CARFAX is a subsidiary of S&P Global, a service that provides consumer credit ratings. What does vehicle serviced mean on CARFAX? “Serviced” means the vehicle has undergone some type of maintenance, repair, or service. In other words, “Vehicle Serviced” means it has been taken into an automotive garage or dealership for service.
Most car dealerships and garages report service visits to the CARFAX Car Care app to document routine maintenance and repairs. Contrary to belief, “Vehicle Serviced” does not necessarily mean the vehicle broke down. Consumers sometimes think the worst, viewing it as a “warning” that the vehicle had some type of mechanical failure.
Table of Contents
- Why CARFAX?
- Know How To Properly Interpret CARFAX Report?
- Is CARFAX Worth The Cost?
- Automobile Insurance Claims
- What To Look For On CARFAX Report?
- When Is A CARFAX Report A Must?
- Is The Information Accurate?
- How Long Will It Take To Get A CARFAX Report?
- Important CARFAX Red Flags To Look For
- Frequently Asked Questions
CARFAX provides vital information to consumers shopping for used cars, trucks, vans, and other vehicles. To rule out confusion or misinterpretation, I recommend contacting the dealership or garage that reported the service. The report is a good tool to utilize when making used vehicle decisions but it is not without fault.
Consumers find the CARFAX report a great tool when shopping for used vehicles. However, service history can cause confusion. For example, a consumer is peaked by a used 2020 Dodge Caravan. The dealership provides a CARFAX report that reveals the vehicle a service history record. This tidbit of information could turn the consumer off from acquiring the Caravan without further research.
Know How To Properly Interpret CARFAX Report?
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to know how to interpret a CARFAX report. It is unfortunate that the detailed report does not provide details of service records. Consumers can only guess what the service record entails.
I recommend contacting the dealership or garage to inquire about the Service Record. Most automotive service facilities store service records in their databases. In this case, it is best to be sure, than regret the purchase later on down the road.
Is CARFAX Worth The Cost?
It is the consumer’s decision whether or not to acquire a CARFAX report. Since most of the information is vague and without crucial details, consumers need to weigh their options. Is it best to skip the CARFAX and have the vehicle inspected by a certified mechanic? This is a decision for the consumer.
A thorough visual inspection by a certified automotive mechanic will not reveal nearly as much as a CARFAX report. An inspection is to visual issues like:
- Leaks (transmission fluid, engine oil, brake fluid, fuel, antifreeze, power steering fluid, and windshield wash concentrate)
- Body damage
- Bent frame
- Blown light bulbs (headlight, hazard, brake, turn signal, emergency, and license plate)
- Bad tires
- How well the vehicle has been maintained
- Visible broken and bent components
A mechanical inspection should include a quick tour around the block. Request the mechanic to drive the vehicle for a short distance while listening for abnormal noises.
Automobile Insurance Claims
Automobile insurance companies have extensive claim databases. When a consumer files a car insurance claim, the details are well-documented by a licensed agent. The details of the claims are stored in the insurer’s database for further review.
There are various tiers of automobile insurance coverage – liability, underinsured motorist, comprehensive, collision, personal injury, and towing. A comprehensive collision policy is by far the most extensive insurance coverage. It covers vandalism, storm damage, theft, accidents, and fire damage.
Most American automobile insurance providers report claims to CARFAX. When claims are reported, the details are generally limited to the payout amount, total loss, and repairs.
Not all insurance claims are reported to CARFAX.
What To Look For On CARFAX Report?
If you’re interested in purchasing a used automobile, it is pertinent to find out more about the vehicle’s history. After all, it would be a bad idea to purchase a vehicle that has been crashed several times.
Getting a report from CARFAX can help since it’ll provide you with information that the seller may not tell you about. Once you’ve received the report, be sure to check it carefully to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth.
In particular, you should ensure that the vehicle has not been in any accidents and no harm was reported. Furthermore, there should be no recalls, airbag deployment, or meter rollback.
Although a CARFAX report is not comprehensive, it can help you avoid making a serious mistake when purchasing a used vehicle.
When Is A CARFAX Report A Must?
Depending on the circumstances, it may be a good idea to obtain a CARFAX report before purchasing an automobile. Remember that CARFAX is only applicable to used vehicles. Therefore, there is no need to obtain a CARFAX report when buying a new car.
If you’re buying a car from a friend or family member, you may feel that you can fully trust this individual. Nevertheless, it is still wise to obtain a report to avoid being deceived.
Anyone who is about to purchase a used automobile should consider buying a CARFAX report. Doing so will give them confidence that they’re making the right decision.
The only time you don’t need a CARFAX report is when you’re buying a new car.
Is The Information Accurate?
CARFAX does a good job of obtaining information about vehicles. For instance, the report will provide information about past accidents, repairs, and previous owners.
The information should be accurate if it was reported by a reputable mechanic or agency. Usually, this information is submitted by mechanics, DMVs, police departments, and insurance companies.
Therefore, the information should be accurate. However, there are situations in which certain information is inaccurate or unreported.
An unlicensed mechanic likely won’t report repairs to CARFAX. Furthermore, the reporting agency could submit a report with a typo.
In most cases, the information on the CARFAX report will be accurate. Still, there is always a risk that there will be incorrect or incomplete information.
How Long Will It Take To Get A CARFAX Report?
CARFAX can tell you a lot about the history of the automobile and its past owners. Before you can access this information, you’ll need to wait for the CARFAX report.
The good news is that it only takes a few seconds to obtain a report. First, you must visit the CARFAX website and input the VIN for the automobile in question.
After you’ve submitted the form, you’ll receive the report. It is easy to obtain a CARFAX report in a matter of seconds.
Important CARFAX Red Flags To Look For
Having a minor fender bender may not be a deal breaker. Nevertheless, you’ll still want to know about the incident. On the other hand, it is never wise to buy a car that has sustained severe damage.
Therefore, you should familiarize yourself with the most common red flags on CARFAX reports. They’ll be broken down in more depth below.
Too Many Repairs
When buying a slightly used vehicle, you need to make sure it hasn’t been repaired regularly. If the vehicle has a lengthy history of repairs, there is a risk that something is seriously wrong with it.
You may be purchasing a vehicle that will need repairs in the next few weeks or months. Also, make sure that the vehicle wasn’t repaired recently.
The owner may be trying to pass their problems on to someone else.
Newer Car With Many Owners
In general, it is best to choose a used car with one or two owners. If the vehicle is five or ten years old, it is reasonable that it has been owned by two people.
However, there is likely an issue if a 3-year-old car has been owned by three people. Many people are hard on their vehicles so it is best to stick with a one-owner automobile.
Missing Renewals Or Registrations
You’ll also want to make sure there are no missing registrations or renewals. Vehicle registrations should be renewed yearly and taxes should be paid. If these are missing for any year, it could mean that the vehicle was sitting for a while.
Vehicles tend to deteriorate quickly when they’re not being used. Therefore, you do not want to purchase a car that has been sitting for any period.
Make sure the vehicle has been registered and used consistently to avoid such problems.
A Rental Or Fleet Vehicle
Once you’ve received the CARFAX report, you’ll want to make sure the vehicle hasn’t been listed as a rental or fleet vehicle. Rental vehicles have been used by many people and most of them weren’t gentle.
The same can be said about fleet vehicles. Therefore, you shouldn’t purchase a vehicle that has been used as a rental.
Title In Someone Else’s Name
When purchasing a used vehicle, it is pertinent to make sure the vehicle’s title is in the seller’s name. If the title is in someone else’s name, don’t buy the car in question.
The seller may be trying to flip the vehicle for a profit. If this is the case, you’re likely overpaying for the car.
Check the title to ensure it is in the seller’s name.
A CARFAX report should provide comprehensive information about any repairs and maintenance performed on the vehicle. However, you may receive a report that has very little repair and maintenance history.
Unfortunately, this can be problematic because the owner may not have properly maintained the car. If the car hasn’t been to a mechanic regularly, the oil and filters probably haven’t been changed.
Plus, it hasn’t been inspected and checked for problems. At the very least, a vehicle’s oil should be changed each year.
It is best to choose a vehicle that has visited a mechanic regularly for inspections.
Salvage, Rebuilt, Or Insurance Loss
When looking at the CARFAX report, be sure to check for the aforementioned phrases. If you find that the vehicle was rebuilt or salvaged, don’t buy it.
As for the term insurance loss, it means that the vehicle has been totaled. Again, you don’t want to buy a car that has been severely damaged or totaled.
Check For Recalls
Recalls happen from time to time. It is the owner’s responsibility to get the component fixed by a qualified mechanic. Usually, the company will cover the cost of the repair.
If the recalled component wasn’t replaced, the owner likely hasn’t been properly caring for the car. You’ll also want to avoid vehicles with multiple outstanding recalls.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does CARFAX Report Show Past Owners?
CARFAX reports tend to be comprehensive. Therefore, the information may go beyond the current vehicle’s owner. Depending on the age and history of the car, the report may information about prior owners.
Does A CARFAX Report Tell You Everything?
Unfortunately, your CARFAX report is not going to show you everything. The report is compiled using the information provided to the company. Therefore, there is a risk that vital information wasn’t reported and won’t be on the final report.
What Won’t CARFAX Tell You?
CarFax reports won’t tell you everything. If the vehicle had any unreported accidents, they will not be on the report. You also won’t find out about any repairs that weren’t reported.
Robert Bacon is a car nerd and automotive lover who has dedicated his life to understanding the inner workings of vehicles. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering and has spent years working as a mechanic and engineer for some of the world’s top car companies. In his spare time, he enjoys writing about cars on this blog and tinkering with his 2016 Toyota Mirai in his garage.