Show Me the CARFAX!

Okay people, I get it, you want a clean CARFAX to accompany that beautiful pre-owned vehicle you are buying. You want the prized certificate to guard you from the evils of the frowning CARFOX swiveling that furry finger at you in disapproval. Oh my goodness!! There is an exclamation point inside an upside down red triangle, I can’t buy this car… this data collection source has stamped its scarlet A on it. Who cares about the quality of the car or the professional grade, I want to see “no accidents” next to the accident history. Then we can all be free of sin and guilt. The all holy franchised dealers of the world can continue to tell us they would never sell such an awful product. Oh, by the way, their (franchised dealer) car is $29,995 and the one with the CARFAX accident is $25,995. So where is the $4,000 discrepancy? Oh no, please don’t tell me I am paying $4,000 more for a piece of paper with a cute animal on it that says this car is accident free, lemon free… Well, you get the point.

The ability to rationally grade a car has become totally flawed on the retail market. Why you ask? CARFAX and AutoCheck. These are data collection sources, not professional vehicle inspection services. The question is, how much are you willing to pay for that prized report? What is a clean CARFAX worth and what does it actually mean? Well, to us at DonohooAuto it means very little. In fact, we would rather have a CARFAX that shows minor damage reported or a minor to moderate accident. Why would we want that? Simple, clean CARFAX vehicles are overpriced… That’s right, I said it, overpriced. Week in and week out I watch dealers fight over average grade vehicles with clean CARFAXES. They will sometimes pay retail prices for them. I will watch the vehicle that has had a rear bumper repainted (minor accident) and a grade 4.7 rating (highest is 5.0) get one bid for $3,000 less than the 3.0 grade clean CARFAX car that has been painted with a paint brush and smells like a mule. Man, I would hate to be a retail customer that refuses to buy a vehicle based on a data collection resource. People, buy a vehicle based on its GRADE, its integrity. Buy from someone you trust, someone with real market savvy. You are not putting this car in a museum, you are going to drive it, day in and day out. Wait, let me digress and play some devil’s advocacy….

Not all accidents are the same, some accidents required unibody or frame repair which can worry the easiest of carefree shoppers out there. Again, this is why you concentrate on professional grading, we like the Manheim grading system and try to incorporate it into all cars we buy, regardless if it is from an individual or through a wholesale auction. So next time you talk to a salesman at a dealership, ask them about the grade of vehicle you a acquiring, get the CARFAX and get the AutoCheck, but don’t rely just on the findings, it might cost you a few thousand dollars.

-CD