What’s a VIN lookup?
In 1954, the US government asked the US car manufacturers to stamp every vehicle with a unique ID and each producer had its own numbering system. This changed in 1981 as the Automobile Manufacturers Association and the United States Department of Transportation created a new, consistent standard called the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) formed of 17 digits organized in different sequences that had separate meanings. The unified system was published in the US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Chapter V, Part 565.
Also known as a VIN check, a VIN lookup is a search method that uses the VIN number to find out more information about a given car, including liens, ownership, year, make, model and more. A VIN lookup:
- helps second-hand car buyers to avoid purchasing a highly damaged car;
- helps car shops (when changing car parts);
- helps law enforcementwith identifying or tracking stolen vehicles;
- helps insurance companies to combat insurance theft or fraud.
The VIN number appears on the Vehicle title and registration, as well as on the Insurance card/policy or on the car itself (check the driver's side of the dashboard).
Our VIN Lookup Report Could Include
View inspection checklists, possible defects, and enough data to identify lemon cars.
Who owned the vehicle and for how long, plus registration data (date, state, city).
Check past and current recalls issued by the manufacturer to secure a safe vehicle operation.
A list of acar’s road collisions (dates, level of damages, affected/changed car parts).
Car sales records include buying price or the issuing bank (for car-loan purchases).
How to Decode a VIN number?
The VIN number is unique (no two vehicles can share the same VIN) and it’s divided into several sections. Each sequence refers to a meaningful parameter such as country of origin, year of production, factory, maker, engine, model type, restraint types, transmission, trim, and color.
For instance, Digit 1 indicates the country of origin, with 1, 4 and 5 for the US, 3 for Mexico and 2 for Canada. The Society of Automotive Engineers assigns Digit 2 and 3 based on countries and manufacturers, with Digit 2 indicating the manufacturer, for instance: C (Chrysler), B (BMW), G (General Motors). Digit 3 combined with the first two could identify the type of vehicle: car, SUV, truck, van.
Use the basic information below to learn how a VIN check differentiates vehicles:
|Digits 1-3||Represent the World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI)|
|Digits 4-8||Are the Vehicle Descriptors (model, body type, engine)|
|Digit 9||Unique check digit (security code for authenticity)|
|Digits 10-17||Indicate the Vehicle Identification Section (VIS)|
|Digit 11||The Manufacturer’s Plant Code|
|Digits 12-17||Are sequential Production Numbers|
VIN Lookup FAQs
What is a VIN number?
A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is the unique 17-digitcode of capital numbers and letters that identifies a car. Just like fingerprints, DNA or the Social Security Number, VIN provides information about each car's unique profile and specifications, including engine size, year, make, model plus manufacturing details such as the factory and the country where the car was made. A VIN lookup is the easiest way to decode a VIN.
Why does a VIN matter?
A wide range of parties, including buyers of pre-owned cars, service shops, the police, and insurance companies useonline VIN lookup tools to track safety recalls (issued by manufacturers),know a car’s service and accident history records, registrations, check ownership history, warranty claims, thefts, and insurance coverage.
Can I run a VIN number for free?
Just pop in your car's VIN digits in the VIN check search boxes available on the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) website or VINLookup.com and press Enter. Within seconds, the VIN lookup tool will give you information on the vehicle, sourced from thousands of public databases.
How can I check a car’s history for free?
Step 1. Go online to websites likeVINLookup.com or theNational Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) website. Step 2. Find their VIN lookup tool page. Step 3. Type the 17 digits of the VIN you want to check in the search box. Step 4. Press the “Search”/“Find” button and that’s it. After a short wait, the vehicle’s details will be displayed on your screen.
How do I look up a VIN number?
Get your car VIN number on the post of the driver's side door or the front of the dashboard and look it up online by using the “VIN check” or “VIN lookup” tools provided by websites like the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)or VINLookup.com. Simply insert the 17 digits into the search box and press Enter. Note that for cars manufactured before 1981, the number of digits might be different than 17.
Can I decode a VIN on VINLookup.com?
Our VIN lookup tool will automatically decode any VIN number for you.
Can I price a car on VINLookup.com?
The vehicle history report generated through our VIN Lookup tool makes it easy to get a rough estimate of a car’s worth. However, this is a free service. We don’t guarantee 100% data accuracy as data originates from different public databases and is not verified. We recommend using theVIN Check Report information just as astarting point. For an official and professional vehicle valuation, seek further expert advice.