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  1. #1

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    Question Carfax reports / VIN lookup?

    Does anyone have any tips for checking out the history of a car? I'm looking to pick up something in the next couple months and want to be prepared for when I do find something good. Does anyone have a carfax account I could use for a fee instead of forking over the $30 to carfax? I'd rather see a forum member make a few bucks than carfax.

    FWIW, I haven't really decided what I want to get yet. I've been looking at everything from 95 tercel's to 2002 - 2005 civics. I'd like to keep it under $10k, and just simply need something reliable that I can drive to work everyday. Pretty much my only requirement is that it's standard and is in good mechanical condition... I hate driving automatics.

    I'm leaning towards the newer civics (2002) but saw this one this morning
    http://vancouver.craigslist.org...
    Bring it down to ~3k and it looks like an alright deal assuming it's in good shape.

    My diehard chevy friends will hate me for getting a civic but they can suck it up. Gas mileage & reliability are my main priorities right now. I also have no intention in putting aftermarket parts on a civic (other than a decent install). I just don't swing that way. If I want to mod something it'll be my 68 beetle.
    Last edited by michael_w; 07-18-2007 at 02:14 PM.

  2. #2

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    Don't rely solely on the info contained in a Carfax report for a car's history. They typically only show what was reported to/paid for by an insurance company. They are a good place to start, don't get me wrong, but if the repair's paid for out of pocket it wont' show on the report.
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

  3. #3

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    That's true. I plan on getting it inspected through BCAA if I'm serious about buying it (costs around $100). Is there any other way to find out the history of unreported claims other than finding an honest seller? At least with the '95 I linked to they've owned it for the majority of its lifetime.

    Thanks.

  4. #4

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    Is there any other way to find out the history of unreported claims other than finding an honest seller?
    No? If it's not reported there is, by definition, no record of it. The seller and the shop who did the work would be the only two people on Earth who would know of the claim at all, so if the seller isn't telling you, you're screwed.

    Luckily most major accidents and problems are too cost-prohibitive for people not to use insurance.

    Good luck!
    If you will it, dude, it is no dream.

  5. #5

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    Going by their ad, that car doesn't look too bad at all. If, in fact, they have the service records for the past 10 years you can get a real good idea of how the maintenance has been. Hell, if the records are that complete, check the mileages on the repair orders vs the date. You should be able to get an idea of how much they drive the car. If there's a period of time where the mileage is a lot less compared to their average usage, it's a good indicator the car was off the road, like maybe in a body shop, for an extended period of time. Another thing, if they've been using synthetic oil that long, the inside of the engine should be pretty damn clean. If it's an overhead cam engine, you may be able to get a peak at the cam by looking in the oil fill cap. It shouldn't have a real dark build up of shellac on it or any signs of gouges or other wear. Ideally the cam should have a lighter brown coating that you can see the metal of the cam through. Both should be pretty good signs of how the engines been kept up.
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

  6. #6

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    Thanks a lot for all the advice guys. It's always a bonus to get some second opinions.

    I've been searching for info on this year all this morning and it sounds like a fairly solid car. The main problems with a 95 were that the A/C belt often falls off, the trunk latch may be hard to open with a key and that the passenger bottom corner of the windshield may leak a small amount of water. All these issues are small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. I still don't know if this car is a CX/VX/DX/Si. I'm pretty sure it's not Si considering they mentioned the only option added was A/C. I'm crossing my fingers it's a VX for some beautiful 47/56 mpg.
    Last edited by michael_w; 07-18-2007 at 03:44 PM.

  7. #7

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    Just got off the phone with the seller and it's an LX. He sounds like a pretty nice and honest guy. He told me mechanically it's good. It just came out of the shop for a tune up and all they said that needs replacing is the oil pan gasket within 6 months.

    He told me this car has been in five accidents, three of which were small parking lot things where someone clipped their bumper. One happened when he was at a red light where he was rear-ended. The bumper and trunk needed re-aligning and cost him under 2,000. The other was a passenger side front quarter panel where his wife was hit and the headlight needed to be replaced. He tells me the accidents were pretty much cosmetic problems, but I'm worried about the rear-ending, especially since he was stopped at the time. FWIW, these two accidents both happened on a major road with a speed limit of 30mph (Cambie St. in Vancouver).

    Run away and don't look back or take a very close look at it and throw him an offer? I'm hoping a bcaa inspection would be able to pick out any large problems these accidents may have caused.
    Last edited by michael_w; 07-18-2007 at 04:17 PM.

  8. #8

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    $3600 is about blue book value for that car in good shape. If you can get 'em to $3k, and the car drives straight, and everything else seems on the up and up, I'd say go for it. You have some bargaining points with all those accidents. I would, however, be concerned with that possibility of a water leak. There could be some important electronics down there. Just look at see if the glass looks cloudy in the corner, maybe check for wetness in the kick panels.
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

  9. #9

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    Thanks.
    Last edited by michael_w; 08-03-2007 at 08:17 PM.

  10. #10

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    Bump.


    Anyone have a carfax account I can use? (I'll pay you)



    I have a Black 2002 civic SI coupe / 5 speed in my sights I would like to look up. Fully loaded and in decent condition with 60k miles on it - asking 11k cdn. BTW, I drove it and man are these cars slow! I wasn't expecting much but WOW are they ever turtles. I was very amazed as to how good it felt to drive. After driving a beetle with a tight clutch a civic coupe couldn't be easier to drive...

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