Free Ways to Check the VIN Number on a Car

by James B. Jones

A Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, is a unique series of numbers and letters given to a vehicle. Each vehicle all over the world has its own unique VIN which manufacturers use to track the number of sales of a particular model, and law enforcement can use the number to track the history of a particular vehicle. You may want to find it so that you can look online to find the complete history of the vehicle you may be interested in buying. Thankfully, this number is extremely easy to find if you know where to look.

Check the Vehicle

Cars on dealership lot

Every vehicle has its VIN number etched into the vehicle, usually on a VIN plate that is bolted to the forward dashboard. If your vehicle doesn't have the VIN on the dash, check inside the hood of the vehicle for the VIN plate. Finally, if the number is not on the forward dash or inside the car hood, check inside the driver side door for the plate containing the number.

Ask the Dealer

Couple in dealership showroom

If you are buying your car new or used from a dealership, the dealer should have documentation with the vehicle VIN number printed on it. If the dealer doesn't have this documentation, you should reconsider buying your car from them. Of course if you are buying this vehicle directly from the previous owner, this oversight can be quickly forgiven.

Using Your VIN Number

Woman typing on laptop

Once you have your VIN number, you can check the complete history of your vehicle. Several websites offer these services and while many, such as the aptly titled "Vehicle Identity Number" offer free searches, pay sites like Vehix and Carfax offer you more detailed searches that let you search for everything from each owner of your vehicle to the true mileage of a car you may be interested in.

References

About the Author

James B. Jones, a former United States Army M.P., has been a full-time writer in the fields of consumer electronics and video games since 2006. Walker has had his articles published on several gaming and technology websites, and has made frequent appearances on All Games Radio.

Photo Credits

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