How Accurate Is Car Fax?

From time to time we get asked questions about Car Fax reports.  Most times it is either “Do you turn our accident information into Car Fax?” or “I’m looking at buying a car, how accurate is Car Fax?”  As an owner of a body shop for the past 10 years I have never been asked to provide information to Car Fax; however, Car Fax does list Collision Repair Facilities as one of their sources for information.  Some of the other sources include; U.S. Motor Vehicle Agencies, Auto Auctions, Service Facilities, Insurance Companies, Salvage Auctions, Automotive Recyclers, Rental Companies, State Inspection Stations and Extended Warranty Companies.  Car Fax states “as extensive as our database is, we do not have all accidents as many have never been reported, or may only have been reported to a source to which CARFAX does not have access.”  This statement is very true because we repair cars every week where vehicle owners will pay for the damage out of their own pocket.  Recently I was talking to a body shop owner who said he had followed 10 cars that he had repaired, the repairs ranged from $500.00 to $10,000.00.  Out of those 10 cars not a one of his repairs showed up on the Car Fax report.  There are 2 points I want to stress here.  1.  Just because a Car Fax report shows no damage, doesn’t mean the car has not been in an accident.  2.  Just because a car has been in an accident doesn’t mean the car’s not worth buying.  Every year we repair some 500+ vehicles and just because these vehicles have been in an accident doesn’t make them bad vehicles.  The most important thing would be the quality of the repair made to the vehicle.  If a car has been repaired properly it will be hard to identify the damage.  My suggestion when buying a vehicle is to first try to get the prior owner’s name and if you’re still in question about a vehicle take that vehicle to a mechanic shop or a body shop and have them look it over.