How to Locate a Vehicle by VIN

by Edriaan Koening

Every vehicle has a unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) assigned at the time of manufacture. The VIN is found in several places on a vehicle, usually on the dash, on one of the doors and on the engine. Sources available to the public make it possible to access records that pertain to the vehicle, including car make, model, year, tag, odometer and contact details of its owner. Various companies offer the service of pulling up this information and presenting it to you in the form of a VIN report.

Choose a company that provides VIN reports, such as Carfax or the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Order a VIN report and make a payment for it. You can usually pay by credit card. If you need to obtain multiple VIN reports, certain companies might have a membership option that will let you buy each at a lower price.

Read the VIN report to see the vehicle's history and the locations of the records. For example, the history will show records on registration renewals, emissions inspections and auctions, if applicable.

Scan the VIN report for the current owner's contact details.

Contact the current owner of the car to confirm its location and condition. As a VIN report contains the owner's last reported contact details, it is not necessarily an up-to-date record.

About the Author

Edriaan Koening began writing professionally in 2005, while studying toward her Bachelor of Arts in media and communications at the University of Melbourne. She has since written for several magazines and websites. Koening also holds a Master of Commerce in funds management and accounting from the University of New South Wales.

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