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How to Check if a VIN Number is Correct

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How can you tell if a VIN number is correct? A Vehicle Identification Number of every vehicle is as unique as the human fingerprint just like a driver’s license number it is specifically assigned to every vehicle.


In the US, citizens are identified via a special number called Social Security Number( SSN) Likewise, the VIN number, when decoded, can provide massive insights into the history of every used vehicle.


When a correct VIN number has been decoded, the following information is acquired: Accident records, theft records, true mileage, flood damage records, etc.

Getting a detailed vehicle history report becomes difficult when a wrong VIN number is used to conduct a search. So, how do you know if a VIN number is correct?

 This article  will discuss & reveal the answer to this question.

What is a valid VIN?

A VIN is said to be valid if follows the content and structure as outlined by the International Standard Organization in ISO-3779

In our guide on how to decode VIN offline, we have listed the various components of the VIN. Please refer to this guide and learn more about how to decode VIN online and offline.

The validity of a VIN is very important if it must be decoded in an online VIN decoding engine.

Decoding a valid VIN is the surest and safest way of getting to know the true identity of any vehicle, especially used cars.

How to Check for a Valid Car VIN Number

For checking the validity of the VIN number following steps should be followed:

Find the VIN number

check VIN online

One way of getting the correct VIN number is by looking at the right places.

Ensure you have got the VIN right from the following places: the car manual, driver’s door jamb, windshield, or the car dashboard. 

If you are still not certain of the validity of the VIN you can then try the next step.

Decode the VIN offline

The VIN has a unique structure, for example, a VIN with 16 digits is likely going to be wrong because the VIN should be a 17-digit alphanumeric code.

In the recent past, we have provided an article explaining how you can check the validity of your VIN by decoding the VIN offline.

Check to see if the VIN is structured correctly.

Use the VIN lookup tool

This is one of the most accurate ways of checking if a VIN number is correct or not. The Detailed Vehicle History VIN lookup tool will let you know if you have entered an incorrect VIN or not.

Here is how you can run a VIN check.

Use the Detailed Vehicle History (DVH) application

check if VIN number is valid

With this, you can check the validity of any VIN number.

When released, simply download the application, as it offers you a way to access vehicle information for free.

You can get the following information for free: trim, make, model and year.

Detailed Vehicle History is a leading provider of vehicle history reports, providing 100% accurate and up-to-date information regarding any used vehicle.

Use our top-notch VIN check or license plate lookup service and verify the history of a vehicle you are interested in.


Do VIN numbers expire?

No, VIN numbers do not expire, instead, stand to be the unique identifier for every vehicle throughout the lifespan of the vehicle.

They are one and the same- the VIN number is usually stamped to the chassis of the car and is fixed to that model in question.

The VIN number is also known as the chassis number.


Why is it saying my VIN is invalid?

While decoding a VIN you might encounter this error message for the following reasons:

How to Correct a VIN Number on Title

decode VIN offline

It is not possible to have a wrong VIN number on your vehicle, but it is possible to have a wrong VIN number on your car’s paperwork.

If this happens, contact the dealership right away, and run a VIN check with us to confirm if the vehicle was a stolen vehicle.

The dealership will surely re-do the paperwork and file an application to effect the corrected title  on your behalf to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) 

What to do if my used car has a different VIN number on the title

If the VIN number on your vehicle does not match with VIN on the paperwork, this can easily be corrected on brand new vehicles.

But this is not usually the case with used cars, as this is a serious complication. 

There are chances that there were errors in the title of the car in the past and the previous owner did not correct it.

It could also be that the car was stolen, for a used vehicle a vehicle history report can help you to confirm if the vehicle was stolen or not.

It is usually advised that you carry out all necessary investigations on a used car before committing your money to it.

The DMV can help track down where and when the original issue with the title occurred and how to get it fixed.

If it was a stolen vehicle they can help you find the culprit and apprehend them.

It may be difficult to get a refund. To avoid all of these pitfalls, you need to ensure from the onset before buying any car that you have a correct VIN number, a VIN will also help you see the true nature and history of any used vehicle.


As the image below illustrates, when you use our service you will get the following information for free

The year, model, make and trim of the vehicle in question



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