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I was browsing on the net for free Carfax reports. As I am on a tight budget right now, I cannot make additional purchases beside what I allotted for my car. Suddenly, I found this free VIN decoder site. Not sure if legit. Should I trust it as a reference, or should I still opt for a paid service with an established reputation like Carfax or AutoCheck?

P.S apologies if this was posted in the wrong sub-forum. Can't find the closest one here.
 

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All info is good info but it (including Carfax) is not always accurate. It is important...very important when buying a used car to


1. Take it to a frameshop to have it inspected for damage and proper repair


2. Take it to amechanic to not only scan for codes but to allow them to look "deep"into the code history which will tell what codes, when and how many times.


Yes, this will cost a few hundred dollars but, it you do not have the $ to pay for the inspection, you will have no idea exactly what condition the car is in and most likely, you will have repairs that will far exceed the couple of hundred dollars the inspection costs..... ie...you will likely end up with a car that is parked, broke.
 

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My dad recently sold a ‘97 Mustang GT convertible. The buyers ran a Carfax on it and it came back as having two owners and never wrecked. Neither of which is true. I think Dad is the third owner (at least) and I’m pretty sure that it has been in an accident at some point prior to his ownership.
 

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Carfax has actually refunded me my money in the past because their report came back good but after taking the vehicle to a body shop found out it had been wrecked, I 100% back Beechkid's advice.
 

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And each carfax will contain conditional wording, none reported. Keeps them out of court.

The reports are only as accurate as the information fed into ithem. It's still a buyer beware world out there.
 

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Given your bitter experience in choosing a car using Carfax, is it worth using these paid services at all, there are many free ones and at least you can check the validity of VIN on them
 

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You can’t even trust a carfax all that much. My dad bought a ‘97 a few years ago that turns out to have been wrecked. He didn’t runt a Carfax. When he sold it the couple that bought it ran one and it came back clean.
 

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I went to see a 14 gt before I bought the one I have now. Pictures online looked great of course. Went to see it at the used toyota dealership here and it looked nothing like the picture. Of course I was excited anyway because I love the 14 bodies. So test drive time.... clutch in key in, nothing. Tried a few times and finally got it to start up. The aftermarket display on it said cobra and the sales guy was like "it's a nice car! Look at it it's a cobra" I'm thinking in my head "wtf?"
So put it in reverse, a knocking sound as I'm turning the steering wheel. Came to a red light a few times and it stopped twice. Asked him and he said he doesn't know what's wrong with it.
Mind you, the car was listed at 26k miles on their website. So anyway he said he'll have the mechanic look at it. We went back in and I asked for the carfax because I knew there were serious issues going on after that test drive. He swore up and down that it was a clean car and report. I look at it and the odometer was replaced from 80k to 26k, it was involved in an accident and what not. I guess being a woman most men think that we don't know sh!t but some of us do have common sense. So the purchase ended with me cursing all of them out and I just left. Next day the listing popped up on my email but was updated with the price dropped along with accident report and odometer play. 🙄 moral of the story is that carfax is sometimes legit and sometimes BS. I've seen some none updated ones as well because I also ran the vin online and it didn't have any accident reports on it.
 
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