Vehicle Identification Number

Learn what your vehicle identification number (VIN) means.


What is a VIN Number?

Every car manufactured has a unique vehicle identification number (VIN) which can also be considered the fingerprint of a vehicle. No other car in the world could have an identical VIN number. The VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number, is a unique set of 17 characters containing numbers and letters. A VIN is the most reliable way to identify a vehicle. 

Manufacturers use unique VINs to encode important information about that specific vehicle. Vehicle Identification Numbers are also used by repair services and the police to record maintenance, inspection, damage, theft, and more. 

Using the Vehicle Identification Number you can find out details of the vehicle such as manufacturer, the year it was made, model, specifications, ownership history, recalls, mileage information, recalls, registrations, theft, insurance coverage, accidents, and title checks. Use our VIN lookup tool and find out more details about your VIN Number instantly.

What if the VIN Number is less than 17 characters long?

You will always want to double-check that you have typed in the correct Vehicle Identification Number without any typos. If the VIN is less than 17 characters, then it is a VIN Number from a vehicle older than 1981. Prior to 1981, VIN numbers varied in length from 11 to 17 characters depending on the manufacturer. You can still run the VIN Check to obtain information on vehicles manufactured before 1981 even though the information available might be limited.

Looking for the history of a classic vehicle? Run our VIN Check and get the details. Use the contact page or speak to a live chat agent for assistance.

Where can you find a VIN?

The VIN number can be found on the body of a vehicle or on its documents. The VIN number is also known as the chassis number consists of 17 characters which are a mix of numbers and letters. Here are the locations where you will find the VIN.


You can find the VIN on the left side of the dashboard affixed to the windshield on a metallic plate.

Driver’s door jamb

You can also locate the VIN on the sticker placed near the door jam on the driver’s side

Engine block

If you are unable to locate the VIN Number on the windshield or door jamb; then check the engine block. Every engine will have the unique VIN Number of the vehicle etched on the engine itself.

Insurance papers

You can also find the VIN Number by simply looking at the insurance papers of the vehicle.

Registration or Title papers

The vehicle's title or registration papers will contain the 17 digit VIN Number, also known as the chassis number or the vehicle's serial number.

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How to find the VIN on a Motorcycle?

The VIN location on motorcycles differs from various manufacturers. You can usually locate the VIN number on the steering neck. You can turn the handlebars to the left and look on the right side of the frame where the steering head goes through the frame. 

How to find the VIN on a Trailer or Commercial Truck?

A semi-trailers VIN is located on the front part of the trailer on the left side in most cases. If you can’t find the VIN Number on the trailer, you should be able to locate it on your title or insurance papers.

How to decode a VIN for free?

Enter your vehicle’s 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number also known as VIN number or the chassis number into the field above to look up and receive an instant report on the manufacturer, brand, model and make, body style, engine size, assembly plant, vehicle specifications, and options and over 60 other checks. See below for what you can learn about the vehicle. 

  • The VIN Lookup tool provides all the information contained in the VIN number. For instance, the first character of the VIN represents the country of origin. Then, the second and third character provides manufacturer details. The first three characters of the VIN Number are known as World Manufacturer Identifiers (WMI).
  • Following this, characters from fourth to eighth provide information about the engine size, engine specifications, and type of the vehicle. Characters 4 to 8 are known as Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS).
  • The remaining characters include a security digit as the 9th character to check and verify the VIN number is indeed correct. The VIN number also contains the vehicle serial number in its last 6 characters. Characters 10 to 17 are known as the Vehicle Identifier Section.
how to decode a vin number?

Vehicle Model Year (10th character)

World Manufacturer Identifier

What can you learn about a car from the VIN Number?

Wondering the number of owners the VIN you are searching had? Did it have any accidents or insurance damage claims? Does the mileage add up to what is shown on the dashboard? These are all great questions that a simple VIN check can answer. 

Premium VIN acquires this data from national databases, such as the NMVTIS, Department of Motor Vehicles, Ministry of Transportation, car manufacturer’s databases, insurance companies, car auctions, car dealers, state records, inspections stations. Every VIN report includes over 60 checks. Here’s what you can discover about the vehicle by searching the VIN.

The Number of owners

Find out the number of owners the vehicle had, including duration of ownership, registration details such as country, state, and city of registration. Find out the duration of ownership of each owner in the vehicle's history. Many customers have located their vehicles using our VIN lookup tool.

Mileage data

Check odometer records on any vehicle by entering the VIN number. Mileage information will include mileage, date, and location when it was registered. The odometer records include title records, registration, and renewals.

Accident history

In the event that the vehicle was seriously damaged previously, it tends to be hazardous to drive it since you may never realize how a vehicle performs at high speed after a full repair.

Usage Check

Find out if the vehicle was ever used as a commercial, fleet, rental, police, or personal vehicle. 

Best times to buy and sell

Best times to buy and sell

Every vehicle history report provides a detailed comparison of the vehicle against other models. The comparative information is useful to understand the real worth of the vehicle and to identify the best time to buy or sell a vehicle.

Vehicle specifications

Vehicle specifications

Every vehicle comes with special options and packages at the time of purchase. Using our VIN Lookup tool you can find detailed specifications such as model, trim, engine, transmission, fuel, exterior, and interior options, standard safety features, airbags, audio system, braes, comfort features, convenience features, and security features. Find out over 100+ specifications on any vehicle.

Market Value

Market value

Wondering how much the vehicle is worth? Our report shows you the market value of the vehicle based on estimated mileage. Learn about the depreciation and resale value of the vehicle compared to others being sold in the market.

Airbag deployment

You should ensure that the vehicle has all the airbags and, if it doesn’t have them, discover why?

Warranty status

Find out if the vehicle has any information including the type of coverage for warranty status.

Police reports

Each VIN Check will verify information from law enforcement agencies to help determine if the vehicle had any claims. Find out if the vehicle has a clean title.

Safety rating

Safety rating

Use our crash ratings guide to find useful information on the safety of the vehicle in a crash, including its technical capabilities to avoid accidents.

Recall and Defect information

33% of vehicles have open recalls according to a recent study. Some of these recalls affect the safety and performance of the vehicle. Learn if the vehicle has had any manufacturer recalls. If there are defects, learn about their impact on safety and how to fix the issues.

Department of Motor Vehicles

Every vehicle VIN lookup will verify title records from the Department of Motor Vehicles and government agencies. In Canada, this would be the Ministry of Transportation.

Insurance data

Find out the number of claims made with insurance for the vehicle. If the information is available, data such as the claim number date and amounts paid out are present.

Inspection Records

Multiple states have a law in place where emissions & safety inspections must be done yearly. Find out if the vehicle has had its yearly inspections done on time and if there were any outstanding issues with its inspections.

Check if a vehicle has Auction History & Photos

Only our VIN Decoder tool returns auction history and photos and that too without any additional cost. If the vehicle has been auctioned before, we will find the data and include that in the VIN  report. We provide accurate auction history with the help of a variety of car dealerships, auctions, and market sources. Our VIN report is cheaper and more informative than services like Carfax and Autocheck.

Lookup any Vehicle's Title history by using a VIN Decoder

Our VIN decoder returns all the necessary title checks that you will need to make an informed decision. The given information is precise and up-to-date and is retrieved from national and local databases.  Our VIN Decoder tool will reveal a full report on any title registration changes if there were any. Simply, enter a VIN Number and get access to the vehicle history report including all title checks.

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