Buyer Beware: What to Look For on a Used Truck’s CARFAX Report

When buying used trucks, smart consumers do their research on the model of the truck they want and the specific truck they’re considering. A few decades ago, buyers had to rely on only the word of the seller when it came to the truck’s history—but thanks to vehicle history reports like CARFAX, every used truck’s accident reports, repairs, and other important information is readily available.
Even though this info is now easy to get, some buyers aren’t sure what they should look for on a vehicle history report. The data goes well beyond accidents and whether or not the car is stolen. CARFAX and other vehicle history companies gather information from more than 112,000 sources, and the result is comprehensive reports that can help you decide if a particular truck is a worthy investment.

Things to look for include:


While the fact that a truck was in an accident won’t necessarily take it out of the running, you need to be aware of the extent of any accidents and the type of repairs that have been made. Some body repair work is expertly done. That’s why it’s important to check the CARFAX report for accidents, even if the body looks perfect.

Auto Recycling Center

If the vehicle report says the truck came through an auto recycling center, it’s time to move on to a different vehicle. Why? Because an auto recycling center is where totaled vehicles go. That could mean the truck was totaled in an accident, flooded, or otherwise seriously damaged. Even if everything looks great, it’s just not a chance worth taking.

Vehicle Usage

Trucks used as rentals or for-hire vehicles endure more abuse than personal-use trucks. A CARFAX report will let you know how the truck was used by past owners.

Emissions Testing

If you live in—or will be moving to—a state that requires emissions testing, you’ll want to make sure it has passed its most recent test. Note that dealerships are only allowed to sell vehicles that have passed emissions testing, but this is something to keep in mind when buying from a private owner.

Where the Truck Has Been Used

Northerners love to buy southern used trucks. Why is that? It’s because the salt used on the roads in areas that get a lot of snow can damage the truck’s undercarriage. Similarly, trucks that spend years in a coastal environment may also experience such damage.

Odometer Reading

Only 40,000 miles on the truck? That’s great…unless it really has 240,000 miles. Looking carefully through used trucks vehicle history reports can help you learn if the odometer has been rolled back.

Number of Owners

Has the truck had several owners despite being only a few years old? This could be a red flag that there are hidden issues with the vehicle. That’s not always the case, but it’s something to watch for.

Lien Information

If the report shows a lien on the truck, it could be a mistake, but you should not buy the vehicle until it’s corrected. If it’s not an error, a lien means that someone else has a right to the truck—even if you buy it. If the CARFAX report shows a lien, verify 100% that it’s taken care of (and get it in writing) or walk away.
Looking for a new truck in Longview, TX? Stop by Patterson Truck Stop where you’ll find a large selection of quality, pre-owned trucks with access to the CARFAX reports before buying. Our buyers also have peace of mind knowing most of our used trucks are covered by our FREE Lifetime Warranty.
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