Great news for car buyers everywhere: Autotrader.com is finally switching from Carfax for their vehicle history report provider to Autocheck.
There have been many studies and comparisons posted online to point out the differences between these two reports, so I won’t bore you with a long story about ALL the differences between Carfax and Autocheck…but I will point out the most important one: Autocheck has exclusive access to information that comes from automobile auctions. This means that any vehicle that has passed through an auction (more than 80% of all vehicles will roll through an auction block at some point in their life) and had an announcement for Frame Damage, Salvage History, odometer rollback, etc will have this information reported on the Autocheck report. This is exclusive info that Carfax will not have.
That’s HUGE !
Here’s an example of why this information is so important: Let me start by saying that Carfax does a great job. They are definitely a great source of information that we use everyday and we suggest that every customer use Carfax and run a report for any vehicle they’re interested in. But…there are items that Carfax misses, that’s why you can’t buy a car based on using Carfax alone. It’s a good start, but not the complete answer to the vehicle’s history.
Here’s a case study that I put together this morning as an example of where Autocheck’s exclusive access to auction information is worth it’s weight in gold.
The two screen shots below are an actual condition report for a Mercedes-Benz 2010 C300 Sedan being sold at an auction on 8-30-2013. This car is absolutely disgusting and was clearly banged into everything the previous owner could run it into. It is truely a real life bumper car. Take a look at the red arrows on the second page that shows the actual condition of the vehicle today.
You will find that Mercedes-Benz is announcing this vehicle as having “Unibody Damage Front, Unibody Damage R Side, R Fender Replaced” Basically, frame damaged. Below that announcement, they make clear that this vehicle is a piece of junk. There are many disclosures about previous paintwork, previous bodywork, a replaced fender, a replaced A pillar and previous wavy bodywork all over.
The three images below are screenshots from a Carfax report that I ran today. This report is 100% clean.
This is a case where the auction will announce this information to Autocheck and the Autocheck history report will be updated with this Frame / Unibody Damage history.
Carfax does not have access to this info, so their report will continue to tell a nice story about this junk car. To be fair, Carfax does catch an awful lot and like I said before…you should always check Carfax reports. They are valuable and worth every penny that you pay for them. What we’re saying here is that you should check both. Do not rely on one single report.