When and How to Verify a VIN Number


Do you know how to verify your VIN?

Rules will vary between regions, but there are certain times you’ll need to verify your VIN. For example, if you’re selling your car. But if you’ve never verified one before, it can seem daunting.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Read on for our guide on when and how to verify a VIN.

What is a VIN Number?

VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number, and it’s a unique code each vehicle has. Think of it like your car’s fingerprint, no two VINs will be the same.

It’s made up of 17 characters (capital letters and numbers), and it’s a way of identifying your car. It’s used to track recalls, warranty claims, theft, insurance, and registrations.

Where Can You Find Your VIN Number?

In most vehicles, you’ll find it stamped onto a plate mounted on the dashboard. This will be near the windshield, or near the doorjamb on the driver’s side. You can also find it stamped onto the engine firewall.

How to Verify a VIN and Read It

Started from the left first digit, your VIN will tell you:

  • 1 – location of manufacture
  • 2&3 – the manufacturer
  • 4-8 – size & type of engine
  • 9 – manufacturer security code
  • 10 – model year
  • 11 – manufacturing plant
  • 12-17 – vehicle serial number

It isn’t a random line of numbers and letters mashed together. Each digit or group refers to a part of the design or manufacture. You can check your VIN history online, and a lot of surface information is free.

Why check a VIN Number?

You’d need to verify a VIN if you wanted any of the above information, but it can also provide history on your car. You have to record VINs each time a vehicle is:

  • sold
  • recalled
  • in an accident
  • listed as a lemon

A complete VIN history can give you an idea of a vehicle’s history of maintenance and ownership. It’s rare, and standardized VINs have made it rarer, it can tell you if you have a stolen vehicle on your hands.

The most important reason for a VIN history is to track any past accidents. A lot of the time, issues with a car date back to an accident that occurred before you owned it. In those instances, getting a damage description can help work out what needs fixing.

You may also find other sorts of damage listed on the VIN history, like flooding. Or, you’ll find out if a vehicle was ever listed for sale as salvage.

Another reason you might need to check your VIN is if you have a VIN Verification Check. When do you need VIN verification? This will differ between states, but the DMV requires proof they can register your car. You can click here for more information about these checks.

When & How to Verify a VIN Number Made Easy

So, there you have it! Now you know when and how to verify a VIN, you won’t get caught out.
You must know what your VIN is, and where you can locate it. If you need to register a car with the DMV, it’s information you’ll have to provide. A quick check online could also tell you a wealth of knowledge about your vehicle.
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