Understanding a CARFAX Vehicle History Report

How do I read a CARFAX Vehicle History Report?

You see it with a prospective used car you like – a CARFAX Vehicle History Report – but aren’t quite sure what it covers or means.

Ready to learn the process behind establishing, updating and regulating this condition and vehicle background report?

We have you covered with this overview.

CARFAX Reporting Process

A CARFAX Vehicle History Report is helpful in considering a prospective car's background, but our team recommends valuing a vehicle's present condition over these past details -- something you can verify with a trip to our Jacksonville dealership.

CARFAX Vehicle History Reports are updated in real time digitally based on relevant updates and important additions. As you will learn, there are nuances to understanding the report.


A clean CARFAX designation means the vehicle has no documented accident history. This doesn’t necessarily mean a collision never occurred, but it does mean that an accident was never reported.

We recommend sticking with a current condition assessment ahead of this information for that fact alone.

Accident damage

Police reports are usually the data CARFAX pulls to put together accident reports. A vehicle with documented accident damage may present a value opportunity, normally marked down for extra savings.

If this vehicle is in a healthy condition, you may find yourself interested, and for good reason.

Structural damage

Any documented structural damage is assessed and documented during end-of-lease auctions for vehicles pulled back into the inventory pool. While “structural damage” may sound severe, it may sometimes indicate something as small as a minor fender-bender impact and slight damage to items such as door panels.

In this case, you may find yourself again enjoying a value-based price and strong return on investment.

Airbag deployment

Airbags are typically deployed in case of an impact, even at lower speeds. Documentation for these occurrences should be included in your vehicle’s CARFAX History Report.

Additional damage

Any other damage not covered in the above sections will fall under this category, including minor scratches and dents. Accident details that are documented without a formal police report are also labeled here.

Manufacturer Buyback

Most manufacturers offer a basic warranty for new vehicles. These warranties vary by manufacturer and typically last for a certain amount of time and/or a set number of miles. In cases where a customer is dissatisfied with a vehicle they have purchased, the manufacturer may offer or agree to reacquire the vehicle and give the customer a refund or a replacement vehicle. In many cases, the manufacturer is unable to verify the concern, but agrees to take the vehicle back in the interests of customer satisfaction. In other cases, a required part or software update may be unavailable. Buybacks always carry the balance of the factory warranty, and in some cases include an extended warranty on the repaired defect.

Off Lease Only discloses "Previous Accident" on any car with an Air bag deployed on Carfax or Auto check, Severe damage on Carfax or Auto Check, Any Unibody or Structural announced car at any auction regardless of what Auto Check or Carfax says.

*Auction announcements of structural damage are in the form of words such as Airbag/ Unibody/ Frame/ Structural based on NAAA Auction Arbitration Rules. This simply means that the car has been in a previous accident and has sustained damage at one time. There is no distinction between a minor dent or a major accident when it comes to the use of these words. Due to Unibody construction, any vehicle that sustains any damage can be considered, even if the accident is as minor as an 1/8 inch-1 inch dent to the body or structure of the vehicle, or something much more serious.

ALL THE CARS WE SELL ARE FREE OF FLOOD, SALVAGE OR REBUILT HISTORY.All cars qualify for the Carfax Buyback Guarantee, unless otherwise noted.

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