Many buy used cars in Canada or elsewhere because of their affordability. However, this bargain comes with the risk of purchasing a unit that’s endured various issues, from accidents to natural disasters.
Aside from test-driving a car, buyers must do a thorough background check to understand the unit’s history and determine its condition or value. The good news is that through services like the CARFAX report, buyers can learn any potential red flags before closing a deal.
Read below to learn more about the CARFAX report and how it can help you when buying a used car. Plus, discover why using a CARFAX alternative is better for certain buyers.
Understanding the CARFAX Report
CARFAX is the most popular international database that collects information about used vehicles throughout the US, Canada, and select European countries. They aim to provide consumers with accurate records about a car’s history, helping them make an informed decision when buying at a dealership.
A CARFAX report offers comprehensive information that summarizes all publicly available data about a car. It includes details like owner history, maintenance records, accidents, and other significant events that could affect a car’s current shape and market value.
This report lets potential used car buyers know more about their desired unit. They only need the vehicle identification number (VIN) and a starting price of around 43.95 CAD to acquire their desired unit’s history directly from the CARFAX website.
How the CARFAX Data Helps Used Car Buyers
A vehicle’s history report may vary depending on the public records available. However, they provide enough details to help you better decide on your ideal used car.
For instance, a report will provide a vehicle’s maintenance records to show if the previous owner kept up with its routine maintenance. If the records are current, the car is likely in excellent condition.
The report should also show if the car was involved in any accidents using data from insurance companies, police agencies, and other relevant sources. Plus, it indicates if airbags were deployed due to an accident. When you find such records in the report, it’s best to bring a mechanic to inspect the vehicle further and determine its market price. Knowing that a car was involved in an accident can give you leverage for a significant deal.
Aside from collisions or minor fender benders, the report should also show if the vehicle has endured damages from fire, floods, and other natural disasters. Some records may leave this information out, but there’s another way to tell this and other issues with the unit.
Check if the vehicle has been moved repeatedly across different states or from areas with recurring flooding issues. If so, think twice about buying the unit because moving the car around is a way to hide previous damages from natural disasters and title issues.
Meanwhile, you must be wary of vehicle registration history gaps. This could indicate that the unit was stolen and took a long time to recover or rebuild.
Why Use the Alternatives
CARFAX is one of the best options when acquiring a vehicle’s history. However, getting a report from the CARFAX platform may have disadvantages that used car buyers must watch out for.
As mentioned, CARFAX charges Can$43.95 for a single vehicle history report. It also charges $60.95 for one with a lien check. A lien is an interest on the car an owner grants to a bank, financial institution, or other similar party, typically as collateral for debt. For instance, if a person takes out a loan from the bank to get a car and doesn’t pay it back, the bank could repossess the unit.
Paying for a history report with a lien check will come in handy, but it significantly costs more. Meanwhile, cheaper CARFAX Canada alternatives like VinAudit offer history reports that start around $15 and go up to $45 with ten reports. Their prices are significantly more reasonable since buyers can get more than three car reports or the maximum number that CARFAX provides for $98.95. They offer a more fantastic deal even without the lien check, considering buyers can take the extra step and look for such records themselves.
Moreover, the alternatives provide nearly the same information as CARFAX. Some even offer details like manufacturer buyback and salvage auction data to give a more comprehensive report for used car buyers.
Know More About Your Prospective Car
The CARFAX report provides critical details that help buyers make a data-driven decision when purchasing a unit. This system has been widely available, and many alternatives are now accessible to help those looking for a cheaper option to CARFAX. These options provide the same valuable resources that offer buyers comprehensive information about a unit’s history.
The key is to take your time and know more about your desired car. That way, you can drive home with a quality used vehicle that has handled well over time.