Can I Trust CarProof Or CarFax? Understanding Used Car History Reporting

Used Car Dealer, Used Cars

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CarProof and other car history reporting tools are extremely useful when researching used cars. Using CarProof and other services like CarFax, you can see a history of accidents and other incidents that a particular vehicle has been involved in – for a small fee.

By tracking the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of a vehicle, these services allow consumers to get an inside look at any potential damage that has been done to a used car – and gain a better understanding of its overall quality.

This helps protect consumers, and keep both used car dealerships and private sellers honest about the quality of their cars.

But can you trust CarProof to tell you the full truth? Unfortunately, used car history reporting is not perfect. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics about CarProof and similar services, and talk about their limitations.

CarProof Doesn’t Always Have All Of The Data

CarProof is not magic. When an accident happens, a collision occurs, or other damage is done to a car, it doesn’t just get reported to CarProof right away.

Instead, CarProof and other companies like CarFax collect their data from third parties. CarProof, for example, works directly with the Manitoba Public Insurance agency (MPI) to get information about accidents, repairs, and more. CarProof also gathers data from:

  • Canadian and U.S. motor vehicle bureaus/agencies
  • Service centers and collision repair facilities
  • Insurance companies
  • Salvage yards
  • Auto recyclers
  • Auto auctions
  • Fire departments and law enforcement agencies
  • Manufacturers and importer/exporters
  • Car dealerships

All of this third party data is gathered, collected, collated, and turned into a CarProof report – and usually, this gives you a pretty good overall idea of the condition of the car.

But at the end of the day, a CarProof report is dependent on these third-party agencies properly reporting damage, repairs, and other incidents. It’s not uncommon for serious problems to go unreported.

In fact, an investigative report from CBC showed that discrepancies can be very common in both CarProof and CarFax reports. A Winnipeg customer bought a Volkswagen Jetta for $14,000 – and the CarFax report showed that it was clean.

However, this individual decided to sell the car 6 months later – and he used CarProof to run a vehicle history report. He found out that his car was involved in two collisions in Saskatchewan – incurring damages in excess of $17,000.

This just goes to show you that neither CarFax or CarProof is fully reliable. Though they are accurate most of the time, clerical errors and third-party filing issues can result in an unreliable report.

A Clean Vehicle Report Is Not A Guarantee Of Quality

Here’s one of the more tricky things about using CarProof and CarFax – just because a car has never been reported as being involved in any accidents doesn’t mean it’s a high-quality vehicle.

The owner of a car could easily have performed DIY repairs after a minor incident such as backing into a tree or driving into a ditch – or may have been taken to a shop that doesn’t typically report repairs.

In addition, problems caused by mechanical faults are often not reported on CarProof or CarFax – because they did not involve accidents or collisions. Even a car with a totally clean vehicle history report could have had a history of serious repairs caused by manufacturer defects or owner neglect.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

So, CarProof and CarFax are not necessarily 100% accurate. That doesn’t mean that they’re not useful tools – indeed, we recommend using them whenever possible to check on the condition of a car that you’re interested in buying.

But there are a couple ways you can protect yourself from being scammed by a faulty vehicle history report. Here’s what you should do.

  • Get the vehicle’s condition in writing – Before you buy a car, ask the seller to provide a written, legally-binding statement disclosing the condition of the vehicle at the time of sale. In many provinces such as Ontario, these statements are mandatory and legally-binding. If it turns out a dealer or private seller lied, you may be able to take legal action.
  • Get a professional vehicle assessment – There’s no substitute for having a trusted mechanic take a look at a used car. They can detect signs that a car has had bodywork replaced or collision repair performed. They can also check for common signs of misuse and poor maintenance. With both a mechanic’s assessment and a CarProof or CarFax report, you’ll have all of the information you need.

Beware Of Car History Limitations – And Shop With Confidence!

CarProof and CarFax are useful, but are not 100% accurate. So just bear in mind the tips and advice above, and don’t be fooled into thinking that a car is great quality just because it has a clean history report.

Looking for high-quality used cars in Canada? Ride Time sells used cars that are guaranteed to be of fantastic quality. Our in-house team of auto service professionals analyze each and every car we sell – and if you want a second opinion, we’re more than happy to oblige!

So browse our stock now, and see why Ride Time sells the best cars in Winnipeg – and all of Canada!

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