I was recently looking to buy a 1998-2000 Honda Civic. I ran across a really nice 1998 Civic that looked like it was in perfect condition inside and out. It had a clean title and, according to the owner, had no previous accidents. The owner was a really nice single mom who, as far as I could tell, was being really honest and was the kind of seller I wanted to deal with. I was really excited about this car and thought I was going to buy it.
After running a CARFAX I learned that the car was originally owned in Virginia where it had sustained severe damage, being hit twice–once in the front and a second time in the rear. Then the car was sold to its second owner in Illinois, where the car got into a third accident and was totaled! This is how I learned about title washing, as the Illinois title was a salvage title, but when the car was transferred to Minnesota a clear title was issued for the vehicle. Had it not been for CARFAX I would have likely bought this car having no idea what had happened to it. It was also unfortunate that the seller of the vehicle did not do this before buying the car from the dealer, and had no idea of its history.
Needless to say I passed on this car and have used CARFAX for every vehicle I’ve looked at since. Thanks CARFAX!