Reviewing a Carfax report is a must when researching vehicles that you may be considering purchasing.

This actually should be the first step in the purchase process because many cars have negative history issues. Researching vehicles via Carfax early in the shopping journey will help you eliminate bad cars quickly so you can spend more time researching the vehicles that you’d consider owning.

Carfax does not list much in the way of service history information, but they are very good at providing detailed information when it comes to odometer readings, DMV records, accident reports, total loss and any other sort of title history issue.

Carfax lists the important info in a few different sections on the report. Some of the info provided is just retail “fluff” to fill up the report, but most is very useful.

Here’s a few tips of what to check for in each section:


Section 1: Quick Glance of Vehicle History


Section one gives you a quick view of the important info that you need to review. This is where you’ll see alerts concerning accident and damage history, number of owners, any noted service records, use type and last reported mileage.

This is the most important section because you can usually spot a bad car right here and just move on to the next vehicle. Pay attention to the accident history and damage history especially. The “USE” section will also note if a vehicle has been used as a taxi or rental car, this is important info as well. Very few shops and dealers report service to Carfax, so the service section is not important.

Section 2: Ownership History


Section two is very short and there’s not much info to discuss here.

The type of owner is noted again because it’s important to note whether a vehicle is a previous rental car or taxi delivery vehicle. Other than that, this section just summarizes the vehicle mileage and highlights the fact that this particular vehicle has had only one previous owner.

Section 3: Title History


Section three is very short and to the point. This section deals with title history issues and this is where Carfax really shines. This is the real important stuff and Carfax is so confident in the accuracy of this info that they’ll actually buy the car from you if they missed something here.

Section 4: Additional Information


Section four is a little redundant. Carfax again lists info about “accidents/damage” reports, etc. Nothing to see here except whether or not an airbag was deployed or if frame damage or a frame repair was noted on a vehicle. This section is not overly valuable.

Section 5: Detailed History Info


Section five is pretty important and should be reviewed to mainly look for inconsistencies in the mileage that is being reported.

You’ll find registrations, some service info, state inspection records and more here.

Insider Tip:

Pay close attention to section one. You can typically spot a bad car by spending just a few seconds scanning the info listed in this section. Our buyers can usually eliminate a problem vehicle from consideration within five seconds when researching vehicles for our inventory at eimports4Less just by reviewing the first section.