The Truth About
History reports like Carfax and AutoCheck are useful tools, however, most people don't realize that those companies do NOT actually perform an inspection on any of the cars they report on. Moreover, a history report can change after your date of purchase.
There are instances when a history report will update and show something that happened years prior!
A DECISION BASED SOLELY OFF OF A HISTORY REPORT IS A BAD IDEA! Take the history into consideration, but judge the vehicle on its current condition and the circumstances of the "negative" history.
If you're not sure, have an independent inspection performed, something we encourage all potential customers to do.
UNDERSTANDING A CARFAX REPORT
An insurance or fleet company declares a vehicle a total loss when a claim exceeds approximately 75% of its pre-damage value or if the vehicle is stolen and not recovered. This damage threshold varies by company. These companies typically take possession and obtain the title. Not all total loss vehicles result in a DMV-reported branded title, like a Salvage or Junk title. See the glossary for more information.
Various events could indicate an accident or damage in a vehicle's history, such as: salvage auction, fire damage, police-reported accident, crash test vehicle, damage disclosure, collision repair facility and automotive recycler records. See the glossary for more information.
A DMV or a state agency marks an official document or issues a Manufacturer Buyback/Lemon title when a vehicle has been repurchased by the manufacturer. Not all states issue manufacturer buyback titles and the specific requirements for a lemon law vehicle varies by state.
CARFAX analyzes mileage data to help identify potential:
Rollbacks - odometer tampering to conceal a car's true mileage (i.e. Fraud or illegal activity)
Rollovers - after reaching the maximum reading, the odometer restarts from zero (i.e. Mechanical or equipment limitation)
Inconsistencies - conflicting mileage data means CARFAX cannot determine if it's a potential rollback (i.e. Potential human error)
Automobile manufacturers issue recall notices to inform owners of car defects that have come to the manufacturer's attention. Recalls also suggest improvements that can be made to improve the safety of a particular vehicle. Most manufacturer recalls can be repaired at no cost to you.
Occurs when the driver, passenger or side airbag has been used or deployed during a crash or other incident. If an airbag has been deployed, it must be replaced by a qualified technician. Have this car inspected by a mechanic prior to purchase.
Most manufacturers offer a basic warranty for new vehicles. These warranties vary by manufacturer and typically last for a certain amount of time and/or a set number of miles.
STRUCTURAL DAMAGE *
All levels of accidents, from minor to severe, can cause structural damage to a vehicle (i.e., damage to the frame or unibody). *
* Auction announcements of structural damage are in the form of words such as Airbag/ Unibody/ Frame/ Structural based on NAAA Auction Arbitration Rules. This simply means that the car has been in a previous accident and has sustained damage at one time. There is no distinction between a minor dent or a major accident when it comes to the use of these words. Due to Unibody construction, any vehicle that sustains any damage can be considered, even if the accident is as minor as an 1/8 inch-1 inch dent to the body or structure of the vehicle, or something much more serious.