Damage on a CarFax?
What in the world does “Damage Reported” mean on a CarFax report? As if car shopping wasn’t already a daunting ordeal–finding the vehicle with the right options, miles, and service history–you also want to know that your potential new vehicle hasn’t been hastily glued back together after being run over by an 18-wheeler.
CarFax has always been the go-to tool for consumers, and it’s only gotten better over the years. That said, even the most recognized name in vehicle history reporting isn’t perfect. But, knowing what to look for on a CarFax can help you on two fronts: Both when you buy a car and helping maintain your current car’s resale value in the unfortunate event of an accident.
Let’s start with things you can do to protect your vehicle’s value. To do that you need to understand what dealers are looking for, which is pretty much what they think consumers are looking for.
Many of the instances of damage reported to CarFax can range from simple paintwork cause by scratches or scuffs that happen in parking lots or driveways. I have damage reported to my car’s CarFax because I park on the street, and one of my neighbors scraped the entire corner of my rear bumper and cracked my tail light in a failed attempt to parallel park. Luckily they left their information and their insurance covered it.
The damage was purely cosmetic and my car is fine, but since the insurance company shares that data with CarFax, my report now shows “damage reported.” Is that going to affect my trade-in value when the time comes? I’m sure it will have an impact. But, I made sure to take lots of pictures of the damage, and I also took my car to a reputable collision center for the repairs, and kept all of the paperwork.
I also am meticulous with all of my vehicle’s servicing, so my CarFax also has a lot of good things on it. As someone who looks through countless CarFaxes on a regular basis, I know what I want to see on a report: information. And lots of it.
I’m not scared off by a little “damage reported” if everything else on the report indicates the previous owner took care of their car, because even the best drivers (I’ve made it to 35 without ever getting a traffic violation) can get in a situation beyond their control–that’s why they call them “accidents.”
These are the things we, as a dealership, look at when we purchase a vehicle. If we find a special vehicle that has a CarFax which shows “damage reported” right under “No Accidents” we then try to piece together what the extent of the damage is, and if it could spell trouble down the road, or if it’s simply some minor paint work and nothing more.
But while we avoid sourcing cars that have been in an accident, we aren’t going to blacklist a potential trade-in because of that. So, if you do get into an accident, big or small, keep documentation! You never know how it will appear on your CarFax, and so having clear evidence of what happened and how it was handled can save you lots of money down the road. And as a dealership, we would love to have that kind of info to share with the next person interested in the car you traded in.