Vehicle Identification Number

Learn what your vehicle identification number (VIN) means.

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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, year it was made, model, specifications, ownership history, mileage information, recalls, registrations, theft, insurance coverage, accidents and title checks. Use our VIN Check 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 also known as the chassis number and consists of 17 characters which are a mix of numbers and letters. Here are the locations where you will find the VIN.

  • Windshield – On the driver’s side of the dashboard will be the vehicle’s VIN Number etched on a plate behind the windshield. The easiest way to view the VIN Number is by stepped outside the vehicle.
  • Driver’s door jamb –  Open the driver’s side of the vehicle. Upon opening the door where it connects to the body will be sticker’s from the manufacturer. Here you’ll locate the VIN Number etched on the sticker.
  • Engine block – If you are unable to locate the VIN Number on the documents, windshield or door jamb; then check the engine block. Every engine will have the unique VIN Number of the vehicle etched on the engine it self.
  • Insurance papers – To insure a vehicle a VIN Number is required. You can locate the VIN Number of the vehicle by simply looking at the insurance papers. Also known as the serial number on documents.
  • Registration or Title papers – The vehicle title will contain the 17 digit VIN Number also known as the chassis number or serial number of the vehicle. You’ll find this information on the title or the auto insurance policy.

How to find the VIN on a Motorcycle?

The VIN location on motorcycles differ 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 use the VIN Decoder to do a VIN Check?

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

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. 

Data from national databases, such as, the NMVTIS, Department of Motor Vehicles, Ministry of Transportation, car manufacturers’ databases, insurance companies, car auctions, car dealers, state records, inspections stations and includes over 60 checks on every report. 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 the number of owners, 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 vehicle using our VIN look up tool.
  • Mileage information – Check odometer records on any vehicle by entering in the VIN number. Mileage information will include mileage, date and location when it was registered. The odometer records include title records, registration and renewals.
  • Accidents 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.
  • Airbag deployment – You should ensure that the vehicle has all the airbags and, in the event that it doesn’t  have, discover why. 
  • 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, air bags, audio system, braes, comfort features, convenience features and security features. Find out over 100+ specifications on any vehicle.
  • Market Value – Wondering how much the vehicle is actually worth? Our report shows you the market value of the vehicle based on estimated mileage. Learn about depreciation and resale value of the vehicle compared to others being sold in the market.
  • Warranty Status – Find out if the vehicle has any information including the type of coverage for warranty status.
  • Police incidents – 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 – 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 an open recall according to a recent study. Some of these recalls affect the safety and performance off the vehicle. Learn if the hicle has had any manufacturer recalls. If there are defects, learn about their impact on safety and how to fix the issues.
  • Department of Motor Vehicle Records – 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 Databases – 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.
  • Vehicle Use Verification – Find out if the vehicle was ever used as a commercial, fleet, rental, police, or personal vehicle. 
  • Loan & Lien Verification – Liens are essentially proof that you are going to take responsibility for a loan payment, with the vehicle as collateral. If you purchase a vehicle with a lien that was unpaid, you can lose the vehicle as the debt collector could repossess the vehicle.