There is an increasing need for individual buyers, sellers and car dealers to learn how to decode VIN.
This is even more important now as we live in an era when most people choose to buy a used car instead of a new one, due to the economic advantage attached.
The acronym VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number, also known as chassis number.
The VIN is a unique alphanumeric code always assigned to every vehicle by the manufacturer.
Decoding a VIN means revealing the wealth of information enclosed in the alphanumeric code.
A picture showing the VIN (17 digit alphanumeric code)
Why Decode VIN?
Well, decoding a VIN provides massive insights on the true nature of the vehicle.
Information enclosed in a VIN includes the following:
- Country of make
- Vehicle type
- Body type
- Check digit
- Model year
- Plant sequential number
More to that, using the Detailed Vehicle History tool for VIN decoding can give even more valuable insights, as it provides a detailed history report of the vehicle.
When you decode your VIN online you can get to know the accident records, theft records, loan records, see auction images and other valuable information about the vehicle.
How To Decode A VIN Offline
Decoding a VIN offline involves understanding the various components of any VIN, without running it through an automated VIN decoder, or checking out the VIN online.
A VIN is made up of 17 characters with each character encoded for a specific information about the car.
An example of a VIN is 1HGBH41JXMN109186. Now let’s look at what each character stands for, that is decode the VIN.
First character: This represents the country where the vehicle was manufactured.
Second character: This represents the manufacturer’s name.
Third character: With this character, you can find out the vehicle’s type or division. The first three digits of a VIN number are known as the World Manufacturer Identifier or WMI.
Fourth to eighth character: This sequence of characters tells you about a vehicle’s engine size and type, vehicle brand, model, series, and body style.
Ninth character: The ninth character provides you with the security check digit. This single digit is used to verify the accuracy of the VIN number.
The fourth to ninth digits are known as the Vehicle Descriptor Section or VDS.
Tenth character: This character represents a vehicle’s model year.
Eleventh character: This character tells you of the assembly plant where a car was produced.
Twelfth to seventeenth character: This sequence of characters represents a vehicle’s serial number. These six digits make every single vehicle in the world different from the other.
The tenth through seventeenth digits is known as the Vehicle Identification Section or VIS.
The above images explains the various components of a VIN
Here are further examples on the meaning of the various characters of a VIN, in this case we are using 3 VINs as examples.
MULTIPURPOSE PASSENGER VEHICLE (MPV)
MULTIPURPOSE PASSENGER VEHICLE (MPV)
Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV)
CAMBRIDGE, ONTARIO, CANADA
Toyota Motor Corp., TAHARA PLANT, TOYOTA CITY, AICHI, JAPAN
LINCOLN, ALABAMA, UNITED STATES (USA)
12th – 17th
Understanding The VIN's 10th Character
The 10th character of the VIN explains the year the vehicle was made.
The table below will help you decode the year of manufacture for any VIN.
Armed with this information you can now understand the components of any VIN regardless of how strange it may look initially.
Decoding A VIN Online
In 2018, Detailed Vehicle History developed a cutting edge technology that is able to access multiple database and gather relevant information about any vehicle using the VIN.
Right here you can input your VIN or chasis number in our Vehicle History tool and get the scores of relevant information about the vehicle.
The video below explains how decoding a VIN via a VIN check could be done using the Detailed Vehicle History tool.
What You Get When You Decode VIN Online
You can access the number of times a title was issued – this often indicates a new car owner. The report also reveals the dates of the current state of the title and the last title.
This is important as it helps to avoid buying a stolen vehicle or being defrauded.
Our vehicle history report can specify the type and degree of damage a vehicle was involved in. This is due to the wealth of data we collect from insurance companies, law enforcement agencies, motor vehicle departments and auto repair centers. A vehicle may be branded salvage, junk, flood, collision etc.
Auction Photos and History
The ability of our vehicle history report to provide auction photos and history of a vehicle when available is one of the unique selling points of our product over our competitors.
Auction history reveals if a vehicle has been involved in an accident before repair and also provides a firsthand information about the severity of the accident.
Each auction report includes 10+ photos of the exterior( front, back and two sides), interior, and engine of the vehicle.
Sometimes dishonest auto dealers, in an attempt to sell off a car, will roll back the odometer to prove to their customers that a vehicle has low mileage.
However, a vehicle history report is able to show the last known and accurate odometer reading for the vehicle.
This can actually be compared with the reading on the vehicle’s dashboard so as to know if there was an odometer rollback.
Total Loss History
Vehicles that have been deemed “total loss” due to accidents or other damages, like fire, flood hail, can be cleaned up and sold again. Our vehicle history report can show if a second hand vehicle that you want to buy has been branded “total loss”.
Our vehicle history report can show if a vehicle has one or more recalls.
A safety recall is issued whenever the NHTSA (National Traffic Safety Administration) declares a vehicle unsafe to drive due to a defect in some or a part of the vehicle.
When enough defects occur on the vehicle, the NHTSA will request the manufacturer to issue a recall so the defect can be fixed. You can learn more about vehicle recalls and also check if your vehicle has open recall.
Loan & Lien Verification
Loan and lien can impact the worth of a vehicle. Therefore, it’s very necessary to conduct a loan and lien verification. Doing this on time would help the buyer to negotiate a better deal on the vehicle.
Our vehicle history report can verify if a vehicle has a loan and lien history. If yes, the title transfer of ownership to the new owner will require the clearance of all charges.
Otherwise, the title will remain with the lender party until all unpaid dues are cleared though the ownership might still be gained.
Best Time to Trade
Our vehicle history report offers detailed data about a vehicle based on the market analysis so both the buyer and seller can find the best time to buy and sell respectively.
The market value estimates the retail value of a vehicle based on the price that similar vehicles across the United States have sold for in recent months.
Our vehicle history report can provide the market value calculation using an advanced tool that considers the current mileage and other data to determine the true and up-to-date market value.
The ability of our systems to continuously aggregate and store millions of vehicle sales records each month from industry partners, which include both private party sales and dealer sales across all the states in the United States, gives us an insight on the average market prices of vehicles for sale across the country and how these market prices change over time.
Our market value tool works by giving an estimate on the current market value of a vehicle based on sales of vehicles with a similar year, make, model, and trim.
Our vehicle history report can reveal the type of warranty coverage, the current status information and if the vehicle is still under or out of warranty.
Law enforcement reports related to a vehicle can impact the current worth and resale value. Our vehicle history report can reveal a vehicle’s past vital information and reports relating to the law enforcement agencies.
Our vehicle history report can reveal a vehicle’s insurance claims’ details. Having access to this vital details can help to make an informed decision about the resale value of a vehicle.
Records of the annual safety checks and emission inspections can be revealed by our vehicle history report. These checks and inspections are significant and must be completed to avoid penalties based on local legislation.
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