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I just got a Carfax and Autocheck on a car I may buy for someone else. Carfax lists two owners, and Autocheck lists one. I'm not sure which to believe, but the owner did have a lien on the title recently after purchase and did move to a different state. Carfax also reports two title numbers.

Any info is appreciated.

Carfax:

01/11/2002
Title issued or updated
First owner reported
Titled or registered as
personal vehicle
Loan or lien reported

02/21/2002
Title issued or updated
Loan or lien reported

12/24/2003
Registration issued or renewed
Titled or registered as
personal vehicle
Passed safety inspection

09/22/2004
Registration updated when owner moved
the vehicle to a new location

Carfax reports events from here on as the 2nd owner:

09/23/2004
Title issued or updated
New owner reported
(first mention of a title number)

06/14/2007
Title issued or updated
Registration issued or renewed
(first mention of a different title number)

AutoCheck:

01/11/2002
REGISTRATION EVENT/RENEWAL

02/21/2002
TITLE (Lien Reported)

09/23/2004
TITLE (Title #:<removed>)
REGISTRATION EVENT/RENEWAL
(first mention of a title number)

06/14/2007
TITLE (Title #:<removed>)
REGISTRATION EVENT/RENEWAL
(first mention of a different title number)
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    With all due respect, does it really matter? The major things you'd look on either of these for is if the car has been salvaged, major accidents, or other issues with the title. It really doesn't matter in the long run how many owners it's gone through so long as there isn't anything which would lead you to believe there's an issue. At least that's my take on it. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Aug 29 '17 at 20:31
  • sorry, i shouldve explained that im buying the car for someone else who really cares about it. although, i am personally interested to know how such a situation could occur and was surprised to see a difference between the two reports. – tau Aug 29 '17 at 20:38
  • is that really all they show? Carfax used to show the reporting agency (ie what state) that would help clarify. – agentp Aug 29 '17 at 21:11
  • i edited out the states and agencies. it basically went from one place on the east coast to where i am now on the west coast. seems possible that the process of moving has confused carfax, but im not sure. the locations didnt seem relevant to me. – tau Aug 29 '17 at 21:23
  • @tau - Considering the information you want, all data besides PII is most likely pertinent. Editing it out has probably hurt your chances at a better answer. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Aug 29 '17 at 22:56
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I do not know if this applies in every state, but in my state (PA), the last two digits of the title number indicates the number of owners.

That is, the initial title issued on a vehicle ends with 01. The next owner will get a title number ending in 02, and so on.

Someone at the tag and title transfer agency pointed that out to me and the buyer of a vehicle I was selling a few months ago.

  • i see no correlation on the title numbers, except the first two digits might match the last two of the year (eg, 2004 -> 04xxxxxx). – tau Aug 29 '17 at 21:55
  • Also, I wonder if this is not the number of owners, but rather the number of titles issued, regardless of ownership. This would cover a reissue of lost titles. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Aug 29 '17 at 22:54
  • Not sure about that one. The woman at the tag place said it was number of owners. I would think a reissue of a lost title should result in the same title number but who knows. – mannaggia Aug 29 '17 at 22:57
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    @tau all the autocheck dates are repeated in the carfax summary so there is a lot of correlation - what they report is not identical though... – Solar Mike Aug 30 '17 at 4:48
1

By the looks of what you showed, it looks like its most likely that AutoChrck and Carfax just have a different way of categorizing the data.

Based on the AutoCheck Glossary they don't have any classification for change of ownership. So from the aspect of databasing the information and making it make sense, they may just lump all vehicle registration (including change of ownership) into the category of "registration event/renewal"... honestly it's pretty vague to just say "registration event" cause that could mean anything happening with the registration.

It's possible that if you check the AutoCheck FAQ or contact them directly, there could be a perfect explanation that makes sense. That said, it looks like both sites show 2 title numbers, so as long as the 4 numbers match (2 sets of 2), I wouldn't call thy suspect at all.

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