Why It’s Important to Check a Carfax Report Before Buying Your Next Car
Written by DriveAxis.ca February 15, 2023
Buying a car is a significant investment for many Canadians, and it’s always wise to do some homework before deciding on a particular one. Sometimes it’s difficult to track the quality and maintenance of a vehicle, but there are several methods available, one of which is the Carfax report.
These reports provide valuable information about a car's history related to things like accidents, body damage, and most importantly, maintenance records. While a Carfax report can’t say everything there is to know about a particular vehicle, it is one of the strongest methods of determining whether a car is a good investment, or a potential money pit. How exactly do Carfax reports achieve this? Let’s dive in and take a look.
VEHICLE CONDITION & HISTORY
Carfax reports provide buyers with pertinent info about a particular car’s condition, and history. If properly maintained, it will include details about any major accidents or fender benders the car has been involved in, the extent of the damage, and whether it has been repaired correctly. It will also record non-accidental damage, such as floods, fires, or other natural disasters. By reviewing the Carfax report, you can verify the seller's claims about the car's condition, giving you valuable insight, and a way to make the final judgment call before purchase.
PREVENTING SCAMS & FRAUDS
Carfax reports can help drivers avoid the trappings and predations of fraudulent sellers who may try to conceal information about the car's history. For example, a seller may claim that a car has never been in an accident, but a Carfax report may show otherwise, particularly if the accident was reported to a collision center. By checking the Carfax report, you can identify potential frauds or scams, and avoid wasting time and money on a vehicle that isn't what it seems.
Bear in mind that car accidents in Ontario only need to be reported if the total damage between both vehicles exceeds $2,000 dollars. Therefore, a minor fender bender might escape scrutiny, and both parties may opt to settle the dispute personally while having their cars privately repaired.
A Carfax report can also help drivers determine the safety level of the vehicle they are thinking of buying. If a car has been in an accident, or suffered significant damage, it may not be safe to drive. By reviewing the Carfax report, you can identify any potential safety issues and make an informed decision about whether to proceed with the purchase.
The good thing about Carfax reports is that they incentivize sellers to make sure vehicles are properly repaired and road-safe. After all, they want to sell the car as much as drivers want to buy it. If you are buying a car from a private seller, they will need to take the car into a registered mechanics shop or dealership to pass a safety check. In this regard, Carfax reports are great for weeding out potential problem vehicles, thereby saving you time.
NEGOTIATING ON PRICE
The details of a Carfax report can be used to justify negotiating over the price of the vehicle. If you spot things on the Carfax report, such as previous accidents or required repairs, you may be in a position to bargain for a lower price, particularly if future work will be necessary. On the flip side, an immaculate Carfax report with plenty of information and a solid maintenance timeline will allow you to justify the price you’re paying for the vehicle, since you won’t have anything to worry about.
Most people think Carfax reports are all about accidents and damage, but there’s other valuable details to be had. For instance, Carfax reports also include a fairly accurate odometer reading, the location of registration and inspection, number of previous owners, lien checks, and title history. All of these are important, and in some cases, necessary before you can legally buy the car. This is more important when dealing with a private sale, as dealerships tend to take care of these things for you.
WHAT IF A CARFAX REPORT HAS LITTLE INFORMATION?
There are times when you’ll glance at a Carfax report and see very little information. This could mean a few things:
1) The owner has done all maintenance and repairs privately, or at a mechanic of their choice, and not bothered to record their visits.
2) The car suffered major damage via accident or some other issue, and the owner repaired it out of pocket in order to hide it from a Carfax report.
3) The owner may not have bothered performing regular maintenance on the car, excluding important things like tune-ups, oil and fluid changes, etc.
Keep in mind that none of these scenarios are guaranteed. Just because you see a sparse Carfax report does not necessarily mean the car is problematic. When in doubt, take it to a reputable and trusted mechanic to get the full scoop before buying, or have the seller get a safety certificate, which is bound by Ontario law.
Checking a Carfax report before buying a car is a smart decision for any driver. It can help you verify the vehicle's condition and history, prevent fraud and scams, ensure safety, and negotiate a fair price. When making a significant investment like buying a car, it's essential to do your due diligence and make an informed decision, and a Carfax report can help you do just that. It isn’t the be-all and end-all of a car’s history or condition, but it is a vital piece of information to help you make a better choice.
At DriveAxis, we deal only in the most reliable pre-owned cars, and we back that up with a 300 point inspection process and an incredible warranty so that you can drive off the lot with peace of mind. If you’re tired of checking Carfax reports all day long (and who would blame you), give us a call. We’ll take the guesswork out, help you choose the car of your dreams, and handle all financing in-house with guaranteed approval, regardless of your credit!