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How To Decode a VIN  Prior to understanding how VIN decoding works, it is important to know what it is all about. Vehicle Identification Numbers are unique codes given to each on-road vehicle in the United States. Characters within a VIN indicate a vehicle's year, make, model, where it was manufactured, and more. You can use our free VIN Decoder to find out exactly what each character in your car's VIN shows. Auto shops use VINs to service vehicles, identifying the engine, transmission and brake systems. This can help you decide if the car is right for you and uncover any potential safety issues.
The letters I, O, and Q are not used in VINs, at least from 1981 until today (and into the future).
The first 3 digits of the VIN are known as the "WMI", which is an acronym for "World Manufacturer Identifier". Tenth: The tenth digit is the year, which is amazingly helpful if you're in a junkyard or showing off to your friends.
In addition to VINs there are also a plethora of option codes located somewhere in the interior of every vehicle. The last thing worth noting is that some foreign car manufacturers switch around these VIN numbers slightly. Before purchasing any type of used vehicle it’s important to both find a VIN number conduct a VIN number lookup to research the history of the car, truck or motorcycle you are thinking about buying. With that in mind, today I’m going to write about how these numbers work, where to find a VIN number on a vehicle and how to use this information to conduct a VIN number lookup to retrieve a vehicle history report. Side note: If a vehicle was produced before 1981 then the VIN number will have between 11 and 17 characters (numbers or letters). The two easiest places to find a 17 digit truck or car VIN number is either in the front driver’s side dash (look for a metal strip) or front drivers side door jam by the door latch. Although the number might look a bit different depending on the make, model and year of the vehicle, here is an example of what one might look like. If you are having difficulty reading or finding the VIN number through the windshield or door jam then you can also check on the insurance card or vehicle title for this information.
When trying to find a VIN number on a motorcycle you will want to check out all sides of the steering head of the bike.
After you find the VIN number now all you need to do is utilize a VIN number lookup service like AutoCheck to retrieve the background information on a vehicle. I prefer to search VIN numbers using AutoCheck over other services like CarFax because they cost less, allow you to run unlimited reports over a 30 day period for one low price (essential when checking out multiple vehicles), and their reports are extremely accurate. This way, you can get the car history by VIN number before taking the time and gas to check out the car in person.
In closing, many people who are new to purchasing used cars simply don’t know what to look for when making a purchase.
My name is Tom, although most people know me as "Tom the Used Car Guy." I've been around the used car business since I was a kid understand how difficult it can be when you are searching for the perfect used car. In today's Internet age, the most important thing you can do is run a Vin Number lookup on a vehicle before deciding to purchase it or not. Swing through Southern states provided consumers free safety checks for vehicle recalls, child heatstroke prevention, tire inflation, and car seat installation. The VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) is a serial number used to identify an individual vehicle.  The VIN for each vehicle is unique. ALLDATA Support provides self-help articles and videos designed to save you time and get you back to work. Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. ALLDATA LLC (“ALLDATA”) makes available information, materials, and products on this Web site, subject to the following terms and conditions. Our goal is to give you the most up-to-date, accurate information about your state DMV's processes. Every CARFAX Report contains important information that can impact your decision about a used vehicle through a detailed VIN # check. VIN check, VIN number check, or VIN lookup, is a detailed document that provides vehicle information about the history of a particular car, boat, truck or RV.


Whether you're a private seller or a dealer, a vehicle history report can help you sell a vehicle. There are many companies that offer what they call a free VIN check vehicle history report where they search by using VIN search engine, but the information you receive is limited to basic things such as recalls and customer complaints. You will likely need a bill of sale form whenever you buy a vehicle from, or sell one to, another person.
I acknowledge that DMV.org is a privately-owned Web site that is not owned or operated by any state government agency. DMV.org is a privately owned website that is not owned or operated by any state government agency. From 1981, each new car is given a standardized 17-digit code, which includes a serial number. That encompasses the country of origin, the manufacturer, and the division that the vehicle is built for.
This doesn't necessarily mean the "make" of the car though, because companies like General Motors have many different divisions. In the case of General Motors, the division would be the more specific Buick, Pontiac, Oldsmobile or whatever it is. They include things like safety, engine size, body style, and the series that the vehicle is.
So if you have a special option,heavy-duty truck with the eight lug wheels, or a towing package, this is the digit that will tell you "Hey this vehicle has a special suspension and brake package." It might also reference a specific safety restraint package, like if the vehicle had a two vs. In the 1980's for example, General Motors built full size trucks that were C and K series along with and R and V series. So if the vehicle is a convertible, a two door, four door, or wagon, it is defined in these two digits.
You can easily figure out which years match up to which letters and which numbers with the simple handy dandy chart below. Long ago, they used to be actual printed pieces of paper, that were stuffed into the seat springs. On many Volkswagens for example, the 3rd through 8th digits are in a different order than the American brand cars and trucks. There you should be able to see a metal plate with information either engraved or printed on it. This means that all bikes with the same make should have the same 3 characters to start their VIN number.
Essentially all you will do is plug in the 17 character number and let the AutoCheck system do the rest. For example, I buy a lot of vehicles on craigslist and eBay that are located several hundred miles away from my location.
This is why learning how to find a VIN number on a vehicle and conduct a VIN number look up are important steps when it comes to the used car buying process. I created this website to share tips and advice that will help people make smart decisions when it comes to purchasing a used car. In the United States of America, criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.  Additionally, other countries may have other civil and criminal penalties that may apply. By accessing this site, you agree to the terms and conditions as outlined in this legal notice.
If you do not find the exact resolution you are looking for, then go for Original or higher resolution which may fits perfect to your desktop. The date you see here reflects the most recent time we've verified this information with your state DMV. Get a detailed vehicle history report from our nationwide database on your home or mobile device within seconds. In order to obtain a VHR to verify a car's history, you'll need to know your vehicle identification number (VIN). If the VHR is free of questionable content, what better way to gain the buyer's confidence?
If you want a vehicle's accident or lien history or a stolen vehicle check, you'll have to pay for that information. But they should have a manufacturer's serial number which can be used to register a bike with a local municipality or the national bike registry. Use the CARFAX search as one important tool, along with a vehicle inspection and test drive, to make a better decision about your next used car.


Before we go any further on this automotive journey, I think we need to briefly talk about redundancy. So if you were to go to a junkyard, this digit is really helpful for vehicles that had two different engines during the same year.
This doesn't often matter so much, unless you are talking about certain cars that have major followings.
This is normally not a super important number as far as buying auto parts goes, unless you have one of those vehicles that changed production specifications halfway through a production run.
In modern cars, it is usually a printed sticker in the glove compartment, console, or trunk.
Much like each person has a unique fingerprint, each car has a unique VIN number that can provide vital information about the real history of a vehicle. The next 6 characters will indicate certain characteristics of the bike and the last 8 characters provide a specific set of numbers and letters that are unique to only that motorcycle.
If you want to save yourself time and frustration then ask the seller of the vehicle to find the VIN number and provide it to you over the phone. Odds are that you wouldn’t want to deal with someone trying to withhold information from you in the first place.
You don’t have to be a mechanic when you know how to find a VIN number and use it to retrieve accurate vehicle history reports from your home computer.
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Typically companies offer either a free VIN Check, or a more complete paid VIN number lookup. Also, if there happens to be suspicious-looking information on the report, you can find out what it's all about and ease any concerns a customer might have. The formal VIN started in 1981 since before that there were different formats used by different manufacturers. A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is the 17-digit string of numbers that an automotive manufacturer assigns to a specific vehicle that it produces. In today's example, the tenth digit is "M", so you dance over to the handy dandy chart, and see that "M" is 1991.
So, you might have a vehicle that had different mirrors if it was built in April of 2004, than if it were built  in August of 2004.
When you combine the VIN number with the option codes, you get the entire genetic makeup of the vehicle from top to bottom. Typically the engine, vehicle series, body type, restraint system, and model are the ones to watch out for. The standardization of the numbers was done to get rid of chances of similar VIN’s appearing. You can find out a lot about your car or truck if you are able to read and decode its VIN number, and that's why we are going to show you how to do just that. Both of these trucks could have come with a 4.3 liter that was a Z series engine or a W series engine. If you have one of those vehicles, you need to know where it was in the production line, which is where these last six digits become important.
The country, make, check digit, year, plant, and serial number are usually in the same positions regardless of the vehicle manufacturer. The digits that are found on car VIN indicate the year the vehicle was manufactured, assembly point, country of origin, model as well as other important details that will prove helpful in its identification. This is great in a junkyard because you can walk up to a VIN number and say "Hey this is a VIN J, which means it's a 1988". Vehicle manufacturers could have used 8 digits, 10 digits, 25 digits, or really whatever they wanted.
So, to make America a better place, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put their foot down in 1981, and made all of the car manufacturers use 17 digits. It is called a check digit because the purpose of it is to check the rest of the VIN number for legitimacy. The 11th digit of the VIN number is the one that confirms the plant at which the vehicle was built.




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