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Old 04-04-2013, 11:23 AM   #1
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Carfax! (is kind of junk...)

I was expecting carfax to be some kind of magical, encyclopedic wonder system that would keep me from making a bad decision. In retrospect, it might, but it's less likely than actually being able to see the frame damage with the naked eye, at least in my limited experience.

So I've run my five car fax reports. None of them showed any kind of vehicle issues. Two were for vehicles that I don't have any more information, but both were vague- registration and that sort of thing.

The three I ran on MY OWN vehicles, that I'm intimately familiar with, are each jacked in some way- the Sportsmobile being the worst and most useless.

1. Toyota Tacoma 2010: bought from an owner who admitted to a bad rear end wreck that required a claim and new tailgate + bumper. Service records indicate an additional wreck, striking a large rock in a ditch with the front wheel.

The carfax shows nothing. Not a peep and very few service records, although I have a thick stack provided by the owner.

2. Jeep Wrangler 2000: I bought this Jeep new but it's listed as a two owner vehicle. Apparently when I moved to Arizona the BMV there decided I'd sold it to myself. Thanks, Obama. Anyway, it also doesn't list the few dealer services but does list my most recent service at my local mechanic- which is weird because it doesn't list the other three times, or any other mechanics.

3. Sportsmobile 2005: Now this one is stranger, there are two purchase records at 500 miles and 40,355 that are 9 days apart and I bought it just over 40K myself two years later. There is a service on 7/12/07 which was a full warranty turbo replacement that reads "check air filter/change oil/replace CSPS". They had my vehicle for a week, they better not have just slapped a CSPS in there. The 7 previous warranty services by an AZ dealer for the same issue are also not on there. There there is a Folsom Lake Ford entry (who took good care of me) for when the AC compressor grenaded, but it only says "A/C checked". It's missing another dealer warranty entry for the bed plate leak that turned out not to be a bed plate leak at all, which was also at the end of the warranty.

I don't know, in my meager experience so far, Carfax is missing so much information that, well it's just not what I expected. The verbage suggests they only warranty against problems that are reported, and they report everything they have so: Carfax itself doesn't guarantee the records are right, just that they didn't not provide any they had- pretty thin if you ask me.

I'm not saying I won't use Carfax, or something similar, in the future but this round they've been totally unhelpful and it remains to be seen if the misinformation causes problems when I sell the Jeep this summer.
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:42 AM   #2
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Re: Carfax! (is kind of junk...)

Agree, and even if some info is in there, it doesn't necessarily tell the entire story.

FWIW, Carfax shows my '01 Excursion has/had a salvage title (disclosed by the previous owner). The Ex, with 800 miles on the clock, had the roof caved in due to an avalanche in Colorado. It was purchased by the previous, previous owner who has a VERY good relationship with Ford. He had delivered an entire new, assembled but unpainted, body. I've been told it was a really big crate.

Essentially the entire body of the Ex was rebuilt from the ground up, along with at least one major improvement. When the vehicle ownership was transferred between states, the title lost it's Salvage status. That comes up as a red flag in Carfax due to the possibility of title-washing. The vehicle history was disclosed to me prior to purchase so I had no reason to doubt the story, but I did have some concerns about insurance value. I cautiously explained the situation to AAA, but they didn't seem to care (if I file a claim, that may be another story).

Long story short, it provides a reference point but it is hardly the definitive word with respect to a vehicle's history and/or condition. I know a lot of flood-damaged vehicles hit the market after Katrina, and I'm sure plenty are hitting the secondary market after Sandy.


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Old 04-04-2013, 11:45 AM   #3
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Re: Carfax! (is kind of junk...)

This is a very good point. The lack of something being on the Carfax does NOT mean it didn't happen.

And yet, I'm still interested. If something IS indicated then that's something I can be reasonable sure did happen.

The question is: do we want enough of a "police state" that all events really are on the carfax? I'm undecided about that. It makes me ookey, but at the same time when buying a used car I want it.
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:40 PM   #4
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Re: Carfax! (is kind of junk...)

Here I go off on a tangent again...

Quote:
2. Jeep Wrangler 2000: I bought this Jeep new but it's listed as a two owner vehicle. Apparently when I moved to Arizona the BMV there decided I'd sold it to myself. Thanks, Obama.
So Jage, what exactly does Obama have to do with incompetence at the Arizona DMV?
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:52 PM   #5
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Re: Carfax! (is kind of junk...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viejo
Here I go off on a tangent again...

Quote:
2. Jeep Wrangler 2000: I bought this Jeep new but it's listed as a two owner vehicle. Apparently when I moved to Arizona the BMV there decided I'd sold it to myself. Thanks, Obama.
So Jage, what exactly does Obama have to do with incompetence at the Arizona DMV?
It's so obvious. It's the Barack Motor Vehicle (BMV) Department.
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:20 PM   #6
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Re: Carfax! (is kind of junk...)

It is always more important to check out the seller than the vehicle.
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:32 PM   #7
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Re: Carfax! (is kind of junk...)

There was something recently on 20/20, Dateline, or similar that totally discredited Carfax. Unfortunate, because it seems like such a good concept.
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:40 PM   #8
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Re: Carfax! (is kind of junk...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pritikin
This is a very good point. The lack of something being on the Carfax does NOT mean it didn't happen.
Not necessarily, like my friend's Mercedes that showed an accident in another state? When he purchased it new locally and it had never left the state and had never been in an accident.

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Old 04-04-2013, 03:24 PM   #9
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Re: Carfax! (is kind of junk...)

the concept of carfax is great, but it in all reality, its worthless (imho) and seems to cause headaches for sellers more than anything else, as seen above with just a few people on this small forum.

i got a carfax for both the vehicles i just purchased within the last year. both show registrations and thats about it. the guy who sold me my car had every receipt for all work done, everything that was warrantied, repalced, fixed...whatever. even gave me all the paperwork for when the vehicle got rearended and the bumper skin had to be replaced. none of which was on my carfax....and the messed up part was that the majority of the work was done at an authorized acura dealer. i would assume the car dealers would be first on the carfax boat?!

im not sure whats involved, but if the shop your dealing with doesnt report to carfax, then basically nothing from that shop shows up. i wonder if its a cost to the shop by chance?
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:24 PM   #10
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Re: Carfax! (is kind of junk...)

.
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