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How Does Carfax Work

How Does Carfax Work

Understanding How Carfax Works

Carfax is a popular tool used to check the history of a used car before purchasing it. It provides detailed information about a vehicle’s maintenance, accident records, and other important details that can help buyers make an informed decision. But how exactly does Carfax work?

How Carfax collects data

Carfax gathers information about a car’s history from a variety of sources. These sources include state DMVs, insurance companies, and auto repair shops. Carfax has partnerships with over 100,000 data sources and adds millions of new records every month.

When a vehicle is registered with the DMV, it is assigned a unique vehicle identification number (VIN). Carfax uses this VIN to obtain information about the car’s accident and service history from its extensive database.

What information does Carfax provide?

Carfax provides a detailed report on a vehicle’s history, which includes:

  • Accident history: Carfax collects information about accidents reported to the DMV, insurance companies, and other sources. The report includes details about the severity of the accident, damage to the vehicle, and whether the airbags were deployed.
  • Service history: Carfax gathers information about the car’s maintenance records from dealerships and auto repair shops. The report includes details about oil changes, tire rotations, and other routine maintenance.
  • Title information: Carfax can tell if a car has a salvage title, which indicates that it has been declared a total loss by an insurance company.
  • Odometer readings: Carfax reports the mileage readings from the car’s previous registrations, which can help detect if the odometer has been rolled back.

How to use Carfax

Using Carfax is simple. All you need is the VIN of the car you are interested in buying. You can obtain the VIN from the seller or find it on the car’s dashboard, driver’s side doorpost, or vehicle registration card.

Once you have the VIN, go to the Carfax website and enter it into the search bar. The report will be generated instantly and will provide you with all the important information about the vehicle’s history.


Carfax can be an invaluable tool in the used car buying process. By providing detailed information about a vehicle’s history, Carfax can help buyers make an informed decision and avoid purchasing a lemon. Understanding how Carfax works and what information it provides can help you use this tool to its fullest potential.