Share This Article

BACK SEAT DRIVING: MOVE OVER, CARFAX

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, Feb 21, 2010

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

Move Over, Carfax Californians can now get a report on a vehicle's history from the DMV for $4, now that the state has made federal data available to consumers, according to Nathan Olivarez-Giles of the LA Times. "Before, the state contracted with Carfax. Now, the state has made information from a federal website available to consumers. Consumers now can buy a report from the California Department of Motor Vehicles containing information from a database compiled from junkyards, mechanics, insurance companies and other sources." This compares very favorably to the approximately $30 charge for a history from the popular car-information company, Carfax. The database is reportedly run by the American Assn. of Motor Vehicle Administrators for the Justice Department. "Congress passed a law in 1992 mandating the creation of the database as a tool to combat auto theft and fraud, but it wasn't until 2008 that the Justice Department created the database after lawsuits from consumer groups accused the agency of dragging its feet," says Olivarez-Giles. The reports can be purchased online at www.vehiclehistory.gov. "With the reports, used-car buyers can find out whether the car has been stolen or its odometer altered, and the report can reveal if a car has been declared a total loss, salvaged from a flood or rebuilt after a wreck," says Joe Ridout, a spokesman for San Francisco-based advocacy group Consumer Action. The histories can also help buyers avoid vehicles that are unsafe because they may have been inadequately repaired after damage, Rideout said to the Times. However, reports from Carfax and its competitor Experian AutoCheck do have some information not included in the federal database, such as data from police reports, repair shops and smog facilities, according to Ridout said. "It took more than 18 years to get this information available to the public in California, but it's here."  

LA Car

That was LA Car's subtitle when it started back in 1997. Its original website address was about five times the size of lacar.com. Since then, La Car became LA Car. Its subtitle became Reporting From Car Culture Ground Zero, then From The Heart of Car Culture, to The Cars and Culture of Southern California and back. At all times, however, we aimed to chronicle the Southland's automotive spirit - much like one's own journal or diary. LA Car has always been a great source to come back to from week-to-week, to see what articles and reviews have been added to our rather staggering database. With Back Seat Driving, a.k.a. BSD (not to be confused with two similar, well-worn abbreviations, BS and BFD) and Breaking News (co-located with Back Seat Driving, and updated several times daily), we give you some reasons to come back more often (all opinions, by the way, are those of the respective author). So, go ahead and bookmark www.lacar.com. We'll be sure to provide a link to Breaking News and the latest Back Seat Driving blog entry. In the meantime, welcome to the journal and journey from the heart of the car culture. - Roy Nakano  For the story behind LA Car's shift knob avatar, go to Kool Knobs for LA Car For past Back Seat Driving and LA Car Blog entries, click the Archives.

You Might Also Like These Articles:

quattro book group b rally car

Book Review: Quattro

917 restaurant waiter food burger

917 (K)afe

Porsche 356 made by Reutter

Book Review - Porsche 356: Made by Reutter

2022 GR 86

2022 GR 86

harbor freight tools for school red pliers tools bench

Harbor Freight "Tools for School" Prize