What Is a CARFAX History Report?

One of the dangers of buying a used vehicle is that you do not know the history of the vehicle you are getting. What can you do to protect your used vehicle investment and ensure you are buying a reliable vehicle? Whether you just need a second vehicle for the household or you need to replace your old car, truck, or SUV that you've been driving around Kansas City, Overland Park, or Topeka, you want to know your next vehicle is one that you can trust. For help in answering those kinds of questions, fortunately, there is CARFAX.


CARFAX is part of S&P Global, the world's foremost provider of workflow solutions, analytics, benchmarks, and credit ratings in the global market for automotive capital and commodities. When CARFAX began, they started with a vision to be the leading source of historical information for used vehicle buyers and sellers. These days, CARFAX prides themselves on being the most comprehensive database in North America relating to history reports for used vehicles.

Vehicle history reports tell the history of a used vehicle. CARFAX gets information from over 130,000 data sources, including information derived from all U.S. States and Canadian provincial motor vehicle agencies and many auto auctions. They also get information from police and fire departments, fleet management and rental agencies, collision repair facilities and more.

What Do You Get with CARFAX?

CARFAX Vehicle History Reports can be obtained on all used vehicles from model year 1981 up to present.  To get a Vehicle History Report, a 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is needed and submitted to CARFAX. A report is generated instantly from the CARFAX database which has over 28 billion records. With a CARFAX report you get information on:

  • Service reports
  • Vehicle inspections
  • Registration history
  • Milage rollbacks, rollovers, and inaccuracies
  • Whether a vehicle was salvaged, junked, or recorded as a total loss
  • Used as a leased, personal, taxi, or police vehicle
  • Estimated mileage driven per year
  • Damage from flooding, hail, or frame damage
  • Last reported mileage
  • Warranty information
  • Length of ownership
  • Airbag deployment
  • Recall information
  • Major accidents
  • Multiple owners
  • Lemons

All this information is organized in an easy-to-read format, so you know the history of the vehicle you are considering buying. CARFAX reports are not flawless, and there may be inaccuracies. Consumer Reports found that errors in reports most often involved vehicles that had been seriously damaged but were not declared a total loss. These reports still provide the most useful information to the buyer regardless of errors that were missed.

CARFAX does back up their reports. In fact, CARFAX places a guarantee on their reports that states that CARFAX will buy your used car if it was purchased under false pretenses, because of an inaccurate report. The circumstances under which this guarantee is valid include:

  • State motor-vehicle agencies have the branding information on file (branding or a branded title means that the vehicle was damaged and was repaired back to a safe and drivable condition)
  • Proof that the vehicle had a branded title
  • Vehicle was registered within 90 days
  • One year after the report was issued

The guarantee is invalid if the vehicle was reported as "recovered stolen" or "theft" branded vehicles that have titles branded less than 60 days before the history report.

Premier Auto Outlet provides a CARFAX report on every used vehicle so long as the vehicle model does not pre-date model year 1981. Feel confident about buying your next used vehicle with Premier Auto Outlet.