To take advantage of the program, you'd have to prove that the vehicle had a branded title and that the branding information had been on file with a state motor-vehicle agency that provides data to the reporting services. Vehicles branded as "recovered stolen" or "theft" aren't covered.
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In addition, the guarantees are valid for one year after the report was issued, and apply only if you registered the vehicle purchase with the history report provider within 90 days. Finally, vehicles with titles that were branded less than 60 days before the history report was issued are excluded from coverage. That's because of the delay between the time a title is branded and the event is reported to the reporting services.
Reports are nonetheless useful. For example, for vehicles that we knew had branded titles, the services usually reliably reported the problem, especially Carfax and AutoCheck, which didn't miss any. Moreover, there were several cases in which damaged vehicles with clean titles were nevertheless flagged by Carfax and AutoCheck based on accident reports the two providers receive from some police departments and other agencies.
There's also a good chance that the services will know about a previously branded title, even if a clean one has since been issued. Scammers sometimes patch up wrecked vehicles and re-title them in states with less-stringent requirements, a process known as "title washing. We appreciated some of the extras that come with Carfax and AutoCheck, including a list of ownership changes, periodic odometer readings, occasional maintenance records, and details about whether vehicles were ever rentals or leased.
Keep in mind that we had no way of verifying the information or knowing if anything was omitted. And a final reason to get a report: Even if a used car or truck checks out with a mechanic, having an accident or other blemish on a history report—even if it's incorrect—can seriously reduce the vehicle's value when you buy it and later when you sell it. Have the vehicle inspected. Just because a report is clean, it doesn't mean that the vehicle has no problems. Some dealers who have provided "clean" reports are using them in court as a defense against charges that they knew a vehicle was a former wreck when they sold it.
We also know cases of dealers altering reports that showed problems. So before buying a used car, take it to an independent mechanic to have it checked for any evidence of damage.
How to Check a Used Car's History for Free
Don't skip the test drive. Make note of unusual squeaks or rattles. If a car pulls to one side or tracks poorly, then that might hint at previous damage.
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Check the backs of body panels and doorjambs for paint overspray, a signal that the car might have had bodywork. The smell of mildew or mold could indicate water damage.
Check the title. Always inspect the title document. Look for any "brands" indicating that the vehicle had been wrecked, repurchased under a state "Lemon Law" program, flooded, or had any other problem. Verify the odometer statement against the reading in the vehicle. Ask the seller for a history report.
For more than 30 years, CARFAX has been helping millions of used car shoppers make better purchase decisions and avoid expensive hidden problems.
FREE Vehicle History Report | FREE VIN Check | FREE Carfax Report | FREE VIN Lookup
In addition, CARFAX has helped used car dealers around the world to build trust with their customers and sell their American cars with confidence. With more than 14 billion records, CARFAX has built up its database with the help of its partners and sources, including government offices, law enforcement agencies, service and repair shops, car dealerships, insurance companies and many more. In addition to publicly available information, CARFAX has collected information from many independent reliable sources. Current statistics show that a large percentage of all cars on the road have a negative history.
Mileage rollback is one of the most occurring types of fraud in the selling process of used cars. Consumers do, however, have options to detect mileage fraud.
Find used cars & buy reports
Therewith, they are able to protect themselves against used vehicle fraud and especially against mileage inconsistencies. Every year, millions of vehicles in the United States are declared salvage. We started the new version of the VIN decoder! VINformer 7. It is faster, get more information. The new API for subscribers is available also! We are totally updated the website today!
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Before you buy your used car, check its history with Carfax
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