Carfax and Minor Damage? (Here’s what the report contains)

If you are looking for a used car, your aim is to maximize your purchase, and, luckily, there is a simple way to do it. By using Carfax, it will provide a report that gives you the essential information you need, including ownership history, insurance details, usage history, and accident records.

So, what does Carfax consider minor damage? Minor damages in a Carfax report mean that the car did not suffer any severe issues that required significant repairs. Examples of minor damages as interpreted by Carfax includes scuffs, small bumps, dents, or broken side mirrors and headlights.

Generally, these incidences do not interfere with the car’s normal functioning and do not depreciate the car’s value. Therefore, as long as the report indicates the incident as minor, you may not expect any functional or mechanical damages to the vehicle.

Any informed buyer would check a used car’s accident history before buying it since past incidences like level of damages and number of previous owners can influence the car’s price tag. Many first-time buyers would invest in a vehicle even without necessarily checking its accident history; however, it may be the most important thing to do.

For many buyers, the accident report determines whether to keep the car or not. In most cases, an accident implies that the vehicle sustained damages, which interfered with its regular operation. Most likely, someone had to check and piece it back together. If the garage didn’t do the repairs properly, the car becomes a hazard to the following user because such cars can break down and cause severe accidents. These records also ensure that you get the best deal out of your vehicle because any reported accidents are a justified cause of reduced value, giving you a head start at bargaining.

Therefore, if the car you wish to buy has an alert indicating any damages, it can be a bargaining tool to help you obtain the best deal. However, it doesn’t mean that every car involved in an accident is faulty because some previous owners may have recorded minor incidents that did not cause any issues with the vehicle. If you are uncertain of the damage extent, you can peek at the report from the actual incident to know what happened, but at a small fee.

Depending on the case, you can decide to take the car at a considerable bargain or look for another one if you can stretch your budget a little. The bottom line is that an accident is a significant occurrence that should influence your decision since it means you may be getting a vehicle that is unsafe for you and other drivers. Moreover, if the car would break down again, its value decreases significantly, making it unsuitable for a lucrative resale.

Do All Accidents Show Up on Carfax?

Buying a second-hand car requires a thorough background check before deciding whether it is the right fit for you. You may need all the information you can get about it to understand the pricing and whether you are getting a good deal or a lemon. Thanks to Carfax, potential car owners can now get such information, and we aim to find out how accurate the system is.

You may find all the accident information concerning the car you are about to buy on Carfax provided that the car’s previous owners reported the incident, or the firm has access to your service provider.

Therefore, Carfax vehicle history can only give data that is at its disposal. Still, any other accident details may not appear unless the vehicle owner personally hands over the data. Also, if the mechanic doesn’t work with the Carfax, then another user cannot tell when a significant repair happened on the vehicle. However, most significant accidents usually involve the police, meaning there are high chances that severe damage would appear on the Carfax.

The vehicle history at Carfax will give you every detail about the car’s accidents, provided that the car owner, the mechanics, and the authorities play their part. They all have to ensure that they provide timely information to Carfax without any alterations. This way, you can access the vehicle’s entire and accurate history with one click.

On the contrary, there are cases where the authorities or the repair shop does not report the incidences, and the data fails to reach Carfax’s database. Therefore, it becomes tasking to find an accurate list of accidents that have occurred. Fortunately, Carfax records usually include the damage, the extent, and the affected part.

Can You Tell Damage on a Car Without the Carfax Report?

A clean Carfax wouldn’t necessarily mean that the vehicle you want to buy is accident-free; therefore, there are some steps to confirm. Through a thorough assessment of a second-hand car, you will effectively get the information you need.

Even without a positive indication on a Carfax, certain physical aspects are considered, such as unevenly worn-out tires, inconsistent painting, poorly fitting doors, rust, and poor conditions underneath the vehicle.

A re-worked paint job often looks dull, doesn’t have a reflection, has an uneven spray around the lights, a slight color difference, or a rough texture on the car’s body. However, if you still find it hard to tell the difference, you can always hire a professional mechanic to evaluate the vehicle’s physical and mechanical conditions. In contrast, note that the physical signs may be present, but the car still functions the same way.

After a severe accident, the car doors may also align differently, while the panels may also have a gap in between that would suggest replacement. Furthermore, you can also check beneath the car because you may find newer or dented assembling parts. You can look at the boot, the car’s rear, and the bonnet for missing bolts and damaged radiators. Rusting on the car’s body, floor, and brakes may also signify that the car was neglected.

What Does Carfax Consider Minor Damage?

If you are a weary customer who wanted to check on your future car’s history on Carfax but stumbled upon “minor damage” or “vehicle not damaged,” and you do not know what it means. Don’t worry, here is a detailed explanation to help you understand the report better.

In most cases, minor damage is just as implied; an incident that didn’t cause any severe damage to the car and didn’t affect the driver in any way. It also means that it didn’t affect the car’s value because it didn’t require an involving repair.

Minor damages usually range from scratches, a slight bump on the rear, scrapes, broken headlights and mirrors, or dented hood and sides. These damages are generally nothing to worry about as long as there is no structural, functional, or mechanical damage.

You don’t need to worry about “minor damages” as long as the car’s repair involved the cosmetics. This is because the car is in good mechanical condition, and nobody had to conduct any severe repair that would cause any issues in the long run.

Fortunately, the Carfax report will tell you everything you need to know. It contains a damage level scale with two categorize, the damage extent and the affected parts. Carfax usually offers a link that shows you the actual report if there was an accident; however, they may charge extra to provide the details.

Alternatively, if the link isn’t available, you can always tell the damage level by looking at some phrases in the report. You can watch out for the signs such as car immobilization, towing away, driver injuries sustained, or airbags deployed.

All these imply that the accident was severe, and the car has significant damages. Therefore, it is best to take these telltale signs seriously because not only will the car’s value diminish in the future, but there are also high chances of breakdowns and accidents in the long run.

Effects of a Carfax Accident Report

In most cases, vehicles involved in accidents go into resale within a year as their owners upgrade or dispose of them. Therefore, Carfax is a crucial checker for you since it tells you about all the reported incidences. However, why do most new buyers fret at the thought of a positive accident report?

If a car is involved in an accident and damages the essential mechanical parts, the vehicle’s value drastically reduces. Therefore, if a dealer or private owner decides to purchase the car, they would be overpaying for a property that would only go lower on the next purchase.

The damage will always be on the record, which can be a bummer for you when you sell it in the future. On the positive, a prospective buyer can use the incident as leverage during bargaining; therefore, it comes in handy if you are on a tight budget. However, it can be a risky venture since the repairs may be faulty, leading to costly future breakdowns.

The most convincing reason to buy a used car involved in an accident is that they are generally cheaper, which may be a great deal if you urgently need a car, but you are on a tight budget. Carfax estimates that such vehicles go for around $500 lower than other vehicles. On the contrary, this great news is devastating to the sellers because they have to sell the car at a lower price, or in some cases, sell months later or never, depending on the extent of the damage.

However, buying this car has more downsides. First, destructions can be permanent, such that even after repairs, the problems can recur, making you spend a lot of money in the process. Similarly, not every repair shop will care for your vehicle; others would hurriedly “fix” it without necessarily considering any long-term repair. Also, even when the repair is well-done, there are still some uncertainties about the future, because regardless, similar accidents can happen again.

What Factors Should You Consider Before You Buy a Car With an Accident History?

As a buyer, you may have your budget intact, eyes set on a particular model, and are ready to make a purchase, but when you pull out the vehicle’s Carfax, you find that your favorite car had an accident a while back. Although most wouldn’t go for a car with such a record, there’s still a lot to consider before you shelve your plans.

First, the price must be favorable depending on the extent of the damage. The seller should offer it at a lower price considering that there may be future costly repairs. You can use it as a golden opportunity to make a great deal out of it, especially when running on a tight budget. However, even if you get a great price, you still need to be careful about it because it may keep breaking down in the future, or the previous repair may be faulty, rendering the vehicle unsafe for use.

Also, you can ask for a test drive if you are uncertain about the car you want to purchase. Being behind the wheel usually allows the driver to reflect on the decision, and you can always tell if the repair was shoddy. If you have reservations about who fixed the vehicle, you can also take time to understand how they do their job and whether they are trusted. Additionally, you can bring your mechanic on board to assess it and advise you accordingly.

If you badly need a particular luxury car brand, but your budget doesn’t allow it, the good news is, you can find a cheap one but with an accident history. Some buyers jump at the chance because they wouldn’t otherwise get such a deal on that brand when new. You may only have to brace yourself for future expenses because expensive cars usually attract hefty fees. Lastly, it is essential to know what you are signing up for; if you got it at a low price, then you will likely sell it at a low value in the future, given that an accident record always sticks on the vehicle’s description.

Final Word

The best part about a Carfax report is finding the most vital information, such as accidents and ownership history. Such cars may have sustained severe damages that required repairs, and unless repaired correctly, the vehicle may have a high maintenance cost in the future.

Secondly, the incidents generally reduce the car’s value; therefore, it is best to know to avoid overpaying. However, previously damaged cars are usually suitable for buyers on a budget or those who want to obtain luxury cars at favorable prices. Therefore, you can take advantage of the Carfax report to get the car of your dream at a cheaper price.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is a technology expert based in the UK, with experience across a number of technology areas from phones, tablets, computers to gaming.

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