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Old 11-11-2011, 11:42 AM
 
530 posts, read 2,764,754 times
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Hello, my wife & I have a 2005 Honda Odyssey which we purchased from a dealer about 2.5 years ago. We got the CarFax prior to purchasing the car and it was clean.

We recently had a minor accident and my wife was at the dealer today to talk about having some minor body repair work done. She says that the body repair person pointed out something on the side of the car which he claims indicates that "major" repair work had been done on the car in the past and that it had probably been in a very significant accident. One of the salesmen at the dealership said they wouldn't even be able to sell our car because of this (other than the minor dent from the accident, the car is in fine shape).

If this is true, that the car was in a major accident, why wouldn't it have shown up on the CarFax? And does anyone believe that the dealership wouldn't even sell the car because of this? I know if I put it on Craigslist today I would have it sold privately within a couple of weeks, so I'm skeptical that the dealer wouldn't even try and sell it because of some supposed accident from the past.

Thanks.
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Old 11-11-2011, 12:08 PM
 
Location: La Jolla, CA
7,285 posts, read 15,094,163 times
Reputation: 11636
It's very possible. Both Carfax and AutoCheck are only as reliable as the data sources from which they get their information. Total loss scenarios can fail to show up, although this is getting less common.

Order a new report and see if it shows up now. Sometimes information comes online, when it was not available earlier.

Not all accidents are reported to sources that report to Carfax. If you slipped off the road and went into a tree, had the car towed out, repaired, and returned to you, there is no accident report, and there may very well be no sign of it on a vehicle history report either (unless it was a total loss). The quality and penetration of detailed information on accidents, varies by government agency, private companies (dealers, etc), and so on.

Would the dealer sell it? Depends on their policy. Some (example: Carmax) auction off everything with paintwork or major repaired damage. Others may only use the Carfax report to determine whether the car can be sold.

If the Carfax report is still clean when you sell it, then it still has a clean Carfax report, so it can be sold as having a clean Carfax report. Carfax and AutoCheck are guidelines, and most people would sooner overlook signs of major accident damage, taking the word of one of the title check services above that of someone who is able to identify previous damage.

Finally, keep in mind that you are only dealing with the word of one person reporting "previous damage", and the severity of that damage. And that person works for a place that buys and sells cars (apparently). It's conceivable that there was prior damage, but that they may be trying to perhaps coax you into getting out of that old car now that you know it has previous damage. And you might be willing to let it go at a bargain price just to get out of it. After that, they may have a change of heart and put it on the lot for top dollar anyway. Because what they buy from you may look really bad, but once they buy it, they would probably downplay any damage and sell it as "clean Carfax". It's just how the auto business works.

What I'd do in this situation: Run a new Carfax before you sell the car. If no evidence of an accident, then you really don't know that it ever was involved in one, and if it was, you have no way of gauging the severity, or lack thereof.
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Old 11-11-2011, 12:20 PM
 
774 posts, read 2,351,176 times
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It is actually pretty rare that something does actually come back on a Carfax report. Over the years we have run Carfax's on cars we know for sure have been in major accidents, repaired by quality shops and they never show up on carfax. Of the 8 or so we've checked only one had any kind of record.

I was hit head on in my 4-Runner about 6 yrs ago. The truck went back to Toyota dealer for repairs. The bill was 17K and they decided to fix it. A couple of years later the same truck was parked and got hit my a plow truck and did 7K worth of damage. Again it was fixed by toyota and I drove it another few months. We ran a carfax on it before I sold it to see what was on the record and it was clean. This is just one example....

I've said it before. Do not trust carfax. Anytime you buy a used car it needs to be inspected by someone that knows what they are looking at.
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Old 11-11-2011, 12:31 PM
 
530 posts, read 2,764,754 times
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I said the same thing to my wife. The salesperson told her the most he could give her for it was what she still owed on it. I told my wife, yeah, do that and come back here in a week and you'll see it for sale for twice that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 43north87west View Post
It's very possible. Both Carfax and AutoCheck are only as reliable as the data sources from which they get their information. Total loss scenarios can fail to show up, although this is getting less common.

Order a new report and see if it shows up now. Sometimes information comes online, when it was not available earlier.

Not all accidents are reported to sources that report to Carfax. If you slipped off the road and went into a tree, had the car towed out, repaired, and returned to you, there is no accident report, and there may very well be no sign of it on a vehicle history report either (unless it was a total loss). The quality and penetration of detailed information on accidents, varies by government agency, private companies (dealers, etc), and so on.

Would the dealer sell it? Depends on their policy. Some (example: Carmax) auction off everything with paintwork or major repaired damage. Others may only use the Carfax report to determine whether the car can be sold.

If the Carfax report is still clean when you sell it, then it still has a clean Carfax report, so it can be sold as having a clean Carfax report. Carfax and AutoCheck are guidelines, and most people would sooner overlook signs of major accident damage, taking the word of one of the title check services above that of someone who is able to identify previous damage.

Finally, keep in mind that you are only dealing with the word of one person reporting "previous damage", and the severity of that damage. And that person works for a place that buys and sells cars (apparently). It's conceivable that there was prior damage, but that they may be trying to perhaps coax you into getting out of that old car now that you know it has previous damage. And you might be willing to let it go at a bargain price just to get out of it. After that, they may have a change of heart and put it on the lot for top dollar anyway. Because what they buy from you may look really bad, but once they buy it, they would probably downplay any damage and sell it as "clean Carfax". It's just how the auto business works.

What I'd do in this situation: Run a new Carfax before you sell the car. If no evidence of an accident, then you really don't know that it ever was involved in one, and if it was, you have no way of gauging the severity, or lack thereof.
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Old 11-13-2011, 08:16 AM
 
Location: Earth
4,237 posts, read 23,036,476 times
Reputation: 2245
As pointed out, Carfax only shows what's been reported to them. I believe usually when a police report is done, does Carfax get any info.
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Old 11-13-2011, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,719 posts, read 28,112,787 times
Reputation: 9250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deez Nuttz View Post
As pointed out, Carfax only shows what's been reported to them. I believe usually when a police report is done, does Carfax get any info.
Tiny but important semantic difference - nothing is really reported to Carfax. Instead Carfax scours publicly available data sources. Police reports, title changes, inspections, etc. No police department sends its data to Carfax.

The single most useful thing about Carfax is determining how many owners the vehicle had. Title changes are probably the most reliable set of data they search.
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Old 11-13-2011, 12:21 PM
 
774 posts, read 2,351,176 times
Reputation: 739
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffdano View Post
Tiny but important semantic difference - nothing is really reported to Carfax. Instead Carfax scours publicly available data sources. Police reports, title changes, inspections, etc. No police department sends its data to Carfax.

The single most useful thing about Carfax is determining how many owners the vehicle had. Title changes are probably the most reliable set of data they search.

Actually that's not very reliable either. When I sold the 4-Runner mentioned above the buyer ran their own Carfax and not only did it NOT show the two accidents but it listed me as the only owner. I was actually the 2nd owner.

Long and short is Carfax is a joke.
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Old 11-13-2011, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Summerville, SC
3,382 posts, read 7,861,110 times
Reputation: 1455
I had a car that was in a decent wreck, almost totaled it, but didn't, never showed up.
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Old 11-13-2011, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Texas
14,076 posts, read 19,134,441 times
Reputation: 7757
GIGO...Garbage In, Garbage Out.
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Old 11-13-2011, 05:11 PM
 
Location: San Diego
42,323 posts, read 38,360,944 times
Reputation: 26636
We are close to the border so anyone taking their car South for repairs won't show on carfax.
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