Hmmm...don't want to pay for the service provided by CarFax maybe?
Have you considered the possibility that someone might provide a
cheapster like you with bogus information just out of spite? You may
be buying a Katrina special.....
Be aware that Carfax has not been very accurate on the cars we have now. My
son signed up to check out the Acura he eventually bought; it didn't
indicate any accident history even though it's clear the hood isn't original
and a front brace has wrecking yard markings on it. My daughter's car showed
up as having originally been a fleet car, but the title shows no such thing.
Carfax is only as good as the information they are able to obtain. If you
wreck your car and don't file a claim with the insurance company or the
police, who will ever know? Most states don't have a provision on a title
for "fleet vehicle".
Thanks for the people who helped. I just had a casual interest in a
I know...a Carfax just gets you closer at weeding out problems. At
least it's a start, but I also plan to look at the fender lines under
the hood for rippling, and under the car(hands&knees) to see if the car
has been welded together. I'll also check all around where there
might be panel misfits indicating a fix.
A visual check under the hood will tell you a lot, too. Remove the oil
filler cap and peek at the metal you can see. If it is silvery where the oil
isn't thick on it, that's a good sign of being treated well. A little
yellow-brown varnish is okay, crusty black deposits are a definite no-no.
Ditto with the radiator; you want to see the car when the engine is cold -
not only so you can be aware of any cold running problems but so you can
check the radiator. Remove the radiator cap and run your fingertip around
the rim inside the radiator; there should be no trace of rust. The coolant
should be up to the neck. Start the car and place the palm of your hand over
the radiator neck, using the other hand to pinch the tube to the overflow
reservoir - there should not be a steady rise in pressure in the next few
seconds, and especially not a pulsation from the cylinders. Those are strong
indicators of a failing head gasket and likely warped head - lots of
dollars. There should be no black grease thrown around from either front
axle (most often at the outer CV joint boot, those rubber bellows). Axle
repair is worth about $300 US per side. A head gasket replacement with head
milling will set you back about $1000 US, give or take.
Also ask when the timing belt was last changed and ask to see documentation
if it isn't nearly due (or overdue!). If it isn't documented you have no
choice but to have it changed - price varies fairly widely but is around
If an automatic, be very critical of the shifting and of the operation in
reverse. Honda trannies aren't known for smoothness, but they shouldn't slip
or misbehave. Repair can be very expensive, up to $3000 US.
Body damage is not usually as important to me as mechanical condition. I can
live with bent supports and ripples, but major defects are a bummer.
Mike (who prefers to buy cars with 100K miles or more)
when my wifes firebird was hit and i called the insurance co. I asked
if it would show on carfax. The response? Do you want it to? We
don't have to tell them anything!
I've seen a lot of cars pass carfax at the dealership I
work at, but once we get them off the ground it's a whole different
I find their service to be completely useless.
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