What is a CARFAX Report?

You’ve probably heard of a CARFAX report in the context of buying or selling cars. You know they’re important, but why? And what actually goes into these reports? Vehicle history reports can tell you everything you need to know about the car’s previous owners, maintenance history, accidents, and more. You should consider all of these things when you’re negotiating a deal.

CARFAX Logo

TRED assures quality by providing buyers a 150-point inspection in addition to a CARFAX vehicle history report. Here are the basics on CARFAX reports and why they’re important:

History of CARFAX

CARFAX started in 1984 as a way to provide history on used vehicles that were being sold. As the popularity and the trustworthiness of CARFAX reports grew, inspection databases were quickly expanded to all 50 states. The reports have historically included information about age, mileage, and other vehicle data. CARFAX uses the vehicle identification number (VIN) to gather information, starting at the very beginning of the car’s history.

What is a CARFAX report?

What is included in a CARFAX report?

It can sometimes be challenging to sift through all of the information in a vehicle history report. Generally, car buyers appreciate the simplicity of how CARFAX displays information. For reference, these are the main things covered in a CARFAX report:

  • Odometer history to make sure mileage is accurate
  • Titling issues – salvage, fire, and flooding
  • Lemon status – that is, recalls/repurchases by dealers because of big problems
  • Whether or not the vehicle is under warranty
  • Crash-test results – including safety recalls and other information specific to the make and/or model
  • Previous accidents
  • Previous damage to vehicle
  • Any service records available
  • History of previous owners – number of times the vehicle has been sold and the length of ownership(s)

How do you get a CARFAX report?

You can obtain a CARFAX reports two ways: through most dealers or you can purchase a report on your own. Most dealers (and TRED) offer a CARFAX report to buyers with every used vehicle they sell. For dealers with certified pre-owned vehicle (CPO) programs, it is usually part of their program to offer one. Always ask for one if it isn’t advertised or offered up front!

You can also purchase a CARFAX report on your own. This is a must when you are buying a car from a private seller. The myCARFAX app provides information on maintenance and recalls for vehicles. It can also give estimates for maintenance costs and help you find local repair shops.

If you want to buy a report online here are your options:

  • 1 CARFAX report $39.99 (valid for 60 days)
  • 5 CARFAX reports – $59.99 (valid for 60 days)
  • Unlimited reports for 60 days / unlimited reports by U.S. license plate – $69.99

Why are CARFAX reports useful?

Getting a CARFAX report is helpful because it tells you the things you wouldn’t know from test driving the vehicle (i.e. a number of previous owners, accidents, and titling issues). It also provides information that might not be apparent from a mechanic inspection. Vehicle reports can also affect used car prices, so they’re especially important if you want to get more bang for your buck. Check out this sample CARFAX report and make sure to get a report on your next car purchase!

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