Every U.S. citizen has a Social Security Number (SSN) assigned at birth for identification and various other purposes. Every vehicle in the U.S. and around the world has a vehicle identification number (VIN number), which is also used mainly for identification purposes. Do you know where to find a car VIN number when it counts?
Specific scenarios make a VIN number check crucial to their outcome. How does knowing a car’s VIN number save you money? Is a free VIN check available online? How do I decode a VIN without professional assistance? Read on to understand why knowing a car’s VIN number saves you thousands.
What Is a VIN Check?
A VIN check is important, but what is it? GPS systems are standard in most cars in 2021. GPS is a digital, advanced-technology tracking & location system used to give you directions and also locate your vehicle when stolen or lost.
Every vehicle in the U.S. and around the world is assigned a vehicle identification number (VIN number), which is also used mainly for identification purposes.
A VIN number is neither digital nor does it use advanced technology but it is still used for identifying and locating automobiles under specific circumstances.
A VIN number is essentially a stone age GPS because its primary location is literally chiseled into metal on the driver’s side door jam. A VIN check, also referred to as a VIN number check, VIN verification or VIN lookup helps locate stolen vehicles, verify warranty/insurance claims, discover manufacturer recalls and more.
A VIN check is also used to match title documents with vehicles, confirm odometers match state records and for other emissions-based purposes in California.
It is possible to conduct a VIN lookup free of charge using certain services. Other than on a vehicle door jam, do you know where to find a car VIN number? A VIN number is sometimes also viewable through the windshield on the driver’s side dashboard.
Outside the vehicle its VIN number is written on the vehicle’s title and applicable insurance card.
When Do You Need a VIN Check?
Conducting a VIN search is only necessary under certain circumstances. When do you need a VIN check? Situations requiring a VIN lookup are sometimes simply employing common sense. For example, are you about to buy a used car?
Purchasing a used car requires plenty of research for you to be certain the car you are buying is not defective or damaged. Running a VIN check is an essential part of this research.
This is especially important when buying a used car from a private party instead of a dealer. A VIN lookup helps you determine if the seller is lying about prior damages, defects and/or repairs. It also helps you determine if the vehicle was in any accidents or had any parts replaced, recalled or otherwise altered.
You need a VIN check for emissions-based purposes if you live in California. In addition to odometer and ownership confirmation, a VIN check helps verify your vehicle matches U.S. Federal Safety Standards and California emissions standards alike. You need a VIN check if you are an insurance adjuster and suspect a driver is filing a false claim.
Was your car stolen? Reporting your vehicle’s VIN number to applicable authorities might help them get it back faster. This alone helps save you thousands in potential damages or unpaid vehicle financing debts.
VIN checks are important pursuant to safety recalls as well. A VIN check helps buyers understand the true value and condition of a vehicle they are about to purchase and therefore make proper informed decisions.
A VIN check also protects car manufacturers from potential lawsuits by preventing injuries and accidents caused by defective parts. How does a VIN check accomplish this? A VIN lookup accomplishes this by informing buyers about the damages of a vehicle prior to them purchasing and driving it.
How to Decode a VIN
To accurately decode a VIN, you have to first understand what all digits and letters represent. A VIN number consists of 17 figures (number in letters), which are organized into three main sections. The first section contains three units and represents the country and manufacturer identifier. Units in this first section vary significantly even in the USA. This number is called the “World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI).”
For example, depending on the year they were produced, even various U.S.-made Ford Broncos have different initial identifiers.In the U.S., the first number will be 1, 4 or 5, while cars manufactured in Canada will start with 2.
The second section contains six units and represents the vehicle description. This includes the make, model, class, included safety features and other parts used to build the automobile.
For example, the eighth unit frequently represents what engine is installed in the vehicle.
The final eight units are unique identifiers pursuant to only your vehicle. These are used to differentiate your vehicle from others of the same make, model, year and parts contents. This final set of numbers is known as the “Vehicle Identification Sector (VIS).”
It is also possible to decode a VIN using free Carfax report services or other online decoders. CarMD provides a free VIN Decoder API service online.
Other popular and reliable online VIN decoders in 2021 include:
VIN Check – How Do You Get One?
Carfax for free is one of the most popular methods to get a VIN check. Conveniently many websites providing free web decoders also offer free VIN checks. AutoCheck is one company providing free VIN search services. The CarMD API service also provides a free VIN check. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), iSeeCars.com and VehicleHistory.com are also reliable online resources for free VIN checks in 2021.