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How To Read a CarFax Report

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CarFax Vehicle Make & Model Info
How To Read a CarFax Report

A vehicle identification number, or VIN, unlocks a lot of information about a vehicle's past. It is an absolute must have when purchasing a used car.

Photo © Carfax.com

Check the vehicle identification number or VIN, which is located inside the windshield on the driver’s side. You may have made a mistake when initially entering the information. Double check that you’re referring to the same car.

Look at the engine information. This report says it’s a 3.0 liter V-6 PFI DOHC 24V – or in layman terms the engine measures 3.0 liters in size. It has six cylinders with port fuel injection and 24 valves. This information is valuable if the owner has misrepresented the make or model of the vehicle. The 3.0-liter V-6 in the Solara happens to be the biggest engine it offers, but an unscrupulous owner could have claimed it had a V-6 when in reality it had the smaller 2.2-liter four cylinder engine.

Standard Equipment/Safety Options: Not as valuable information because it could be obtained from anywhere.

CarFax Safety and Reliability Report It’s a shame this information is not on the front page of the CarFax report because it is extremely valuable. This Solara had strong safety ratings but potential reliability problems that might get overlooked.

The compilation of safety information on the vehicle is a MUST read. It lists information from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute. The latter is valuable because it’s going to tell you your risk of injury in an accident as well as the cost of repairs. Both scores are based on an average of 100. Any numbers in the triple digits should cause you concern. Most people overlook these numbers.

Another MUST read is the reliability section, especially for the Identifix Reliabilty Ratings. The report on the Solara listed potentially expensive engine problems. The Intellichoice Cost of Ownership & Value Rating lists the cost of ownership for the car, in this case from 2001-2005.

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