If you are planning to buy a second hand car, you need multiple tools and methods to identify the vehicle’s owner, its track record and to discover any underlying technical issues that owners can be interested in hiding – in other words, you need a used car VIN check.
Found in various different places in the car, the VIN is the car’s unique identification number assigned to it at the time of manufacturing and it contains all the important information about the vehicle. What’s more, it is the identification number used on insurance policies, service reports, accident reports and various other documents related to the ownership and technical condition of the car.
As you see, the most important set of numbers related to a car is not its mileage, or numbers that express its fuel consumption, not even its number plate, but its VIN; so, in what follows we would like to describe in more details what a VIN is good for and how you can check it when you want to buy a used car.
What Is a and Where Do You Find It?
vinA car’s VIN is the vehicle’s identification number, its unique fingerprint used wherever and whenever it is necessary to identify the vehicle. VINs are usually 17 characters long and they contain letters and numbers as well.
Each of the characters that make up a VIN has special significance. The different characters in the string refer to the make of the car, the place and year it was made, the exact make and model of the car and many other details.
Your car’s VIN appears in the car’s insurance documents and on the title and it also appears in many different places in the car. Though different makes and models display their identification numbers on different spots, the most frequently used places for adding VIN stickers or stamping identification numbers are:
the dashboard on the driver’s side
the door jamb on the driver’s side
on the underside of the spare tire, on the windscreen
>under the bonnet, the front end of the car’s frame
on a little metal plate in the engine compartment
some types of cars will have their VINs stamped on their chassis as well.
Why Perform a Check before Buying the Vehicle?
VIN lookups are used whenever a vehicle is involved in a special situation. It is used by the police to identify vehicles involved in accidents, by law enforcement agencies to locate stolen vehicles, by insurance companies to assign the right rating, by garages to identify replacement parts and – we left the most interesting example for the end – by who people intent to buy a used car for identifying the vehicle and finding out about its history.
A detailed VIN check can also inform you about title changes during the lifetime of the vehicle, about its insurance status along with insurance records of past events and it is also useful if you want to check whether the car’s odometer has ever been rolled back.
How to Perform a Used Car VIN
There are various ways you can verify a car’s VIN. If you buy your used car from a dealership, the easiest way is to ask the dealership for a used car VIN verification and they will do it for free.
If you are planning to buy a used car from a private owner, the situation may become a bit more complicated. In this case, you can use an online used car VIN checker service for the verification. There are numerous different websites that allow you to enter the car’s VIN, and they will return a detailed interpretation of the letters and figures in the identification code.
These websites are useful if you only need the verification in order to be sure of the identity of the vehicle, but if you want to view a detailed report of ownership transfers, insurance events and other major changes in the car’s life, you will need to apply for a professional used car VIN check by a commercial website.
While simple VIN checks are usually run for free, commercial sites might charge you a small fee for the information you are requesting and they may also limit the number of queries you enter. Some free VIN checker sites and all commercial sites will verify the code in stolen car registries as well; what’s more, many sites will perform the VIN look-up in international data bases, too.
As you see, the VIN is the ultimate code that contains the car’s identity and its complete history. If you want to be sure you know everything there is to know about the vehicle you are planning to buy, perform the used car VIN verification – it takes very little and it will allow you determine not only if the car is worth buying, but also if you can trust the seller.