What Is a VIN?
A VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) is a specific code given to each vehicle at the point of manufacture. Just like the human fingerprint, the VIN number is used to differentiate a vehicle from another and it lives with the vehicle throughout its lifespan. So, no two vehicles have identical VIN numbers. The VIN is also referred to as the chassis or the serial number of a vehicle.
Where to find a VIN?
Depending on the type of vehicle, the VIN number can be found at several different locations of a car, motorcycle, and ATV.
The VIN number can be found in the following positions of a car:
- The left-hand side of the dashboard, near the windshield.
- On the sticker placed on the driver’s door. This is known as the Monroney label or window sticker.
- In front of the engine block.
The VIN number can be found in the following position of a bike:
- The location is different on a bike for different manufacturers. Ideally, the VIN can either be located on the steering neck or by tuning the bike’s handle (to the left).
- The VIN can also be located near the bike’s motor.
The ATV VIN location varies by manufacturer but most often, it is fixed on the frame, on the left side of the ATV, below the shifter on an open area.
Other locations include:
- Close to the left wheel (inside the left wheel well by the radiator or behind the left wheel well on the frame)
- On the left side of the frame down by the engine
- Imprint on the frame under the tail section
- through the slit in the plastic hood.
The VIN number can also be found on various paperwork which includes:
- Owner’s manual
- Insurance paperwork
- Vehicle registration card
- Police reports
- Reports from repair shops
Decoding the characters of a VIN
A VIN is made up of 17 characters with each character decoding for a specific information about the car. A typical example of a VIN is JTHBK1EG4A2399966. Now, let’s take a walk through the information represented by each or group of the characters.
- 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.
Why is the VIN Important?
A VIN number is an important tool when it comes to unlocking the full records about a vehicle’s past. It allows you to discover important details about the vehicle and its history. This unique chassis number is used to track a given vehicle from the point of sale to the first owner and through its entire life. All incidents, readings, services, and repairs are being stored against the VIN number.
Furthermore, auto manufacturers use the VIN to issue recalls while auto shops use the VIN to record vehicle service visits. Government agencies also use the VIN to detect vehicles when they’re registered, sold, or even stolen.
What information can you get by Decoding a VIN?
By entering the VIN into our VIN decoder, several important records about the vehicle can be known. When buying any vehicle, it is best to check the vehicle’s history before committing to a purchase. Oftentimes, vehicles that are accidented have salvage titles and previous damages that go unreported. Some vehicles are even sold at Auctions as damaged vehicles.
Some of the information you get by using our VIN lookup includes the following:
- The number of owners
- Mileage history
- Accident history
- Best times to buy and sell
- Vehicle specifications
- Market value
- Warranty status
- Title checks including salvage title
- Police reports
- Auction photos and history
- Service and repair history
- Loan and Lien Records
- Safety rating
- Insurance data
- Inspection Records
How to check the VIN Number for recalls?
The VIN decoder tool can provide important information about the recalls issued by the manufacturer in regards to specific models. These recall checks might be related to safety features to eradicate an existing issue in the vehicle. The recall could also be issued to improve the current safety standard in a vehicle to comply with safety regulations. Manufacturers also offer free repairs and upgrades to comply with safety and emission regulations under recalls.
The statute of limitations for all no-charge recalls is 10 years from the original sale date of the vehicle. Following this 10-year period, the owner might need to pay for repair or replacement of any damaged part that was covered previously under the issued recall.
How to check if a vehicle has been to an auction?
Our VIN check service provides all the details of previous auctions including photos of the vehicle. We are the only VIN report providers that present auction data and photos as part of the vehicle history report. The VIN report not only includes auction data and photos but that too on 60% less cost than other VIN history report tools. You can also learn the price paid in an auction in US Dollars. Simply enter the VIN number to check that the vehicle has any previous auction details or not.