When it comes to a car’s condition, we often mention the Carfax report. A Carfax report is your window into a car’s past. Like a private eye, it gleans cues from insurance companies, DMVs, and even the police to tell you about a car’s background.
In the most extreme cases, it can save you from buying a lemon. Since it can be so helpful, we include a full free Carfax report for every car we list on Shift.
How it works
A Carfax report is essentially a data snapshot of a number of different available data records. It gathers information from police departments, insurance companies, DMVs, and auction houses to piece together a history on nearly every car out there. Their data-gathering team in Virginia adds about 3.5 million records a day, with a compiled total of about 15 billion records.
Why a Carfax report can be useful
Big Lebowski car impoundThe records included in a Carfax report tell you things you wouldn’t know by just going for a test drive or having a mechanic inspect the car (things you should also do, by the way). A Carfax report is a little like a crystal ball that can give you a picture of a car’s past, such as:
Odometer readings and repair history
Number of past owners
Any accidents reported by DMVs, insurance companies, or police departments
Whether the car’s a lemon or been salvaged or junked
Whether a car was ever used as a fleet vehicle, autos used by businesses and often subject to lots of abuse
Lien and repossession history
Emission inspection statuses
Manufacturer recalls and buybacks
All of this info lets you avoid getting scammed and helps you make a more informed decision about the car you’re about to buy.
Where does all that data come from?
Carfax must have an army of data crawlers trolling the internet because the company culls data from about 92,000 sources—everything from motor vehicle agencies, to many police and fire departments, collision repair facilities, and auto auctions (Shift uploads all of our diagnostic and repair data to Carfax, too!)
Here’s their list of all of the sources:
Law enforcement agencies U.S. motor vehicle agencies
Canadian provincial motor vehicle agencies
Auto auctions and salvage auctions
Collision repair facilities
Rental/fleet vehicle companies
State inspection stations
Extended warranty companies
Car dealerships Import/export companies
Here at Akron Select all of our vehicles come with a complimentary CARFAX report!