Here are some things to look for—or look out for—when you get a report on a vehicle. None of these things is necessarily a reason not to buy a car, but you shouldn’t make a decision without asking about anything you see on a vehicle history:
• Many owners. The more garages a car’s been in, the less likely it’s been lovingly cared for all its life. Not everyone is as diligent about car care as you are. You may pay a bit more, but finding a one-owner car can reduce your chances of ending up with one that’s been neglected.
• Location, location, location. Some parts of the country are more car friendly than others. Winter storms (with their accompanying salted roads) can be rough on cars, as obviously can floods, excessive heat or even sea air. Cars that have been where these are common may have hidden damage.
• The price is right. No two cars are exactly the same, as every car has a unique history. And that history can affect value, but how much? CARFAX Reports include a History Impact Calculator, helping buyers understand how much more or less than the retail book value a car is worth. Use this tool to help determine if the seller’s asking price is fair.
• Unfixed recalls. Recalls are fairly common but can be a serious problem if left unfixed. Keep an eye out for open recalls and if you see any, make sure the car’s taken to a dealer immediately to be fixed—it’s free.
Vehicle history reports from CARFAX are an essential step in the used car−buying process. They’re also a powerful tool for selling a car. More than 34,000 sources across North America report information to CARFAX, such as state motor vehicle departments, vehicle inspection stations, auto auctions, repair facilities, rental agencies, automobile manufacturers, and fire and police departments. Learn more at www.carfax.com.