Carfax is a leading source that provides vehicle history information to buyers and sellers of used cars. The company receives information from over 100,000 data sources including “every U.S. and Canadian provincial motor vehicle agency, auto auctions, fire and police departments, collision repair facilities, fleet management, rental agencies, and more.” When a person pulls a vehicle history report from Carfax using a 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN), they will have access to some or all of the following information:

  • Title information, including those that belong to salvaged or junked vehicles
  • Flood damage history
  • Total loss accident history
  • Odometer readings
  • Lemon history
  • Number of owners
  • Accident indicators, such as if the airbags deployed
  • State emissions inspection results

If a vehicle was involved in an accident and sustained damage, the Carfax report will also include a Damage Severity Scale, which is comprised of two components. The first is a visual scale that shows how bad the damage was, and the second is a graphic that indicates where on the vehicle the damage occurred. When a vehicle’s Carfax report has “minor damage” listed on it, it usually means there are scratches, scrapes or dings to the body of the vehicle, such as a cracked headlight or small dent in the hood.

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Before assuming that a vehicle only sustained minor damage in a collision as that is what is listed on its Carfax report, check to see if had to be towed away from the accident scene or if it was immobilized.

Many insurers, including Liberty Mutual, define “minor damage” as it is explained above which means this is how insurers are describing the damage to the various agencies Carfax collects its data from. Now, rather than assume the vehicle wasn’t involved in a serious wreck just because the Carfax report has minor damage listed on it, it is best that you comb through the report very carefully and contact the agency if you have any questions or concerns regarding the report.

Typically, you should be more concerned when a Carfax report that comes back with “minor damage” also highlights that the vehicle was immobilized, had to be towed away from the accident scene, had the airbags deploy, or there were injuries reported. When a vehicle is unable to be driven away from an accident scene or someone suffered injuries, this might be an indicator that the car or truck was involved in a more serious accident. Generally, when a vehicle engages in a serious accident, it often results in the vehicle sustaining moderate to severe damage.

Is there anything I can do if I purchased a faulty vehicle from Carfax and was involved in an accident as a result?

Although Carfax does provide individuals looking to purchase a used vehicle with valuable information, it can’t always provide you with the vehicle’s entire accident history. If a wreck wasn’t reported to an insurer or the extent of the damage is unknown, Carfax can only provide you with the information it was able to gather. The truth is, aside from obtaining a Carfax report, the only other way to tell what type of damage a vehicle sustained is by having a skilled mechanic inspect it.

Therefore, if you were involved in an accident and you believe it was because the Carfax report failed to disclose certain information that could have potentially prevented it, you should consult with an accident attorney in your city. helps thousands of accident victims like yourself find the most reliable accident lawyers in their area who can assist them through the confusing time that follows after a collision.