A quick and easy online VIN number check will be able to identify a vehicle that has been stolen, damaged in an accident, have a mileage discrepancy, has been written off, is high risk, had been scrapped, has an outstanding finance, is scrapped, or has a mileage discrepancy. Most would be willing to pay for a service this valuable, but you can check VIN numbers for free. Read on to find out more about what VIN numbers mean, how they can help prevent theft, and what they can tell buyers about the history of the used vehicle they’re considering purchasing.

What is a VIN number?

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a sequence of 17 letters (for model year 1981 and up) and numbers that automobile manufacturers allocate to a single vehicle. The VIN reveals several important things about a vehicle, including the type of airbags it has, the country of origin, the model year, engine size, trim level and more. Here’s a quick breakdown of the VIN number – Numbers 1 through 3 constitute the World Manufacturer Identifier; Numbers 4 through 9 constitute the Vehicle Descriptor Section; Numbers 10 through 17 constitute the Vehicle Identifier Section.

Why do VIN Numbers Exist?

Think of the vehicle identification number as a fingerprint for the vehicle in question. Using the VIN number, you can run a check that will provide invaluable information that includes reporting ownership changes, help track a history of problems and as mentioned above, and can deter theft. These important clues into the background of the vehicle protect consumers from potential problems.

How to Find Your Vehicle’s VIN Number

You can find the vehicle’s VIN number in a few different places, both on and off the vehicle itself. The VIN can be found in front of the steering wheel, on the lower left corner on the dashboard, inside the door jam on the driver side, underneath the spare tire, in front of the engine block and in the front of the car frame. You’ll also find the VIN number in the owner’s manual and on the title and registration.

Checking VIN Numbers for Free

There are several online services that check VIN numbers for free.  Some websites provide basic details at no charge or provide a limited amount of searches. NICB’s VINCheck is a free service that is provided to the public. The service is offered by NICB member insurance companies. To execute a search, all you need to do is provide the VIN number. With this free VIN search service, you can perform five searches within a 24-hour period.

Comprehensive VIN Number Searches

More comprehensive “search VIN numbers for free” services include sites like AutoCheck (a part of Experian) and Carfax. Both of these companies are well-known options. VIN searches are particularly important if you’re considering purchasing a vehicle through eBay or Craigslist because there’s no dealership involved (dealerships often provide free access to VIN search reports).

It’s important to know the history of any vehicle you are purchasing. If you find that your vehicle has a history and would like a thorough inspection, give us a call.

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