How To Check A VIN

In life, we have many serious relationships where a knowledge of the other parties’ past would’ve been deeply helpful when the relationship began. When the relationship between you and a potential new used car in your life gets serious it’s time to dig around in that cars past a little bit. While getting a pre-purchase inspection of the car is absolutely important, it won’t cover all the major concerns that may not have been disclosed to you. For instance, it won’t tell you anything about the service history and legal past of the car. In addition, if you’re dealing with a seller that might require some negotiating, asking for a pre-purchase inspection might tip your hand that you’re quite serious about the car in question. So before you go that route lets talk about another option that will still get you vital information. It’s called a VIN Check and it may save you thousands of dollars.

What Can A VIN Check Tell Me?

A VIN check is a brilliant tool we at VINSmart offer that will alert you to potential problems, give a car a clean bill of historic health or something in between the two. The first concern is whether the car has a lien on the title. A lien will effectively stop you from obtaining the title of the car until the lienholder has been paid whatever amount of money the current owner agreed to. That’s not the kind of surprise you want at the table where you’re wrapping up the deal.

It will also alert you to problems with the mileage on the vehicle. Decades ago it was commonplace for dealerships to use tools to actually remove mileage on vehicles so that they could claim the car was worth more. Most modern vehicles have digital mileage counters that make that same nefarious behavior very difficult but as the internet will tell you, Modern problems require modern solutions. Clever criminals have found technical solutions to the most modern anti-hacking systems but they can’t beat a good VIN check. As a guy who’s been in the auto service repair business for a long time, I can assure you that inputting mileage is a vital part of whomever you’re taking your vehicle to for service. It’s used to track everything in service facilities around the country and helps to keep track of when services are due, how long service and parts warranties will be covered and more. When a service shop inputs a mileage that seems wrong, either too high or lower than it was at the last service: the VIN check company they work with will actually send them a message asking if that mileage was actually correct.

Finally, wouldn’t you want to know if your prospective new car was stolen? The VIN check will show that off too. Obviously, if the VIN check reports that it’s stolen you absolutely do not want to buy that car regardless of what the seller might tell you about the reason for that status. If the report shows it was stolen and then recovered you’ll want to consider how long it was between those two events. The longer the period of time, the more likely it is that the vehicle was neglected and may have more issues than you can know. Now that you know what gems you might find on your VIN check let’s talk about the next step, getting the VIN number.

How Do I Obtain The Vin Number?

The only thing you need to get that digging done is the VIN number of the vehicle. The VIN can actually be decoded to tell you a lot about where and how the vehicle was made. Any seller worth their salt will provide this freely. If you go to look at the car in person you can actually grab it yourself without letting on how seriously you’re considering the car. Look under the bottom of the windshield on the driver side of the car and you’ll see the VIN number printed there like in the above picture.

You can also find it on the driver’s side door post once the door is open. If you’ve only got a few mins you can snap a quick photo and then bring it home to check out the full history of the vehicle.

How Do I Check The VIN?

This is by far the easiest step of the entire process. Simply boot up and enter it on our home page. You’ll get back an extensive report that covers far more than just the vital stats we’ve discussed so far. It’ll tell you about how well the car was taken care of over its’ life. It’ll also show you what the vehicle is worth according to J.D. Power as well as any pertinent recalls that are still out for the vehicle. Why not check your VIN now?

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Stephen Rivers

Stephen Rivers

Stephen Rivers is a 6'6 racing junkie who's owned 2 BMWs, 3 MINIs and still owns a Rallycross tuned WRX. His dream car is a TVR Cerbera, couple that with his history and he's clearly a masochist.

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