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Why CarFax is Not Always Accurate

When buying a used car, it's important to take some precautions so you don't end up with a lemon.

Many consumers think a Carfax or AutoCheck report reveals everything that could possibly be wrong with a used vehicle - this is simply not true.

While they can be a useful service, don't rely on them as your sole source of information.

CarFax and AutoCheck obtain their information from thousands of different sources including state title and registration records, car auctions, police, and fire departments.

They will tell you how many prior owners the vehicle has had, whether the car was part of a rental service, if it's been flooded, or been in an accident.

These are great things to know, but you'll only find out about them if they were reported to those agencies in the first place.

If there is wrong or missing information, Carfax and AutoCheck will simply forward that on.

Think about all the accidents that are never reported to insurance companies. People don't want their insurance rates going up, so they take care of it themselves.

These types of accidents will never show up in a vehicle history report. Cars are regularly damaged at dealerships - and quickly repaired in their service department. Again, you'll never know about it.

It's smart to get a Carfax or AutoCheck report, but it's even smarter to take it with a grain of salt and make sure you do some more due diligence before buying a used car. My best advice is to have a mechanic thoroughly inspect any car you're serious about buying.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle and Edmunds Price Promise are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan


Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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