Buying a used car can prove to be time-consuming. After all, you cannot just go and purchase the first vehicle you see. Instead, you have to conduct research, find the right vehicle for you, inspect its features and decide whether it meets all your requirements.
However, the most important thing you have to do is learn about its history, and the best way to do that is to check its VIN number. In the following article, we will tell you why you should never skip this step, but also provide you with a few tips on how to do it for free.
What is the VIN number?
First of all, let us explain what this code actually is. Basically, it is a unique code of every vehicle. It includes 17 characters (both capital letters and numbers). Keep in mind that two vehicles cannot share the same VIN code, so when you obtain one for the car you are thinking about buying, you will be presented with information regarding that specific vehicle.
This code will provide you with the information regarding the previous owners, if the car has been in an accident in the past and whether it was damaged, has it been regularly maintained, etc. In a nutshell, you will understand whether the car is worth the investment, which is why you should always look up the VIN number before making the purchase.
This code looks like a bunch of numbers and letters, but the truth is that each character has a story to tell. If you were to try to decode it, you would learn its country of origin and manufacturer and their security code, the description of the vehicle, as well as information regarding the safety and type of the engine, and the final numbers are plant identifier and a serial number.
Where to find the VIN number?
Before we introduce you to different methods you can implement in the VIN number search, first, we have to tell you where you can find it. The dashboard on the driver’s side should have the code imprinted, so that’s where you should look. It is quite visible if you stand outside the car and look at the corner of the dashboard. If you cannot see it, you should inspect the driver’s side door frame since there is usually a sticker with the number on it. Finally, you should ask the seller to provide you with the registration certificate and look for the code in this document.
We have one more piece of advice for you. Even though you are probably looking for a used car online, when it comes to the VIN number, you should see it for yourself. Unfortunately, you can easily be tricked online nowadays, so the best way to protect your interest is to go and look for the code yourself.
How to check it?
Now, we have reached the main point of this article – How to check the number? As you can assume, there are multiple sources, but we will tell you only about the ones that are free of charge. Make sure not to skip this step. We understand that you are eager to drive your new car as soon as possible, but still, it is crucial to be responsible.
National Insurance Crime Bureau
This is pretty much a source that people think of almost immediately. Here, you will learn whether the vehicle was reported as stolen or salvaged by an insurance company. The search tool they offer is fairly simple. All you have to do is type in the code, agree to the website’s terms and conditions, and click on the “Search VIN” button. You will be presented with the vehicle’s history in no time, just keep in mind that you are restricted to five searches within the 24-hour period.
Even though the previous source will tell you some basic information, oftentimes, it is not enough, which is why iSeeCars is also popular. This website will provide you with more details regarding the car’s history as well as its price. You will receive data regarding price history and its analysis, current market value, estimated depreciation, and also tips on the best time to buy and sell it.
In addition, you can also get a CarFax report via this website, although this service is not free. Still, it is completely worth the money since you will get a more comprehensive description.
This is another popular platform future vehicle owners use to gather crucial information. It is very easy to navigate the website, and you will receive all the data you need just by simply inputting the VIN number and hitting the Research button.
Besides the history, this website will present you with the data regarding the manufacturer warranties and their expiration date, but also current recall info, fuel economy, and the like.
If you want to protect yourself and are looking for ways to conduct a free VIN number check, our advice is to use vinreport.io. As you can assume by now, the first reason why you should opt for this platform is the fact that it is free. Secondly, you will obtain data such as theft and accident records, manufacturer recalls, mileage, and technical data, which include the make and model, the year, as well as other information like the tank size, engine details, and so on.
As a future car owner, it is your job to conduct a thorough investigation of the vehicle before purchasing it. Well, this can take some time since you will have to visit numerous websites to gather all the information. However, lemon checks is a platform where you can get most of the required data in just a few minutes. Upon entering the VIN number, you will receive a report that includes full title history, records of potential accidents that the car was involved in. You will also learn about the potential flood damage, odometer rollbacks, undisclosed liens, etc.