Carfax deception probability?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
surfinagin
Posts: 516
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:19 pm

Carfax deception probability?

Post by surfinagin »

Looking at a 2021 truck with 38Kmi that has Carfax available on the dealer website.
Carfax shows oil changes at 9,200mi avg interval, with 10,200mi the highest. All oil changes at their dealership.
8Kmi recommended, and this truck has a Class IV hitch and trailer brakes so probably should have been done at 3.5-5Kmi.

Noted above on telcon w/salesman. He called back to say his Service Mgr. said actual oil change interval is much lower based on his documentation.
"OK"
Interesting that the "missed" Carfax documentation of oil changes is consistent -record shows a regular oil change around 9K mi.
Q:
Reasonable to assume that any service dept. can add backdated Carfax entries to tell whatever story they want?
Doubt I'll believe any "corrected" record they show me -my cynical nature won't allow it LOL.

I always review Carfax when made available. It has value, but I don't blindly trust it.
tibbitts
Posts: 23915
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 5:50 pm

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by tibbitts »

surfinagin wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 2:19 pm Looking at a 2021 truck with 38Kmi that has Carfax available on the dealer website.
Carfax shows oil changes at 9,200mi avg interval, with 10,200mi the highest. All oil changes at their dealership.
8Kmi recommended, and this truck has a Class IV hitch and trailer brakes so probably should have been done at 3.5-5Kmi.

Noted above on telcon w/salesman. He called back to say his Service Mgr. said actual oil change interval is much lower based on his documentation.
"OK"
Interesting that the "missed" Carfax documentation of oil changes is consistent -record shows a regular oil change around 9K mi.
Q:
Reasonable to assume that any service dept. can add backdated Carfax entries to tell whatever story they want?
Doubt I'll believe any "corrected" record they show me -my cynical nature won't allow it LOL.

I always review Carfax when made available. It has value, but I don't blindly trust it.
The majority of trucks these days seem to come with receivers so that in itself is meaningless, but you're saying it has a 3rd party brake controller installed? Even so probably most trucks that tow do so for a very small percentage of their life. And I can assure you, having owned a truck that I used for towing tens of thousands of miles, very few people today change oil at 3.5k or even 5k miles. When I asked a similar question some time ago, the impression the responses left me with was that 8k isn't significantly different from 9k or even 10.2k - as long as you don't have warranty compliance to worry about.

On the other hand the dealer would normally just print the service record for you with PII deleted, so I don't know what's with that. I seriously doubt the dealer wants to sell you this vehicle enough to backdate anything. If the vehicle is a good deal it's probably already been sold so you won't have to worry about it.
Mr. Rumples
Posts: 3021
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2019 7:16 am

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by Mr. Rumples »

No, you can't blindly trust them. I have a friend who restores antique vehicles; since cars are his thing, he is always up for going out with friends and family and looking at vehicles. He was asked/told not to come back on their lot as he spots things that aren't recorded.
"History is the memory of time, the life of the dead and the happiness of the living." Captain John Smith 1580-1631
Topic Author
surfinagin
Posts: 516
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:19 pm

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by surfinagin »

tibbitts wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 2:33 pm
surfinagin wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 2:19 pm Looking at a 2021 truck with 38Kmi that has Carfax available on the dealer website.
Carfax shows oil changes at 9,200mi avg interval, with 10,200mi the highest. All oil changes at their dealership.
8Kmi recommended, and this truck has a Class IV hitch and trailer brakes so probably should have been done at 3.5-5Kmi.

Noted above on telcon w/salesman. He called back to say his Service Mgr. said actual oil change interval is much lower based on his documentation.
"OK"
Interesting that the "missed" Carfax documentation of oil changes is consistent -record shows a regular oil change around 9K mi.
Q:
Reasonable to assume that any service dept. can add backdated Carfax entries to tell whatever story they want?
Doubt I'll believe any "corrected" record they show me -my cynical nature won't allow it LOL.

I always review Carfax when made available. It has value, but I don't blindly trust it.
The majority of trucks these days seem to come with receivers so that in itself is meaningless, but you're saying it has a 3rd party brake controller installed? Even so probably most trucks that tow do so for a very small percentage of their life. And I can assure you, having owned a truck that I used for towing tens of thousands of miles, very few people today change oil at 3.5k or even 5k miles. When I asked a similar question some time ago, the impression the responses left me with was that 8k isn't significantly different from 9k or even 10.2k - as long as you don't have warranty compliance to worry about.

On the other hand the dealer would normally just print the service record for you with PII deleted, so I don't know what's with that. I seriously doubt the dealer wants to sell you this vehicle enough to backdate anything. If the vehicle is a good deal it's probably already been sold so you won't have to worry about it.
Tibbits, thanks for your reply.
Truck not sold -on the lot >50 days with a couple price drops, and my telcon w/the salesman was this aft.
Truck was optioned with the Class IV hitch and brake controller.
My OP didn't mention: This is a V6 with 7,730lb tow capacity. Class III=6,000 limit and Class IV 10,000lb.
Standard receiver for this truck is Class III, and agree -if equipped with that then no issue.
Debatable, but will assume someone opting for this tow package was towing high-end loads -possibly frequently.
My perspective: if need a Class IV hitch, should also opt for a V8. When there's choices, feel it's reasonable to consider this.
Oil change interval is certainly debatable, I'm on the side that sooner than recommended is good.
Maybe it's debatable, but IMO the combination of a V6 towing Class IV loads and extended oil change intervals is a red flag.
Topic Author
surfinagin
Posts: 516
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:19 pm

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by surfinagin »

Mr. Rumples wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 2:44 pm No, you can't blindly trust them. I have a friend who restores antique vehicles; since cars are his thing, he is always up for going out with friends and family and looking at vehicles. He was asked/told not to come back on their lot as he spots things that aren't recorded.
Mr Rumples, thanks for your reply-
Cynical take, but can see the temptation to extend oil change intervals for someone who plans to turn in their truck at the end of a 3YR lease.
That's easier to believe than the dealership "missing the entry" for every other oil change LOL.
User avatar
Watty
Posts: 28938
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by Watty »

It is just anecdotal but I had a Honda which had been in three fender benders with insurance claims and none of them showed up on the CarFax report.
yolointopants
Posts: 249
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2022 8:08 am

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by yolointopants »

Watty wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 3:05 pm It is just anecdotal but I had a Honda which had been in three fender benders with insurance claims and none of them showed up on the CarFax report.
Purchased a used vehicle. Found an oil leak in the garage. Looked underneath, found a cracked oil pan. Dealership had purchased a crashed vehicle, did a silent major repair on it, but forgot to clean out all the deer body parts smashed up in the engine. Had it replaced at that dealership. None of this on the carfax. Dealership is now out of business, and we ultimately sold the car.

Not the fault of Carfax, but the myriad of shady dealers and car sellers finds a way around every rule. It seems like the worst dealerships are the quickest to throw a carfax in your lap.
User avatar
illumination
Posts: 3202
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:13 pm

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by illumination »

I look at CarFax as just one data point, not the final authority. I never really looked much to it for maintenance history as not all places will upload service info. I'm not even sure how that works, can it even be backdated from say years ago? That would seem to be an enormous avenue for fraud that a dealership could just make up some sterling service history on every trade in.

I would assume the oil was only changed every 9k miles as it's listed now. While I agree that's not ideal, I wouldn't dismiss it over that unless that particular engine had some unique situation where infrequent oil changes caused issues.
Topic Author
surfinagin
Posts: 516
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:19 pm

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by surfinagin »

yolointopants wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 4:08 pm
Watty wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 3:05 pm It is just anecdotal but I had a Honda which had been in three fender benders with insurance claims and none of them showed up on the CarFax report.
Purchased a used vehicle. Found an oil leak in the garage. Looked underneath, found a cracked oil pan. Dealership had purchased a crashed vehicle, did a silent major repair on it, but forgot to clean out all the deer body parts smashed up in the engine. Had it replaced at that dealership. None of this on the carfax. Dealership is now out of business, and we ultimately sold the car.

Not the fault of Carfax, but the myriad of shady dealers and car sellers finds a way around every rule. It seems like the worst dealerships are the quickest to throw a carfax in your lap.
yolointopants, thanks for your reply-
Buying used is like Russian Roulette -have to decide when to push the Trust Button, and sketchy info to make that decision.
Your story is another great example of the deception that can be encountered.
Many dealers now list online with only a stock photo (often wrong) and no original window sticker link. At least Carfax often provides that.
Jack FFR1846
Posts: 18569
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:05 am
Location: 26 miles, 385 yards west of Copley Square

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

To the OP: Tell the dealer you will only consider this truck if they give you the previous owner's name and telephone number. Then call the previous owner and ask "Did you get the oil changed about every 10k miles?". If you asked me that, I'd answer truthfully that I change oil and filter every 5k miles.

I would pay no attention to the hitch. I have a class III hitch on my Wrangler only because it is part of the upgraded steel bumper. It's very likely that the truck was sent to the dealer and not originally ordered when new so it could be that the manufacturer simply sent what they had and this one had the tow package. You could certainly ask the previous owner what he towed.

I wouldn't trust Carfax. I bought a car used that I absolutely knew had been in a front end crash. Front bumper, fenders, hood all replaced and half the car repainted. Nothing on carfax. 2 years when I sold it, it did finally show up on carfax as an accident. If a car gets fixed fast enough and sold fast enough, they beat carfax. The dealer can run the carfax and quickly post it online before bad stuff shows up.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid
tibbitts
Posts: 23915
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 5:50 pm

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by tibbitts »

surfinagin wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 2:53 pm
tibbitts wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 2:33 pm
surfinagin wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 2:19 pm Looking at a 2021 truck with 38Kmi that has Carfax available on the dealer website.
Carfax shows oil changes at 9,200mi avg interval, with 10,200mi the highest. All oil changes at their dealership.
8Kmi recommended, and this truck has a Class IV hitch and trailer brakes so probably should have been done at 3.5-5Kmi.

Noted above on telcon w/salesman. He called back to say his Service Mgr. said actual oil change interval is much lower based on his documentation.
"OK"
Interesting that the "missed" Carfax documentation of oil changes is consistent -record shows a regular oil change around 9K mi.
Q:
Reasonable to assume that any service dept. can add backdated Carfax entries to tell whatever story they want?
Doubt I'll believe any "corrected" record they show me -my cynical nature won't allow it LOL.

I always review Carfax when made available. It has value, but I don't blindly trust it.
The majority of trucks these days seem to come with receivers so that in itself is meaningless, but you're saying it has a 3rd party brake controller installed? Even so probably most trucks that tow do so for a very small percentage of their life. And I can assure you, having owned a truck that I used for towing tens of thousands of miles, very few people today change oil at 3.5k or even 5k miles. When I asked a similar question some time ago, the impression the responses left me with was that 8k isn't significantly different from 9k or even 10.2k - as long as you don't have warranty compliance to worry about.

On the other hand the dealer would normally just print the service record for you with PII deleted, so I don't know what's with that. I seriously doubt the dealer wants to sell you this vehicle enough to backdate anything. If the vehicle is a good deal it's probably already been sold so you won't have to worry about it.
Tibbits, thanks for your reply.
Truck not sold -on the lot >50 days with a couple price drops, and my telcon w/the salesman was this aft.
Truck was optioned with the Class IV hitch and brake controller.
My OP didn't mention: This is a V6 with 7,730lb tow capacity. Class III=6,000 limit and Class IV 10,000lb.
Standard receiver for this truck is Class III, and agree -if equipped with that then no issue.
Debatable, but will assume someone opting for this tow package was towing high-end loads -possibly frequently.
My perspective: if need a Class IV hitch, should also opt for a V8. When there's choices, feel it's reasonable to consider this.
Oil change interval is certainly debatable, I'm on the side that sooner than recommended is good.
Maybe it's debatable, but IMO the combination of a V6 towing Class IV loads and extended oil change intervals is a red flag.
I test drove a used car, went across the street literally to get a better trade-in from Carmax, went back within an hour and the car was sold. Don't know how long the car had been on the lot. So maybe the truck will be there; maybe not.

Just from my own experience, sometimes people buy trucks with no tow package but want to tow and have to add the equivalent. Other people buy trucks with the mega tow package just because that's what was ordered on the truck and they wanted some other option it had. What does wear and tear on the receiver and plug look like?

For 6 vs. 8 it probably depends on brand. So for Ford half-ton gas for example I'm guessing most people would choose the larger of the 6s for towing.
Topic Author
surfinagin
Posts: 516
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:19 pm

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by surfinagin »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 4:30 pm To the OP: Tell the dealer you will only consider this truck if they give you the previous owner's name and telephone number. Then call the previous owner and ask "Did you get the oil changed about every 10k miles?". If you asked me that, I'd answer truthfully that I change oil and filter every 5k miles.

I would pay no attention to the hitch. I have a class III hitch on my Wrangler only because it is part of the upgraded steel bumper. It's very likely that the truck was sent to the dealer and not originally ordered when new so it could be that the manufacturer simply sent what they had and this one had the tow package. You could certainly ask the previous owner what he towed.

I wouldn't trust Carfax. I bought a car used that I absolutely knew had been in a front end crash. Front bumper, fenders, hood all replaced and half the car repainted. Nothing on carfax. 2 years when I sold it, it did finally show up on carfax as an accident. If a car gets fixed fast enough and sold fast enough, they beat carfax. The dealer can run the carfax and quickly post it online before bad stuff shows up.
Jack, thanks for your reply-
Good advice, but instinct tells me the salesman already lied to me on the phone today. They could agree and set up my call to whoever they want, then have them tell me good things.
Maybe too much paranoia, but based on telcon today I think this dealer moved outside my Circle Of Trust LOL.
gotoparks
Posts: 1205
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2023 9:19 am

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by gotoparks »

I lived for two years in an area called truck country. It was horse country also. I got a 4X4 Chevy truck to get in and out of where I lived in the winter. All the farmers and horse people used F250 or higher for towing. No one had a 6-cylinder. I would be suspicious of the truck. My repair shop signed me up for Carfax and they will email updates. I didn't find the information accurate, so I stopped looking at it.
Topic Author
surfinagin
Posts: 516
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:19 pm

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by surfinagin »

gotoparks wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:36 pm I lived for two years in an area called truck country. It was horse country also. I got a 4X4 Chevy truck to get in and out of where I lived in the winter. All the farmers and horse people used F250 or higher for towing. No one had a 6-cylinder. I would be suspicious of the truck. My repair shop signed me up for Carfax and they will email updates. I didn't find the information accurate, so I stopped looking at it.
gotoparks, thanks for your reply-
Agree regarding dubious repair info, but will continue to look at Carfax for the info I consider useful:
Carfax often provides a link to the original window sticker, original sale/resale dates (helps to know if multiple owners), owner info (commercial/fleet/personal), and date went on market.
I also think the locations provided for each entry help in regards to knowing the environment the vehicle was driven in.
Parkinglotracer
Posts: 4029
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:49 am
Location: Upstate NY

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by Parkinglotracer »

I’d trust your gut.
SR II
Posts: 475
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:37 pm

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by SR II »

We traded in a three-year-old Subaru Forester at lease end. It had been in two accidents. After it was traded in, I checked the Carfax report out of curiosity. Neither showed up on the report and the dealer sold it as a "Certified" vehicle.
andypanda
Posts: 2037
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:11 pm
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by andypanda »

Has any brake work been done? Have you looked at the condition of the brakes on all four corners?

Towing can take a real toll, especially if a lot of it is in traffic and/or urban areas.
Topic Author
surfinagin
Posts: 516
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:19 pm

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by surfinagin »

andypanda wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 9:09 am Has any brake work been done? Have you looked at the condition of the brakes on all four corners?

Towing can take a real toll, especially if a lot of it is in traffic and/or urban areas.
Carfax showed no brake maint -most trucks that I'm looking at note brakes serviced for the sale.
Discussed that w/salesman on the telcon.
Response: "We will look at them and service the brakes if you decide to buy the truck"
Told him he had that backwards. He said he'd call back yesterday afternoon and never heard from him.
Just as well -lots of these 2021's coming off 3yr lease. Many to choose from, appears to be buyer's market FWIW.
veggivet
Posts: 1508
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:07 pm
Location: New England

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by veggivet »

There is a car up for auction right now on Bring a Trailer with a 'No accidents reported' listed on the Carafe. I know for a fact that the car was indeed involved in an accident that was reported to insurance. So I'd be skeptical of anything Carfax claims.
Topic Author
surfinagin
Posts: 516
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:19 pm

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by surfinagin »

veggivet wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 10:11 am There is a car up for auction right now on Bring a Trailer with a 'No accidents reported' listed on the Carafe. I know for a fact that the car was indeed involved in an accident that was reported to insurance. So I'd be skeptical of anything Carfax claims.
Did you add your info in the BaT comments for that car?
BaT Comments are normally the acid test for deceptive sellers LOL.
FrugalConservative
Posts: 396
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:44 am

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by FrugalConservative »

Parkinglotracer wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 8:02 pm I’d trust your gut.
This.
funxional
Posts: 303
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2022 4:29 pm

Re: Carfax deception probability?

Post by funxional »

I don't understand where carfax deception comes into the picture. Carfax says oil every ~9k miles and dealer says it was twice that.

Are you saying the after the call the carfax changed to double the frequency of service?

Regarding the other comments about accidents. They will not always appear. I expect that a salvage gets reported to state authorities and should be reliable but other than that even extensive repairs would be guaranteed to be on the report (even ignoring the question about when the report was printed).
Post Reply