Depending on the state motor vehicle agency, our Vehicle search may return information including Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), Year of Manufacture, Model, Engine, Vehicle Equipment, Size, and Mileage.

What is a VIN Number?

Car companies designate every new vehicle with a unique vehicle identification number or VIN. The VIN is like an SSN for a car—it's a 17-digit sequence that tells you where and when the car was made and provides fundamental data about car style, engine volume, and trim.

Government agencies and individual businesses use the VIN to keep track of events in the vehicle's history. Vehicle certification, protection recalls, and collision reports are all tied to the vehicle credentials number; a VIN lookup may inform the vehicle owner.

If you're purchasing or exchanging a used car, it's a good idea to understand how a VIN search operates and the type of data it might reveal.

Already own a vehicle? Run a VIN lookup to track your car's estimated value over time and check on any safety recalls.

Where is the VIN on a vehicle?

On the latest passenger cars, the VIN is on the front of the driver's-side dashboard. That way, you can quickly read it from the outside of the vehicle: Look below the right corner of the windshield for the thin metal plate imprinted with the VIN sequence.

If the VIN sequence isn't on the dashboard, it's usually on a sticker on the edge of the driver's door. The VIN is on the engine block's front or the front end of the vehicle's frame on older cars.

If you can't find the VIN, check the title, registration, or insurance card. The VIN will be on these documents.

How to decode a VIN?

VINs had the 17-digit format in 1981; older cars also have VINs, but the designs vary. Once you know how to interpret a VIN, the system works on vehicles with the 1980 or newer model year.

The 17-digit VIN has three distinct components: the world manufacturer identifier, the vehicle descriptor region, and the vehicle identifier sector. The primary three digits of the VIN are the manufacturer's name. The first set of numbers represents the country, the second indicates the domain and company, and the third shows the division or league.

To start, digits four through nine represent the vehicle descriptor sector, representing the model, body style, transmission, engine model, and other vehicle characteristics. The ninth number in this section is a "check" digit, which confirms the real VIN sequence.

The digits 10 through 17 represent the vehicle identity. The 10th digit indicates the year the manufacturer built the model. The letter A denotes 1980, the letter B means 1981, and so on until 2001, when the year designation switches to numbers. The model year 2001 is defined by the number one, and every other number means the next model year until 2009 is when it reverts to the letter A for the 2010 model year. The year designator changes to a numerical sequence again in 2031.

The alphabetical letters O and Z and the number 0 are not applicable in VINs. The 11th digit shows the particular plant where the vehicle used to be manufactured; each automaker has its industry codes. Digits 12 through 17 are the car's serial number. This series isn't standardized, so each automaker establishes its own numbering system. Some companies use this number to reveal the order in which the car rolled off the assembly line. For instance, under this system, the 500th car would have the digits 00500 in the serial number sector.

VIN Country Codes

What can a VIN search provide?

Consumers can get necessary vehicle information by knowing how to read a VIN, but a VIN lookup could provide essential details you may otherwise not know. State offices and auto business partners keep extensive vehicle databases recording notable events in the vehicle's lifespan that may impact its value and dependability.

For instance, a VIN search may expose:

  • Whether the vehicle was affected in misfortune and the extent of the destruction
  • If the automobile was ever listed in a salvage sale or reported as hijacked
  • A comprehensive list of standard accessories
  • Sales listing archives, including cost and pictures of the vehicle
  • Current market price based on similar vehicle sales
  • Estimated ownership payments over the next five years based on expected devaluation, upkeep, fuel protection, and servicing costs.
  • This knowledge could help you make a more versed judgment when it's the best time to purchase or sell a car.

What can I do with a VIN lookup?

With a VIN lookup report, you don't have to rely only on the seller's information about a vehicle as your only root of knowledge. A VIN search could inform you of any undisclosed issues. Having more insight into a car's potential difficulties may put you in a better spot to barter on cost and sale terms.

If you own an automobile, running a VIN lookup may present important alerts to safety discharges and warranty coverage and help you stay ahead of vital repairs and maintenance that could potentially put you and your family at risk. You'll also be able to watch your car's worth, so you will know the right moment to sell or trade it.