It’s no secret that cars drive the American lifestyle. In fact, over 17 million cars were sold in the United States in 2019, and those are just new cars. Many Americans opt to save a little extra money and buy a used car.
Used cars come with a history, however, and you have to be careful to avoid the bad apples. One of the best ways to do this is through VIN checks! Read on to learn more about them.
What’s a VIN and How Do You Find It?
VIN is an acronym for “vehicle identification number.” A VIN consists of 17 numbers and letters that manufacturers, government officials, dealerships, and consumers track a vehicle and its history.
Every car bought and sold in the United States has a VIN attached to it. Most VINs are found below the windshield of the vehicle on the driver’s side and on the door jamb on the driver’s side of the car. It is also included with the sales paperwork if you cannot find it on the car itself.
You will need your VIN number in order to file for insurance coverage of your car and to register your car with the state.
What Can a VIN Tell You?
A VIN can tell you pretty much everything about the history of the car as long as it has been entered into the national database.
What does this include?
When you take your car to a local shop to get an oil change, the information gets uploaded into the database and shows up on a search of your car’s VIN. The same is true if your car is in an accident that is reported to an insurance agency. A VIN check can tell you the type and extent of the damage done to the car.
The caveat is that anything that happens that isn’t reported won’t show up on a report. So if you or the previous owner performed your own maintenance, then it may appear to a buyer that regular maintenance hasn’t been done. The same is true for accidents that don’t get reported.
You can also use your car’s VIN to determine what to purchase when you want to do your own maintenance. This includes like the type of oil the car needs, and how much of it you should buy.
How Do I Get a VIN Check?
You have a car in mind, you have the VIN, and now you want to take a look! You’re probably wondering how you perform a VIN check.
Dealerships will often have the VIN check on hand when you go to buy a car, but you can also use independent companies like Carfax to check the history. In addition, the National Insurance Crime Bureau has a free database that can tell you if a car has been reported as stolen or salvage.
Remember, VIN Checks Are Important!
Your vehicle’s VIN unlocks your car’s history. VIN checks allow you to see if a vehicle you’re considering has been in an accident and how regularly it has been serviced. If you want to make sure that you’re spending your money wisely, then a VIN check is essential for peace of mind.
Happy car shopping!
Looking for more great articles about buying and maintaining cars? You’re in the right place! Check out the rest of our blog for everything you need to stay on the road!