Image Courtesy: Dr Keats

I'm absolutely speechless right about now. I almost made a $15,000 mistake a few months ago.

I was considering giving my car to my mother and buying a reliable used car for myself.
I found a car I liked and went to the used car dealer to check it out. I liked the car but I had a bad feeling about the dealership. I took the car for a test drive and really liked the car...but something about the dealership just struck me as odd. I asked if they provided a Carfax report and they said yes and were more than happy to show it to me.

While watching the news last night, Fox 5 Atlanta reported on a story of a customer who purchased a 2004 Infiniti G35 from the dealer I almost bought a car from. He was told the car had never been in an accident and the car was bought at an auction in Florida and driven to Atlanta, GA.

He was given a copy of the Carfax report that showed the vehicle had not been in any prior accidents.

While the gentleman's wife was driving the car at about 50-60mph, the rim came off. Luckily, she was not hurt. When the car was taken in for repairs, it was determined that the car had sustained frame damage.

Fox 5 researched the dealership and found that 45 of the vehicles on the lot had reports of frame damage from the auction house. The frame damage showed up on the Autocheck reports but not on Carfax reports. Even if the dealer says they didn't check the Autocheck report, it was announced on the auction block.

Apparently, Carfax has not been able to work out a deal with the auction houses to get the missing information on their reports.

If you are in the market for a used car, you may need to check both the Autocheck report AND the Carfax report.

I'm so glad I went with my gut feeling and avoided making a $15,000 mistake. The gentleman in the story wasn't so lucky; he ended up selling his vehicle at a loss. It doesn't say whether or not he advised the new owner of the vehicle's history.

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  1. dawn // July 21, 2009 at 4:55 PM  

    Another option to CarFax, and totally free:

  2. Frugal Urbanite // July 22, 2009 at 7:55 AM  

    Yikes. Did not know there was an alternative to Carfax, but hopefully Mr. did since he did the research on our used Matrix.

  3. kenyantykoon // July 25, 2009 at 9:09 AM  

    i have always had an aversion towards used stuff and that's why i always buy my things new. i dont drive(i dint need a car at the moment) but when its time i want new. All the things i have bought when new have given me very good service from shoes to phones to computers. But am happy u didnt loose the 15k, it could have been a depressingly big blow

  4. Sean Morris // July 26, 2009 at 1:59 PM  

    Wheels don't just come off by themselves. Frame damage in itself is not going to cause a wheel to come off. Even with Carfax, Autocheck, its up to the customer to have due diligence to check the vehicle . In California, we have to allow a vehicle to be inspected by a mechanic when a customer is interested in a car. A wheel coming off a car will give a bit of warning. If you are not intelligent enough to notice it, maybe you shouldn't be driving.

  5. Anonymous // August 5, 2009 at 4:48 PM  

    A co-worker of mine was involved in a major accident with his truck. He t-boned someone - it was their fault. But the accident was enough that they had to replace the trucks frame. He was told that basically because the frame was replaced he basically has a "new truck" and the accident will not appear on a car fax report.

    This isn't an issue for him right now because he likes his truck and it seems to still be driving well.