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Can you trust car-fax?


Guest windjamer

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Guest windjamer

:confused: My stepson drives me nuts swaping cars. I just dont understand where he finds all these low mileage vechicles. The last 3 or 4 have all been 20 or more years old with only about 30000 on the clock!! These are daly drivers!! I look at them and ask, how come the rubber on the pedels is worn to the metal? They all have new tires most have new shocks,The color is worn off the arm rest and theres a hole worn in the front seat? He proudly hands me a car fax that shows less than the clock!!!! Now Im not suspicious by nature,but I have to ask,Is it car fax or car fox? :confused::confused:

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Guest palosfv3

Car fax should be taken with a "grain of salt". They track mostly later model stuff and still miss things. Nothing replaces a good expierienced physical inspection.

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Dick

It doesn't sound like two and two are adding up to four. If there is excessive pedal wear, upholstery wear, etc., on a car with only 30,000 miles, I'd bet the farm that something is not right with the paperwork and the odometer.

However, if he's paying little or no money for these 20-year-old cars and isn't having mechanical problems, then he's still ahead of the game.

Personally, I do not like to buy low mileage cars (for daily drivers), because almost always they need a lot more maintenance to make them reliable than a car that has high mileage. For instance, a properly maintained car that has 100,000 miles on the odometer (or better yet, 150,000) has already had many things replaced. A car with less than 50,000 miles on the odometer probably has had no replacement parts installed, but will soon need them. Also, "gremlins" have usually been sorted-out on the higher mileage cars, whereas "gremlins" may have not reared their ugly heads YET on a low mileage car.

So, all that recently done maintenance, plus, because of the high-mileage discount, you pay a lot less for a better car.

Edited by West Peterson (see edit history)
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Mr Peterson, very well said.. We call it the Grandma Syndrome...low mileage.."lot rot" all the things you mentioned plus engine s that never get hot enough to cook the moisture and acids from crankcase, eats up lower ends etc... You are so correct about the gremlins.

.I used to see lots of, modern era cars, young kid gets grandpa's car, first thing kid does is

floor board the throttle..shift detent sticks, rip off mechanics sell em new trans...fords, chryslers with mechanical trans "kickdowns" . Car gets more hard use first week than it ever had...Gremlins all appear....so unless it is rare.......be careful Car fax yeah right....here I will give you my cc number......

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I know of several cars that were involved in accidents. But Carfax shows they were never involved in an accident. I have no idea where Carfax gets its info, but obviously there are some big gaps. I would say if Carfax says it has high miles or has been in an accident, it has been. If it says it doesn't, that just means they have no record of it. Not that it never has been involved in an accident or has low miles.

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Guest windjamer

Take my word for it,after turning wrenches for 50+ years I think I know a 30000 mile car when I see one. I just have one vary nieve and gullable stepson. I would just like to know how these people get away with it. I went with him to look at one truck,low mileage never been hurt- yea right. I crawled under the truck while it was in the lot. When I got back from under it the salesman grabs my arm pulls me to one side and says,(If he buys the truck the salesman will give me a $50. commision. I told my stepson what the salesman said and I told him to run, dont walk away and so help me he BOUGHT THE DAMM TRUCK. We got a car fax. !!! I much prefer the sign I saw on a Caddy. for sale at a car show. OWNED BY A LITTLE LADY THAT BEAT THE SH** OUT OF IT EVERY SUNDAY. :D

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A fellow that I know that deals in good used cars told me when I ask him about CarFax, that it will tell me if it is a bad car but it will not tell me if it is a good one.

I used it when I bought my 2000 F250 tow vehicle, because it was being bought long distance and I wanted all the facts I could get. Had a friend look it over and made a refundable down payment if it wasn't as advertised when I picked it up. In my case the CarFax told a lot about where the truck had been and explained some of the damage and such. I used it on few other vehicles before my one month was over to see what came out and once for a friend. It showed up a Salvage Title on one of the vehicles.

I guess it is just an additional tool.

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CARFAX would have saved our granddaughter a big headache. When we went up to visit in July Ashley's Audi was leaking like a tent with a hole in it. The engine raced and it ran into the back of another car despite the fact she had both feet jammed on the brakes. It would not pass Mass. inspection.

She took it to trade it in. The salesman ran a CARFAX and discovered that she had been sold a car that had been in a flood in Pa. Had she been given/or requested a CARFAX it would have been discovered then. The dealership where she got the car claimed that they were duped. But someone owes her money for selling her a bad car. Now she has to go after them and they need to go after whoever sold it to them. They should have run one themselves before they bought it. I feel that they are lying about it.

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If the wreck or the breakdown didn't go through the insurance company, chances are EXCELLENT that it never got reported to Carfax.

Our purchase on Ebay from an unscrupulous person who lied about many items, was preceeded by a Carfax which showed absolutely ZERO. The car was registered when new; another registration at 179,xxx miles -- no items reported up to the time I bought a 229,000 mile vehicle which really had several thousand more miles : and the "Brand New Tires" were better than half-worn -- "Everything works" means that it used to work but now it will cost over $8,000 in the 1st 3 months to fix the electric door locks, make the back-up beeping sensor stop beeping, replace the front wheel drive front hubs, completely rebuild, re-pad, and re-leather the driver's seat, and we haven't even started on rebuilding the front-end suspension and steering ---- Talk about $20 Grand for a $12 Grand vehicle.

Sure, the seller was an outright liar and a fraud, and his response the only time he took my phone call, was "You bought it". Ebay's response was that it did not appear to be intentionally misrepresented. Carfax's response was that they only report what they know!

The vehicle was used commercially, for over 232,000 miles, and probably repaired in-house, or at some schlock back-street operation -- why bother reporting anything you don't have to! Can you imagine what this guy's tax return must look like?

In my opinion, both Carfax and Ebay could be useful tools, but are subject to being the tool of the cheat and the criminal.

If you plan to deal with JACK, or anybody from UAVINC on EBAY, or a Florida company called UNDERGROUND AUDIO-VIDEO (VISUAL?), you might want to check with me first.

Edited by Marty Roth
typo and corrected mileage (see edit history)
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Guest windjamer

I agree with Marty 100%, car fax can be a vary usefull tool, but I think some unscruplious dealers have found a way to cheat.

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Perfect words, it is but one tool that is available to the consumer. My dealership used Carfax almost from the beginning and it was great at times but naturally if the loss has never been reported, the company has no way to access any info.

Use all the tools you have at your disposition from buying from a reputable business, inspection, CarFax, etc. Always buyer beware when you purchase anything that has room for some dishonest person. It is a shame but that is the world we live in.

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CARFAX was sued in 2007 for their poor reports. The suit was settled (making the lawyers very rich, of course) but did little for consumers.

The lawsuit settlement was just overturned, and consumer groups are saying there should be more service or benefit to the consumer:

Carfax Settlement Is Overturned - Wheels Blog - NYTimes.com

Ohio Appeals Court Rejects Class-Action Settlement With Carfax

Let the buyer beware!

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Guest windjamer

I have seen cars that I know the mileage was turned back,eather by takeing the odometer apart ,using a reverse drill on the cable or just plain swaping it for a cluster with less on the clock. Im not sure what year cars and trucks started to recieve a body control modual (BCM) but I think this could aid in the detiction of altered odometers and make the cheese runny. I do know when some one brings a vech. to me to look at,after I make a quick walk awround the first place I look is the trunk. Its supprising how many dealers get that deer in the headlight look when I start pulling mats diggin in the cornors or maby sticking a finger in the diff. to see if it is full of water.:D

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Even digital odos can be diddled with the proper knowledge and equipment, is really just an indicator like anything else. OTOH the number of miles really does not mean much compared to the condition they experienced.

Just looked at a 1990 convertible with 22k miles but from the underside, about half were in the first year and in a rust belt state. Not good. No obvious rust except on the exhaust manifold bolts, but a number of rough surfaces that should have been smooth.

Still a nice car but worth about 1/2-2/3 of what a rust-free (central Florida definition) example would go for.

So all of the reports and documentation has some value but nothing beats an up-close and person examination by someone who knows what to look for and a digital camera.

(Note often a review of the pictures will often highlight things I missed visually. Not talking a cell phone but a good (I like Canon) 7.0MP or better example provides great detail.)

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Guest Siegfried

I bought a '99 Jetta VR6 for my daughter back in Sept. 09. Car had 56,000 original with Car-Fax to match and 1 owner. What a flippin diaster this car has been!!! I'm almost ashamed to admit it was built by VW. Why? I own and collect VW's and this one is a true bloody disaster!!!!!

Fifteen months and 4,500 miles later the repairs have been 1. radiator and hoses, 2. Rack and Pinion power steering rack and pressure hoses, 3. 2 batteries before I found the faulty ABS sensor that was killing the batteries (NOTE: I said I found it, no one else seemed to know how!!!), 4. piece of tail pipe that rotted out 5. Tie rod plus end, 6. Water pump, 7. Main fuse block that controls the ABS circuits and the engine coolong fan.

Who knows what is waiting to pop next?? We're not waiting. This rolling hulk is gonzo.

So much for Car-Fake, opps Fax. From now on ASK THE OWNER.

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Guest Nitrodamus

Car-Fax also runs several months behind a reported accident. So it is possible for someone to have a bad accident, have it repaired and sell it with a clean Car-Fax... only for the accident to show up after another person has bought the car.

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Go look at this listing; it is an EXCELLENT example of why you need to beware of Carfax:

Buick : Lucerne:eBay Motors (item 230421897150 end time Jan-18-10 13:30:05 PST)

Accoring to Auto Check, this car has been in three accidents, on three different dates. It has been through two dealer auctions, with announced frame damage.

According to Carfax, it has never been in an accident.

Enough said.....

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I bought a '99 Jetta VR6 for my daughter back in Sept. 09. Car had 56,000 original with Car-Fax to match and 1 owner. What a flippin diaster this car has been!!! I'm almost ashamed to admit it was built by VW. Why? I own and collect VW's and this one is a true bloody disaster!!!!!

I'm not a Volkswagon lover (or hater), but just like anything else, there is good and bad in everything. I was a diehard Ford guy, but 11 years ago I bought a brand new Chevy pickup. I didn't like the new Fords, and when you can drive a Chevy for 5 years and only have to replace brakes (not even so much as light bulb) I've been with Chevy ever since. Had I had problems with my Chevy, I might've switched back to a Ford, but like anything else, if I've had good luck with something, I tend to stick with it.

In either case, you got a lemon, but even with your own personal experience you know that Volkswagons aren't junk.

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Guest Siegfried

Yes, you're correct, they're not junk. I am just embrassed by the fact that I bought a car that has had this many problems. And my daughter is not very happy with the car as I've been told every time it breaks! But, like anything, the build quality is not in the consumers hands, and we're at the mercy of the builder. My 30 year old house is a good example of this. I've become a jack of all trades since buying this place, and actually don't regret the experience. I probably will not regret the '99 Jetta experience either as once again my experience capacity has been enlarged even though my wallet has shrunk a bit.

On another note, if I stick around long enough maybe I can pass along some of this '99 Jetta info to someone who might buy one as an antique to restore someday. Imagine that, seeing a 1999 car turn anttique and become collectible.

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