Carfax?

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Perhaps you may not believe a Carfax (or autocheck.com) report that shows either (1) five owners in ten years (though the seller says he is the only owner); or (2) odometer tampering; or (3) a salvage vehicle. I would rely on such information. Hence for my purposes, any of these would rule out the car for me. If the Carfax comes up clean on these points, then there is still doubt in my mind, but less so. Remember how KBB values a vehicle as well, and that KBB tends to be the standard for valuing a vehicle. Any title that is a "salvage" title or shows odometer tampering means the car cannot be valued in KBB's eyes. You can call people ridiculous for not being interested in a salvage vehicle or a vehicle with unknown mileage, but these people are a large part of the car buying market. What they say rules when it comes time to sell a car.
On insurance, the premium goes towards more than just damage to one's vehicle. Sure consider the value of the car, and your deductible, when reviewing that part of the premium going towards paying for damage to one's vehicle. But one cannot just compute the annual premium, note it will exceed the value of the car in X months, and say one is overpaying for insurance.
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On 09/28/2009 06:26 AM, Elle wrote:

what does the number of owners matter??? you only need one careless one to screw a vehicle up.

what does that really matter? inspection will show if the vehicle has been properly maintained. you only need one careless...

i don't get the problem with salvage. sure, some can be garbage, but that shows up on inspection.
fyi, my crx is salvage. the one prior lady owner had turned it in for the $600 california dmv clunker fee, and the junkyard wheeled it into their "whole vehicles" pound, then immediately sold it to me for $1000. the vehicle is all original, excellent condition [apart from paint because it lived outside], and well maintained. it's straighter than a vehicle damaged on the dealer's lot and repaired before first registration. but it's "salvage" because it had been de-registered.

that's like people wanting "natural" diamond vs lab-grown diamond. if the latter is still crystallized carbon, flawless, cheaper, and doesn't come smeared in blood, i see absolutely no problem with it, yet the brainwashed masses think otherwise.

why not? i don't understand why paying more to /not/ own your own vehicle in the event of an accident makes sense.
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Jim, I think your goals for owning a car are different from others'. In particular you seem feel that how the market values a car is irrelevant, hence odometer readings and salvage status are irrelevant. Fine for your and some people's needs. Not for mine and others', though. I want a car for which a price has been "set" by a resource like Kelly Blue Book. KBB.com will not spew out a price for cars with unknown mileage or having salvage status. Your argument is probably more with kbb than anything else.
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On 09/29/2009 11:26 AM, Elle wrote:

again, i think you're the victim of kbb's self-promotion propaganda. kbb is simply "reported" prices [dmv taxes anyone?], not actual market transactions.
example: honda crx. here in the san francsico bay area, kbb has a 91 crx si is listed as $2130 for "excellent condition". what an utter crock! a real "street" price of that vehicle in good shape is $4k - $6k. i've seen people selling non-rolling crx shells here on craigslist for $1500. and i have personally witnessed people outside a seller's door waving $100 bills and bidding the price of for-sale crx's up to 2 or 3x asking.
bottom line - consider whose interests kbb pricing may serve. and consider how they get their "data".
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First I'd have to consider how you get your data, the paucity of it, whether what you are talking about is ricers, etc. ;-)
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On 09/29/2009 08:11 PM, Elle wrote:

ricers aren't buyers/sellers?
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Elle wrote

I am suggesting that your anecdotal "sample" may very well consist overwhelmingly of ricers. If your sample is mostly ricers', then IMO it needs to be acknowledged that ricers' goals are different from someone who prefers stock and/or wants a reliable daily driver.
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On 09/30/2009 07:02 AM, Elle wrote:

compare kbb with this: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/cto/1392409597.html that's not "rice".
and that's a stock automatic. try an si in the same condition hereabouts and see what you get.
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It is a little hard to do proper maintenance by the schedule if the odometer is incorrect.

Knowing WHEN a salvage title vehicle was given a salvage title is useful. If the car was old and cheap when it was given a salvage title (like your car), then it may not be much of a concern (even minor cosmetic damage can cause an insurance company to declare such a cheap vehicle to be a "total loss"). But if the car was fairly new and valuable when it was given a salvage title, that is much more of a concern.
In any case, a title / registration history like Carfax or Autocheck will not tell you if a car is good. But it will tell you if a car has a title problem that warrants either extra suspicion beyond the usual suspicion one gives any used car, or if it is just not worth bothering to go look at it at all.
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I agree with robb, Leftie and you. To share experience for the archives, about a year ago when I was looking at Craig's List cars, the Carfax report showed that about one-third had had odometer tampering. Many also had a salvage title. This information was not being disclosed by the sellers. Also, a salvage title is important not because it is a clue to look for damage, a non-straight frame, etc. A salvage title is important because it means the car will not be fully insurable for damage to it in the future, regardless of the extent of repairs to the car in the past, because some insurance company somewhere has already paid out on the car for its full value.
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On 9/26/09 9:22 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@m11g2000vbl.googlegroups.com, "Elle"

I agree it won't be fully insurable. If you are going to buy a salvage car, its not really a viable idea unless its priced such that you would never consider putting collision coverage on it. You shouldn't need a salvage title to tell you to look for damage though. That's part of your inspection, CarFax or not. My feeling is if somebody wants to give me the Carfax free to look at, I'll look, but its not on my list of things I would spend money on.
I also agree with you as far as what you find on craigslist & in the local paper car section. The last couple of times I looked at cars that way, all I found was sleazy guys set up in vacant apartments with cars that appeared to have been used as outhouses, essentially unlicensed used car lots. The only places I've seen consistently nice used cars around here (Dallas) the past several years has been in new car dealers' used car lots & even then it is still caveat emptor at a lot of them.
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Elle wrote:

Just to counterpoint a bit, a friend just backed out of buying a 2002 Camry with very low mileage, because Carfax showed an 'odometer discrepancy'. It appears now that there was none. Most likely an inspection station wrote down the wrong number. So heck, you really can't even trust them 100% when they appear to find a problem...
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wrote:

buying a

'odometer
an
really
problem...
I thought the only thing you can trust %100 are ... death and taxes ?
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On 09/26/2009 07:22 AM, Elle wrote:

paying full coverage insurance on an old vehicle is a fools game. premiums outweigh the vehicle worth very quickly - and you lose your vehicle in the event of all but the teeniest fender bender. save the money and just get third party. then you can make your own decision on whether to repair, and pay for it out of your savings.
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If you still think that carfax is the way to go, here is a link to cbc's marketplace episode on used vehicle purchasing.
http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/2009/vehicle_history_reports/main.html
My own personal preference is to ask the dealer for a test drive, take the car home and do the fine tooth comb thing.
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