Carfax, Good or Bad?

Carfax, good or bad?

PostBy: EarthWindandFire On: Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:06 am

As you guys probably know, I've been shopping for a newer vehicle. I recently posted the thread about the Subaru's which I'm no longer considering.

What do you guys think about the Carfax vehicle reports? For those that read them, they can be useful or downright frightening. For example, I'm a big believer in 3k mile oil changes with regular oil or 5k mile oil changes with synthetic. However, many of these reports show the neglect these cars suffer. Granted, Carfax reports are only as good as the information provided by the service center of routine maintenance etc.
EarthWindandFire
 
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Re: Carfax, good or bad?

PostBy: Rob R. On: Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:39 am

I think it is a worthwhile check to see if a late model car has been wrecked, but it is worthless for service records or anything like that. I would push to have the dealer provide it.

In the past I always purchased gently used vehicles, thinking I was saving money by doing so. After my last experience with a 3 yr old Honda Accord with a sludged up engine, shuttering transmission , and a bunch of rattles, I said no more. When I looked at the increased maintenence costs, higher interest rate, and annoyance factor, I decided to purchase a new vehicle and take advantage of near 0 % financing.

Did you ever take a serious look at a Subaru?
Rob R.
 
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Re: Carfax, good or bad?

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:04 pm

After my last experience with a 3 yr old Honda Accord with a sludged up engine, shuttering transmission , and a bunch of rattles, I said no more


and that is why Hondas are no more for this family.
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Re: Carfax, good or bad?

PostBy: gaw On: Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:08 pm

Carfax reports are OK but not all shops report to Carfax, especially small independents.

The 3000 mile oil change is old school and usually not in line with current recommendations. I change our most driven vehicle when the “change oil” message comes on, usually at 7-8 thousand miles. I send oil samples to a lab every time and that tells me how things are doing with the engine. Unfortunately dealers change the oil before they sell them so you usually can’t get a meaningful oil analysis on a used car before you buy it.

Google the car you are thinking about along with words like problems, lemon, issues, and repairs to see if you see any trends on forums. I have found that issues I run into with my cars are not unique to me.
gaw
 
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Re: Carfax, good or bad?

PostBy: davidmcbeth3 On: Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:13 pm

EarthWindandFire wrote:<snip> I'm a big believer in 3k mile oil changes with regular oil or 5k mile oil changes with synthetic. However, many of these reports show the neglect these cars suffer. .


The 3000 mi oil change is a thing of the past, has not been this way for years.

I use synthetic and change oil every 15,000 ... have been for many years. Zero issues encountered...cars over 120K miles etc.

So if you think a car is being neglected due to longer oil changing intervals ... I would suggest not looking at this portion of the carfax.

You can place some reliance on these reports but they are not gospel.

Two additional things can protect you:

1) a contract (have them state that no accidents occurred and that if discovered then that's on them; etc.)
2) a vehicle inspection by a mechanic who knows the vehicle better than you (many cars have their own quirks and mechanical issues that would be known more to a mechanic than a buyer or even the seller). Whenever I sell a car, I advise sellers to have a mechanic look at it (I don't want a pissed off "customer" either). If a person will not allow an inspection then move along...plenty of cars out there.
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Re: Carfax, good or bad?

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:54 pm

1) a contract (have them state that no accidents occurred and that if discovered then that's on them; etc.)
2) a vehicle inspection by a mechanic who knows the vehicle better than you


Which planet do you live on.

1) Around here they don't have a pot to pi$$ in so you would never collect

2) I know very little, just a bit more than the very best Orange County NY mechanic.
coalnewbie
 
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Re: Carfax, good or bad?

PostBy: warminmn On: Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:47 pm

davidmcbeth3 wrote:
EarthWindandFire wrote:<snip> I'm a big believer in 3k mile oil changes with regular oil or 5k mile oil changes with synthetic. However, many of these reports show the neglect these cars suffer. .


The 3000 mi oil change is a thing of the past, has not been this way for years.

I use synthetic and change oil every 15,000 ... have been for many years. Zero issues encountered...cars over 120K miles etc.


You wont find many cars still running with 250-300,000 miles on them that had oil changed every 15,000 miles either. There are exceptions of course. Mine are just getting worn in at 200,000 :lol: I drive them til they rust in half or 3 pieces but try to change oil every 3000 miles, synthetic a little longer, same as EWF mentioned. Cheapest insurance there is.

I like the idea of carfax. Especially with all the people fixing up totaled vehicles. With the price of an auto you need every edge you can get.
warminmn
 
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Re: Carfax, good or bad?

PostBy: Richard S. On: Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:58 pm

davidmcbeth3 wrote:
The 3000 mi oil change is a thing of the past, has not been this way for years.


New cars calculate when the oil should be changed based on temperatures, RPM's etc.

As far as the Carfax that's a gamble. At the very least it will should show accidents early on.
Richard S.
 
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Re: Carfax, good or bad?

PostBy: hank2 On: Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:35 am

I had the very unpleasant task of needing to replace two vehicles in Sept. '15 and Sept. '16. I had to go used on both for financial reasons.

The Carfax reports aren't perfect, but I believe you can get an idea of level of maintenance that was done on it. Also where the vehicle came from. I searched countless vehicles before both purchases. I could not believe how many ( the majority) of the sort of local dealer's cars were former rentals or drug down to Pa. from upstate NY. ( Sorry New York friends, but our corrosive road treatments are bad enough without going there). I also saw many 3 to 5 year old cars with no record of maintenance at all since purchase. Maybe the former owners did it themselves, but I'm sure many of them didn't do any maintenance. I know more than a few people that wouldn't be caught dead having any maintenance done on their car, even an oil change. Widespread demographics.

Eastern PA. used to be known as an area that had the highest used cars prices in the US. Not sure if that is still true, but I saw tons that were listed at 20% over full boat dealer retail, excellent condition values. Also, Pa. used to be known as a dumping ground for problem cars from around the country. Especially Lemon law buybacks. I once read that all the Lemon law cars from Fla. ( one of the few states that have a Lemon law with any teeth) were brought to Pa. to resell. The dealers called these cars "Program cars". I haven't seen that term used in years, so maybe things have changed. Or they changed the name?
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Re: Carfax, good or bad?

PostBy: samhill On: Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:29 am

I wouldn't base my choice on a Carfax report alone but I would like to read one on any vehicle That I'm considering. The only thing I would watch for is what happened to a friend of mine, this was from a large dealership, they had several same model trucks & kept pushing one & gave the Carfax report as a feature. My friend (not knowing much about vehicles) took a mechanic friend to help her choose, the first thing he did was check the serial #s & found the report was for a different truck. She was still considering it as the dealer said they made a clerical mistake, the mechanic friend walked & after a bit the buyer did as well without the truck. You have to check everything possible! :(
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Re: Carfax, good or bad?

PostBy: warminmn On: Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:18 am

samhill wrote:I wouldn't base my choice on a Carfax report alone but I would like to read one on any vehicle That I'm considering. The only thing I would watch for is what happened to a friend of mine, this was from a large dealership, they had several same model trucks & kept pushing one & gave the Carfax report as a feature. My friend (not knowing much about vehicles) took a mechanic friend to help her choose, the first thing he did was check the serial #s & found the report was for a different truck. She was still considering it as the dealer said they made a clerical mistake, the mechanic friend walked & after a bit the buyer did as well without the truck. You have to check everything possible! :(


That used to be real common with old vehicles, to have a title for the wrong VIN. I used to buy 6 or more clunkers a year in the 80's and saw it a few times. They used to sell titles with VIN tags in magazines and Im not even sure if thats legal anymore, even to collectors. The newer ones would be very hard or impossible to remove but not the old ones.

Another thing that happens is when cabs are replaced and the tag was on the cab or dash. Ive got one like that but the frame still has the original VIN. Its a slippery law but from what I read that keeps it legal in my state. Then some have the VIN on the doors but those can be drilled out and put on the new ones. It was a good day when they made the VIN numbers impossible to remove, but if your buying a collector be sure to check. Thats good advice Sam.
warminmn
 
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Re: Carfax, good or bad?

PostBy: Rick 386 On: Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:32 am

Rob R. wrote:I think it is a worthwhile check to see if a late model car has been wrecked, but it is worthless for service records or anything like that. I would push to have the dealer provide it.



Sorry Rob to burst your bubble but CARFAX is useless for wreck checking. The reason being is that insurance companies do not want to admit that inherent diminished value exists on wrecked vehicles. If the insurers reported crashes to CARFAX, they would be admitting that it does exist. CARFAX does get some of their info from frame machines that record damage based on the vehicles VIN.

Shops like mine do not report vehicle crash data as that would violate privacy laws. I was in Vegas years ago where CARFAX invited my trade group to a big shindig trying to entice us to report the vehicles we were repairing to them. We declined their offer but gladly ate and drank on their dime !!! :drunk:

I have been told that CARFAX gets a lot of their crash data from public sources like crash reports in police logs and in the newspaper.

And I have also witnessed salvage yards power washing insurance company totaled out flooded vehicles in their lots so they could resell them to unsuspecting folks.

My advice on anyone ever considering to purchase a used vehicle to take it to a reputable shop and have them thoroughly inspect it for crash damage or sediment from it being a previous flood vehicle. Most all vehicles have their SRS or air bag control module either under the seats or somewhere on the transmission hump. These control modules cannot ever be subjected to water damage or else corrosion will begin on their internal printed circuit boards.

Rick
Rick 386
 
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Re: Carfax, good or bad?

PostBy: Rob R. On: Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:35 pm

Thanks Rick. I knew not all accidents would be reflected, but I did not realize it was as bad as you just described.
Rob R.
 
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Re: Carfax, good or bad?

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:45 pm

Thx Rick..
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Re: Carfax, good or bad?

PostBy: davidmcbeth3 On: Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:52 pm

warminmn wrote:
The 3000 mi oil change is a thing of the past, has not been this way for years.

I use synthetic and change oil every 15,000 ... have been for many years. Zero issues encountered...cars over 120K miles etc.


You wont find many cars still running with 250-300,000 miles on them that had oil changed every 15,000 miles either. There are exceptions of course. Mine are just getting worn in at 200,000 :lol: I drive them til they rust in half or 3 pieces but try to change oil every 3000 miles, synthetic a little longer, same as EWF mentioned. Cheapest insurance there is.

I like the idea of carfax. Especially with all the people fixing up totaled vehicles. With the price of an auto you need every edge you can get.[/quote]

Well if I had my wifey pushing the car uphill and letting it slowly coast downhill then I would get 300K easy...good idea big W
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