How to Find My Car's Make and Model

by Brooke PierceUpdated July 06, 2023

The simplest method to determine the make and model of a car is to look at the cover of the owner's manual.

Determining the make and model of a car is essential for various purposes, whether you're buying a used car, obtaining car insurance, or simply need the information for reference. The make of your car is the car manufacturer’s name, such as Toyota, while the model name is the brand, such as RAV 4. You have a couple of ways to find the make and model of your car.

This article provides a step-by-step guide on how to find the make and model of your car, utilizing methods such as vehicle history reports, VIN decoding, and referencing official documents like the owner's manual and vehicle title. By following these steps, you can confidently identify your car's make and model, including its model year, body style, and other relevant details.

Reading the Car and Requesting Vehicle History Reports

To identify your car's make and model, start by checking the backside of the car for the model name and the front logo for the make. Additionally, consider obtaining a vehicle history report, which provides comprehensive information about your car, including its make, year, model, and other essential details. These reports can be requested from your local motor vehicles agency or through reputable websites like CarFax or AutoCheck.

Locating the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique 17-digit code specific to your car and serves as a key identifier. You can find the VIN number on the driver's side of the car, either on the driver’s side door jamb or between the dashboard and windshield. It is also present on your car title, registration documents, and may be available through your auto mechanic or body shop records.

Understanding VIN Decoding and Check Digit

The car’s VIN contains valuable information about your car, including its country of origin, automaker, model year, serial number and trim level. Utilize online VIN decoder tools or consult reputable sources like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to decipher the vehicle’s VIN and retrieve details regarding your car's make, model, and other specifications. The VIN also includes a check digit (VIN check) that verifies the authenticity of the VIN and ensures accurate identification.

Referring to Official Documents

For additional verification and confirmation of your car's make and model, consult official documents such as the owner's manual and vehicle title. These documents typically include detailed information about the car's make, model, body style, and other relevant data.

Importance of Make and Model for Car Insurance

Knowing your car's make and model is crucial when obtaining auto insurance coverage. Insurance companies consider these factors when calculating premiums, as different makes and models have varying risk profiles. Accurately providing your car's make and model ensures you receive appropriate coverage and accurate premium quotes.

Identifying your vehicle’s make and model is essential for a range of purposes, from purchasing a used car to obtaining car insurance coverage. By utilizing methods such as reading the car, requesting vehicle history reports, locating the VIN, and referring to official documents, you can confidently determine your car's make, model year, body style, and other relevant details. This information is invaluable when making informed decisions about your vehicle, ensuring proper insurance coverage, and complying with documentation requirements. Stay diligent and refer to reputable sources to ensure accurate identification and reliable information about your car's make and model.

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