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How to Read a CARFAX Vehicle History Report

get a carfax vehicle history report in Indianapolis

CARFAX Vehicle History Report: Your Car Biography Explained

If you are buying a used car in Indianapolis, look for a vehicle with a clear history. At Indy Auto Man, you can order a free CARFAX report on a vehicle you buy.

CARFAX base is an easy way to check the vehicle history. Each car has a unique identification number – VIN. Many government and private agencies, for example, service stations, record information about each car and then correlate it with the VIN. You can find all this information in a CARFAX report .

Knowing how to read the report correctly and get as much information as possible about the car from it will ensure that you have made the right choice.


Is CARFAX better than AutoCheck?

CARFAX and AutoCheck are both trusted car report resources. But CARFAX tends to be more accurate when verifying mileage and reporting owner history.

Is CARFAX free to use?

If you order a report on a CARFAX website, you will have to pay:

  • $39.99 for 1 report.
  • $59.99 for 3 reports.
  • $99.99 for 6 reports.

How can I get a FREE CARFAX report?

To get a free CARFAX report, just choose a car from our inventory and access the report free on our website.

Content of the Report

get a free carfax report in Indianapolis

The report is divided into sections, each containing information on the vehicle and its history, such as:

  • Previous Owners.
  • Body Style.
  • Engine Information.
  • Safety Options.
  • Service History.
  • Accident History/Damage.
  • Title Information.
  • Recall Notices.
  • Odometer Readings

Let’s consider the most important sections in detail.

Previous Owners

This section is one of the most significant. You can get some valuable information, for example, if the car was rented or owned by a fleet.

You can also see whether a vehicle has crossed multiple states. This may indicate that someone has driven to a state that is less serious about damage reporting.

Safety Options

This information does not apply to one specific car. It is a certificate of safety and reliability of all cars in this model range. The usefulness lies in the fact that you can determine how this model suits you and whether you made the right choice.

Safety data includes:

  • crash test results and safety reviews from NHTSA ;
  • crash test results from the IIHS ;
  • the level of protection in case of impact at low speeds;
  • HLDI information on damage, accidents, and theft.

Reliability information includes:

Detailed History

This is the last and most detailed section of the entire report. Here you can find information about the former owners of the car, mileage indicators during the first and subsequent sales, and other detailed information that may be critical for the new car owner.

Here you can find all the information that exists in various databases regarding a particular car:

  • the data on the car maintenance or repair;
  • the dates of contacting the service station;
  • the reasons for possible breakdowns;
  • detailed data from the police or an insurance company.

What Are the Red Flags in a CARFAX Report?

carfax report red flags

Here are the main red flags you should look for in a CARFAX report:

Lack of Regular Maintenance

The first thing that should catch your eye in the report is whether the car received regular maintenance or not.

The owner or store that performed the maintenance may just not have reported an oil change, tire rotation, or part change. But if the vehicle is proven to have a regular oil change in Indianapolis, IN, this is likely to be a better choice compared to a similar one with a spotty history.

Flood Accidents and Damage

Many vehicles are involved in minor accidents every day, which ultimately have little or no impact on their performance in the long run.

Unfortunately, most CARFAX reports do not provide a complete explanation of the vehicle condition after the accident or even the details of the accident itself. The report informs the requestor that an accident occurred on a specific day.

Multiple Owners

While this is not a sign of a bad car, sometimes multiple owners should alert you in the used car report, especially if the vehicle has low mileage.

But if it is a sport or high-performance car, it could be that its previous owners just overestimated their capabilities.

Gaps or Failures in Reporting

When talking about violations, you should always look for gaps in data reporting. If there is too much time between oil change records and other regular maintenance such as new tires, you may be dealing with careless owners.

The main thing to look out for is the deviation of the odometer reading from one report item to the next. This means that someone could roll back the mileage on the vehicle in an attempt to deceive a potential buyer.

Car Rental

Is CARFAX free to use

A rental car is not a death sentence but a sign of caution. Such cars are usually sold after a certain mileage mark, as companies are trying to keep newer, low-mileage vehicles in their fleet.

Vehicles that were previously used as a rental typically have much more than the 15,000 annual average mileage, as they have been used for year-round travel and tend to be driven more roughly than a regular private car on a day-to-day basis.

On the other hand, rented cars often have timely maintenance and repairs, which many cars do not receive.

When considering whether to buy a rental car in Indianapolis, you need to weigh all pros and cons. You can save money on such a purchase, but there is no guarantee it hasn’t received rough treatment. But if the vehicle underwent a thorough inspection and was regularly serviced, you might find a gem.

The CARFAX reports are not perfect, but they can be rather helpful if you know how to read them. Usually, they are either too trusted by some consumers or neglected by others. You should treat such a report as a preview of the past of your car and nothing more. Use it to spot red flags and compare similar vehicles. Or visit Indy Auto Man in Indianapolis, and our managers will help you make an informed decision.