Buying a used car is a big investment, and it’s important that you do your homework properly before you put your signature at the bottom of the contract.
For this purpose, a Carfax report (formerly named Carproof) can contain precious details. But what kind of details? And how much does one have to pay to get them? Is it worth it?
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First, you must know that this document has four main components:
1. Accident History: A Carfax report contains information about any damage sustained by a vehicle, from hail damage to a total loss, including theft.
2. Liens: A lien is money still owed on a vehicle. If the car you buy has a lien, you could have to pay the previous owner’s debt. Don’t forget to check!
3. Outstanding Safety Recalls: The report will tell you if the vehicle still requires recall work to be done before you can drive it safely.
4. Maintenance History: A vehicle history report can show you what maintenance has been done, by whom, and how often, so you know what condition it’s in.
How Much Does It Cost?
Now, how much is a Carfax report? Of course, if the dealer or seller already has it and lets you see it, it’s free! Otherwise, Carfax Canada currently offers a basic version for $43.95 plus tax (with the inflation, expect an increase shortly!). If you want to add the liens component, the price goes up to $60.95.
It’s not exactly cheap, but it’s a small amount to pay compared to the several thousand dollars you’ll spend on a pre-owned vehicle. Peace of mind has its price.
Ideally, you’ll buy this report towards the end of the shopping process to validate your choice. Note that you can also order reports for several vehicles. Carfax allows you to get three (including one with liens information) for just under $150—or even less if there’s a promo.
However, remember that not all used car dealers and sellers use Carfax, and those who do sometimes decide to only register major repairs and forget the rest. Sometimes the mileage might also be missing.