Tips, Tricks & Trends

Carfax Report: What You Should Know About Reading a Vehicle’s History

Shopping for a used car can be a nightmare. Customers have to try to find a used car that’s not only affordable, but reliable as well. After all, there’s no point in buying a cheap used car if you have to spend a fortune to repair it the next day. That’s why it’s important to read a used car’s Carfax report.

Why a Carfax report is important

There are many reasons why someone may have sold their car. Perhaps they can’t afford it anymore. Perhaps they want to make the most out of the car before it depreciates its value away. Or, perhaps, it got so banged up in a crash that it’s a smarter idea for the owner to sell it off so that someone else will have to deal with it. 

Not every used car has been in a crash, but a lot of used cars have some damage. That’s exactly why it’s so valuable to get a used car’s Carfax report before committing to the purchase. If it was a minor accident, then it probably doesn’t mean anything. But if it did a lot of damage to the car, then that could spell trouble down the road for you.

Once you get the used car’s Carfax report though, the next step is to understand the information that’s being given to you.

How to read a Carfax report

A Carfax report may seem easy to read, but there’s some data that may not be too obvious. For example, Carfax says that the severity scale chart will allow you to see all the accidents that the car’s been through based on how severe the damage was. The damage location chart will allow you to see which part of the car was damaged in the accident. 

Then, Carfax may tell you the extent of the damage as well as some details about the accident if it’s available. However, if Carfax doesn’t tell you much about what happened in an accident, don’t panic yet. As Carfax said, different states have different laws when it comes to accident reporting. On top of that, there simply may not be much information available about older accidents.

Additionally, Carfax says that some states have made it mandatory to report damages if they go over a certain limit. So, the Carfax report for a used car in your state may be different than the Carfax report for a similar car in another state. 

Other things to look for

As Carfax pointed out, if things such as “disabling damage reported” is listed under an accident, then it means that the car was so badly damaged that it had to be towed away. On the other side of the spectrum, unless it seems otherwise, many minor accidents or damages may simply be cosmetic and not serious in nature.

Other than a used car’s accident history, a Carfax report also gives you a lot of other details as well. Carfax says that a Carfax report can also help you find out if the car is a Lemon, if the car has ever been totaled, how many past owners the car’s had, and the maintenance work that’s been done on the car in the past. 

If you see anything serious or suspicious from the Carfax report, then Carfax recommends that you hire a trusted mechanic to take a look over the car before you buy it. This examination should verify whether or not the car has any lasting damage that could affect you. 

When you do this inspection after you’ve read a used car’s Carfax report, then you can ensure that you’re buying a quality used car. Or, as Carfax said, you could just negotiate for a cheaper price simply by reading, understanding, and using a Carfax report.