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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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Discussion Starter #1
There's a problem with Carfax - while the report may not show any problems, it surely is not complete. Everybody (including Carfax) pushes that if you have a Carfax, you know everything. This is SO false. There are some/many shops that do NOT publish data to Carfax and so the report is only as valid as the data that's been posted.
 

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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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2,436 Posts
Yep. A Carfax can be a red flag but never a green flag. At best a clean Carfax is a yellow flag - proceed with caution with a mechanic's inspection.
 

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2017 Forester CVT
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38 Posts

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2017 Forester
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131 Posts
CARFAX is a joke - I got a carfax report on my sons corolla... didn't even match the VIN... I've had the car for 17 years ( it's a toyota corolla after all ) but still.... gotta wonder... the sales lot had the wrong VIN on it too... shifty characters they were, no telling where that car came from.... but, 17 years later it still runs...
 

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2017 Touring CVT
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128 Posts
There's a problem with Carfax -
Doubtful recovery even if dealer or private owner knew of issue. In the absence of an express warranty from a dealer any implied warranties will be disclaimed in the sales agreement. If a private owner it's virtually always an "as is" sale.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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2,153 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Was never saying that the incomplete carfax is any type of reason or action to be taken.

I was merely saying that having a carfax report is (basically) worthless. Carfax COULD be a valuable tool - if it was complete in detail and accuracy for any/all dealer/shop type repairs. If Bob's Subaru provides data but John's Auto Shop doesn't, then the Carfax is flawed. I would never trust carfax beyond a simple idea of some possible repairs and maintenance that have been done.

Maybe I should have prefaced that original post "THAT'S the problem..." instead of "there's a problem...."

As a tech guy, I sort of live by an old acronym from the early days of computing - GIGO - Garbage In, Garbage Out... If you put in bad data, you're going to get back out bad data (if any data at all). Too many people have bought into the advertising shpiel of Carfax that it is some type of accurate and perfect record and it surely is not. OK, Rant over.
 

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2019 Forester Touring
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902 Posts
point well made...

The lack of any service/repair history on a Carfax or any other report simply means there isn’t any information... Not that there wasn’t any service or repair work done.

I‘ve never relied on a Carfax, nor would I. Too many ways for important history to NOT be reported...
 

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2019 Forester
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169 Posts
I had a car that had engine block replaced due to oil leak issues and it was listed on CARFAX as an oil change. Not always their fault - they report what has been reported.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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2,153 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
@OriginalTwoTone - as I mentioned, I'm a tech guy... I can't tell you the number of times I've had some newly minted IT Tech come along, spouting about how he worked SO HARD to get his MCSE certificate (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) and yet - we played a joke on him by dragging the task bar from the "standard" bottom of the screen to the top .. oh and set it to auto hide... He couldn't figure out where his task bar was... So yeah, tell me again how useful that MCSE certificate is...?

Same for Carfax.
 

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I was an Aviation Machinist Mate in the Navy(jet mechanic). When I got out I went to school for 2 years to get my A&P and GROL licensees to work on aircraft in the public sector. Right at the time we all graduated the economy had taken a dump and airlines were laying off people not hiring.
So I turned to cars, went in blind and took all 8 ASE to be master tech, passed 6- just missed on the Transmission and AC tests.

I was shocked that a 40 question test said you were qualified and knew what you were doing. One of the best tech I ever knew was horrible at test taking- so he was never ASE certified.

In contrast for the A&P it was a much longer written test and then a practical. You met the tester in the hanger and he could pick any aircraft and say show me how you do X and you had to get it right. It's been over 30 years, but if memory serves me right it was about a 6 hour practical.


As a side note to mention how it's abused. As soon as I had my ASE certs, the owner of the transmission shop I worked at started using the ASE logo in his adds and around the shop. I was the only one with an ASE certs and they weren't in transmissions.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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2,153 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
@MaineJon - that's exactly it. It's only as good as the information provided (if any at all). Even the MySubaru app and website is the same - it's only as good as the information provided. If the dealership or repair shop only lists "oil change" - but they do some major work like a new block - that's doing a huge disservice to you (as the owner) and to the next buyer. That's why I have every single repair order and receipt in a folder that I can pass along to any future owner.

Of course, if I trade the Foz to a dealer, the next owner will never see it, probably.
 

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2017 XT
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18 Posts
I'd say it's just another tool, know it's limitations and intended use, you'll be fine. You can put drywall screws in quite easily with a hammer, if you're a decent carpenter. Doesn't mean they work very well for their intended use.

If it was a lease, and all the scheduled maintenance was done by the leasing dealer, that's a positive indicator. No more, no less.

I'll take the game theory/statistics approach. It depends on your assumption, to me the Type I error is a bad thing, you use the CF as a positive test for good vehicle. I guess I use it as a "try and convince me this is a good car". If the false positive happens (I assume bad, it tells me bad, but is actually good) I'm really out nothing other than a missed opportunity to spend money on a product. I'm still money ahead. If I assume good car and CF tells me good, but it's actually bad, I'm out money. Definitely not good. Use it as just one more indicator of a not bad vehicle.

Mysubaru.com was a little bit of a let down. I had to prove to them I was the new owner (glad I had to provide info), so I thought I would get the service history performed by Subaru dealerships similar to the way toyota.com/owners does. Toyota provides me all the services done by the dealerships, not those outside the network or self performed. On my Tacoma and daughter's Rav, the CF and dealership records match. So confirmed in my mind for a low-ish miles/off-lease vehicle the CF works ok for my intended functionality.
 

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2020 Subaru Forester Sport
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34 Posts
As bad as it sounds, I found Googling the VIN to be more accurate than CarFAX in a few cases. I've caught vehicles being sold with horrendous prior crash damage, because they show up on Copar or something else like it, when the CarFAX will be clean for it.

CarFAX mainly gets their data from two sources: insurance and police reports. Most autobody repair facilities report to them too, but there are some backwoods ones who don't and some people do seek them out because 1. they might be cheaper than ones that would employ proper business ethics and they don't have collision coverage. 2. They intentionally want it to not effect their trade/sale value, so they're willing to pay it out of pocket and settle it without a police report, if possible for the type of accident for it to not show up.

So yeah, when buying any used vehicle, any information you can get on it including a FAX, googling the VIN, and having a trustworthy mechanic inspect it (like South Main Auto on Youtube, I live about 60 miles from his shop too. lol); or inspecting it yourself if you're mechanically inclined enough to do so, will work in your favor. Not gathering this information will work in only the seller's favor.
 

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2020 Subaru Forester Sport
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34 Posts
@OriginalTwoTone - as I mentioned, I'm a tech guy... I can't tell you the number of times I've had some newly minted IT Tech come along, spouting about how he worked SO HARD to get his MCSE certificate (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) and yet - we played a joke on him by dragging the task bar from the "standard" bottom of the screen to the top .. oh and set it to auto hide... He couldn't figure out where his task bar was... So yeah, tell me again how useful that MCSE certificate is...?

Same for Carfax.
Fellow tech guy here. I love that prank. Also another funny one is doing that and screenshotting the desktop (including taskbar in its "regular" position and icons), setting it as the wallpaper, and hiding the icons. I'm so mean sometimes.

Relating it to the topic, that is how disorientated CarFAX can be if someone puts a lot of effort into getting around their reporting methods.
 

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I too can vouch about the inconsistencies of a Carfax report. My wife owned a 2010 Focus that was unfortunately involved in 6 accidents in it's lifetime. Of the 5 that didn't total the car, only 1 ever appeared on the Carfax, all 5 repairs were conducted at reputable repair shops and was paid for by insurance. When we received a copy of the history report after the 6th accident the only one that was on the report was the one where Police were involved. So if buying a used car, use the Carfax or Autocheck as a tool, but don't use it as the definitive source, definitely inspect used cars carefully.
 

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2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
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146 Posts
Unless something is actively reported to CarFax, it will not be in the record. Not all service points report to or participate with CarFax. By example with my previous vehicle, service I had done in Florida while traveling appeared on the records, but none of the service done by my local dealer appeared. A database is only as good as the information that's input to it.
 

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2019 Forester
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169 Posts
I had a car in which the manufacturer had to replace the engine due to oil leaking through the engine body - CarFax listed the repair as oil change. A new engine wasn't a bad thing but it isn't the same as oil change. I know they can only report information they are given but just don't believe all you read
 

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Well, when they changed the engine, technically they changed the oil in it, too... ;-)
 

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Carfax can only be used to rule out a vehicle, not to confirm that it's any good. It can be helpful to show regular maintenance however, unless the guy did it himself at which point who knows if it's true or was done properly. Doing things yourself will make some people not even consider your car as they want to see Dealership service on the Carfax, not a complete blank. I'm not saying what to do, just telling you what I've heard others say.
 
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