What Is A CARFAX Vehicle History Report?

Susan Kelly Updated on Sep 12, 2022

CARFAX reports include every piece of information about a car that is available to the general public. Information on previous owners, service, accidents and anything else that can damage the car's value or reliability is recorded.

Car purchasers use these reports to learn more about the automobiles they are considering. If you're shopping for a used automobile, for example, CARFAX probably already has the information tied to the VIN because of the car's history of owners. Multiple data sources were used to compile this research on the vehicle.

How Does The CARFAX Report Operate?

CARFAX compiles data from a wide variety of sources to provide its service. The service functions as a data or information aggregator, compiling information from several sources into a single repository. Through CARFAX's website, users can make database inquiries about the details of individual automobiles.

More than 131,000 state vehicle bureaus, auto auctions, insurance firms, repair shops, car rental agencies, inspection stations, and other businesses and government entities in the United States and Canada provide data to CARFAX.

Cost of a Carfax Report: How Much Is It?

Discounts are available, and the price for a single Carfax report is usually $39.99. Three are $59.99, and a 6-pack is $99.99. Even if you own a car, you might benefit from purchasing a Carfax report to learn more about its past. If you want to sell your automobile, you might want to check it out first, or if you're just interested, you can buy one and read it.

Autocheck is a less expensive substitute for Carfax. A single report costs $24.99. It's not as thorough as Carfax, but for $49.99, a buyer can have access to 25 records in 21 days. Used-car shoppers who need help narrowing down a large pool of options may appreciate Autocheck. Similar to Carfax, it does not 100% cover every scenario.

Check the Carfax Report of Any Vehicle for Free

A Carfax report is available for no cost in several different methods. All of the used automobiles on Carfax's website include a free Carfax vehicle history report. The Carfax report is not free. However, it may be included with the listing on other online used car buying sites like AutoTrader.

Most secondhand automobile lots will also provide complimentary Carfax reports. However, it would help if you didn't assume that the Carfax report would tell you all there is to know about the vehicle's past. The Carfax report might be requested from a private seller. If they say no, that might mean there's anything in the vehicle's past that isn't reflected in the report.

Details Missing from a Carfax Report

It's unfortunate that not every Carfax report is exhaustive. Carfax gets its data from various places, as detailed on its help page. Not everything makes it into those databases, and not everything gets sent to Carfax. This allows for blank spots in the report of a vehicle's past.

These pauses could conceal something, such as an accident or skipped maintenance checks, or they might not. If the owner fails to keep service records, it is not always because no maintenance was done. There may be gaps in the report that Carfax is unable to fill. Although the report is helpful, it shouldn't be your only consideration when shopping for a used vehicle.

Warning Signs to Watch Out For

In some cases, Carfax reports may not include all available information on a vehicle's maintenance and ownership. While every background check has limitations, there are always warning signs that might help you spot a difficult past that the report might have overlooked.

Numerous owners and recent repairs on a relatively new vehicle may indicate that it is problematic. Remember that the Carfax report doesn't record everything, so glaring omissions in the vehicle's history might be a warning sign.

Conduct Regular Inspections

A Carfax report is helpful, but it doesn't tell you all you need to know about a pre-owned vehicle. If the Carfax report checks out okay, you should still have a third-party technician look at the car. The check should confirm the vehicle's condition and reveal any hidden problems.

It shouldn't take more than a few hours and a few hundred dollars to do a comprehensive examination. The engine, transmission, chassis, and suspension components should all be checked as part of the examination.

Tips For Buying A Used Car That Makes Sense

The process of purchasing a secondhand automobile may be stressful. A car is a significant investment that affects nearly every aspect of people's daily lives, so it's important to be sure you're getting one that will serve you well for years to come. When shopping for a used automobile, it's important to keep a few things in mind. Total mileage and cost are two of the most important considerations.