Tips on Buying Cars: carfax reports, car fax report, carfax reports

I am looking to purchase a 1999 Ford XLT pickup, and on the dealers website there is an icon that will will provide a carfax history. I clicked on this icon, and it said there were 17 items available on this report, but that I would have to buy a membership to see the details. My question is this: What type of things are included in a car fax report, and do you think that is an unusually high number of entries for a vehicle of that year? Thank you for your answer.

1) CarFax is a product, and anyone with a product is looking for ways to sell it.  As for the "unusually high number of entries," gets your curiosity up, doesn't it?  Actually, the entries will include such things as the number of times the car has been registered or titled (registration occurs once a year in New York state, so if this is a NY truck, then at least 7 of those 17 items are registration entries, which means nothing as far as you're concerned).  

2) CarFax is good for finding out if a vehicle has been totaled, salvaged or sold off by an insurance company due to flood damage, but it's far from perfect.  Case in point: the 1992 Taurus I bought in 2000.  I knew it had been in an accident (hit a deer and then a guard rail), but I also knew it had been repaired properly and I bought it cheap.  The original owner didn't report the accident to the police, so there's no public record of the accident.  This Taurus had nearly $4,000 in repairs, yet the CarFax report shows the car as having never been in an accident (despite what people think, insurance companies don't report data to CarFax; they get their accident info from public police records).

Bottom line: CarFax is helpful, but don't rely on it as your only source for researching the history of a used vehicle.  Have an independent mechanic and/or body shop inspect the vehicle, and use your own eye and common sense in looking at the vehicle.  Does the condition and wear and tear on the vehicle coincide with the mileage?  If it looks like the truck has had a lot of use compared to the numbers on the odometer, then maybe someone has figured out a way to make the truck seem more "youthful," if you catch my drift.  Do all the body panels fit well?  If one side looks good, while there are large gaps on the other side, then did someone use cheap aftermarket body panels to replace ones damaged after an accident?  

BTW, I'd expect that dealer to provide you with a no-charge copy of the CarFax report- just go to the dealership and ask for it.