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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: SoCal
Posts: 643
carfax questions

What is the reliability of carfax for late eighties models. Car I am looking at did not appear registered until 1989 with 11K miles on it. Car is an 1988.
Is this odd. Current owner only has his service records going back 10 years.

Vehicle also shows a couple failed emission test, but I am going to ask about those. I am mainly concerned about the high initial mileage.

BTW, car is a US WPOJB VIN, not grey market.
Old 03-26-2008, 05:44 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Maryland
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I don't have a lot of faith in CarFax.

When I was buying my 1981 930, I ran the carfax. I got a report with some mileage discreptancies. A week or so later I wanted to look at the report again (to try to make sense of it). So I went to their site and ran it again and this time I got a clean carfax report.

Even after that clean report came up, it seems everytime I check it the report comes up different. The report still comes up clean,...but it seems to me that the info in the report should be consistant. I see no reason for the info to change everytime I check it,....but it does.
Old 03-26-2008, 07:03 AM
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CarFax is only as good as the information being fed to it. I had a '03 Ford Lightning that I bought new. In '05 I wrapped it around a lightpost and caused almost $20K in repair work paid for by my insurance company, including a respray to the whole left side. After having some warranty work done on the head - blew a spark plug out the aluminum head - I felt it was time to buy something more "reliable." Cleaned it up to sell and paid for a CarFax so that I would have all the info avail for the next owner. To my surprise it had NO info at all about the accident or any of the warranty work. I didn't expect it to have the warranty info, you could get that from any dealer, but I sure as hell would have thought it would have the accident info. I ended up trading it in to let the dealer deal with it.

Bottom line: get the carfax for piece of mind, ABSOLUTELY pay for a PPI with someone who really knows these cars.
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:20 PM
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Like IRcalvin said, Carfax is only as reliable as its sources of information. So, if the DMV and insurance company databases are accurate, then the Carfax will be accurate, too. When I bought my car, its Carfax only went back about 10 years. The first 7 years never happened, according to Carfax. In retrospect, I think it's because the car was originally titled in California, and then later in Nevada (from where I purchased it). In California, if the DMV has no activity on a vehicle for 5 years, all data gets purged from the system. And if insurance companies and bodyshops don't report accident data, for whatever reason, again, it won't show up anywhere. Bottom line: a clean Carfax is no guarantee of actual history.
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:08 AM
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