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CARFAX Vehicle History Data Sources

CARFAX® receives data from more than 139,000 different sources including every U.S. and Canadian provincial motor vehicle agency plus many police and fire departments, collision repair facilities, auto auctions, and more.

The CARFAX database is the most comprehensive vehicle history database in North America, containing more than 31 billion records. Records included in each CARFAX Report reveal important information about a car’s history, such as an odometer reading, existence of a branded title such as a salvage/junk title, or past registration as a fleet vehicle. A CARFAX Report may not include every event in a vehicle’s history, but will include the data that is reported to CARFAX for a specific vehicle identification number (VIN).

Before you buy a used car, we recommend that you get a CARFAX Report, take a test drive, and have the vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic.

The following list represents some of the many types of data sources that currently report information to CARFAX.

Data source Types of data provided to CARFAX How the data can help you make a
better used car buying decision
U.S. motor vehicle agencies
  • Identify problem titles
  • Uncover potential odometer fraud
  • Learn estimated number of owners
  • Learn where the vehicle has been registered
  • Identify how the vehicle may have been used (rental, taxi, lease, etc.)
  • Uncover past accidents
Canadian provincial motor vehicle agencies
  • Vehicle registrations
  • Problem brands
  • Odometer readings
  • Ownership transfers
  • Find cross-border activity
  • Identify problem brands
  • Learn estimated number of owners
Auto auctions
  • Odometer readings
  • Uncover potential odometer fraud
Collision repair facilities
  • Uncover past accidents that resulted in repairs
Service/ maintenance facilities
  • Service or maintenance records including dates and services offered
  • Learn maintenance history
  • See where the car has been serviced
Insurance companies
  • Identify accidents that may not have resulted in salvage/junk titles
Salvage auctions
  • Identify salvaged cars that may not have been assigned salvage titles by motor vehicle agencies
Automotive recyclers
  • Recycled parts that were requested for a repair
  • Uncover major maintenance repairs
  • Identify damage events that may not have been reported to law enforcement agencies or insurance companies
Rental/fleet vehicle companies
  • Total loss and damage history
  • Maintenance/service history
  • Learn damage history
  • Learn repair/maintenance history
State inspection stations
  • Uncover potential odometer fraud
  • Identify vehicle driving patterns
  • Identify compliance problems
Extended warranty companies
  • Major repair and maintenance history
  • Learn repair/maintenance history
Fire departments
  • Fire damage reports from across the U.S.
  • Identify vehicles damaged in fire incidents
  • Identify recalls that need to be completed
  • Identify vehicles inspected and certified by manufacturers
  • Learn maintenance history
Law enforcement agencies
  • Stolen vehicle records
  • Police department accident reports (various state and local jurisdictions)
  • Identify stolen vehicles
  • Uncover past accidents
Car dealerships
  • Vehicles offered for sale
  • Odometer readings
  • Uncover potential odometer fraud
  • Learn odometer history
Import/export companies
  • Vehicle transfers and locations
  • Compliance dates
  • Identify out-of-country history
  • Verify emissions standards compliance

CARFAX does not have the complete history of every vehicle. A CARFAX Vehicle History Report is based only on information supplied to CARFAX. Other information about the vehicle, including problems, may not have been reported to CARFAX. Use a Vehicle History Report as one important tool, along with a vehicle inspection and test drive, to make a better decision about a used car.

* Do CARFAX Vehicle History Reports have information about accidents?
Yes. If an accident has been reported to CARFAX it will be included in the CARFAX Vehicle History Report. CARFAX reports have information about accidents in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. We guarantee we will have information about the most severe accidents, ones for which the states or provinces have issued a branded title. We also have the largest publicly accessible database of less severe accidents which we have compiled from thousands of sources.

However, we do not have all accidents as many have never been reported, or may only have been reported to a source to which CARFAX does not have access. We recommend that any car be inspected by a qualified mechanic prior to purchase to make sure the vehicle is functioning properly and check for signs of unreported damage.

* I know this vehicle has had an accident. Why isn’t it listed on the CARFAX Report?
CARFAX compiles the CARFAX Vehicle History Report from information it receives from thousands of sources. As extensive as our database is, we do not have all accidents as many have never been reported, or may only have been reported to a source to which CARFAX does not have access.

If you know a vehicle was involved in an accident and it is not on the CARFAX Vehicle History Report, please take a minute to let us know about it by emailing us through the “Email CARFAX” tab above.

* Does CARFAX get total loss data from insurance companies?
Yes. Some insurance companies report total loss information to CARFAX.

CARFAX also uses other sources to determine if a vehicle was declared a total loss by an insurance company.