used car value. Come see why we are the favorite destination for used cars for all of Fresno, Clovis, and Sanger!

Posted in CarFax