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Why Every Car Buyer Must Run a VIN Check

For many Americans, a second-hand car is a more practical and affordable choice than a brand-new vehicle. You will save on insurance, and your purchase will lose less of its value in the long term. On the flip side, shopping in the secondary market requires caution. Our tips will help you check the history of any car before buying it.

Dishonest sellers try to conceal unfavorable information like accidents or recalls. A quick FAXVIN check will reveal any suspicious details or give you peace of mind. You are just a few clicks away from getting a comprehensive report. Here is how VINs work and where to find them.

Why Every Car Buyer Must Run a VIN Check

How VINs Work

Every vehicle produced in the US since 1981, be it a passenger car, a motorbike, or an RV, has a unique identifier. No two VINs (vehicle identification numbers) can be the same. This identifier is stamped on non-removable parts, and it is also included in all accompanying documents. Any mismatches raise alarm bells.

  • VINs follow the same pattern: 17 digits and numerals.
  • The sequence never includes I, O, or Q.
  • Every character in the sequence signifies a piece of information, such as model year, model, and country of origin.
  • This standard was introduced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 1981.
  • VINs on vehicles produced from 1954 to 1981 differ.

Where to Find VIN

The identifiers are normally stamped on the interior to prevent damage. In North America, they are usually found near the base of the windshield on the dashboard on the driver’s side. Another common location is the door jamb. If the number is not there, your best bet is to ask the manufacturer.

How to Check

The easiest way to run a check is via a specialized website. Just enter the identifier in the corresponding field and download your report. Alternatively, you could visit your local DMV office or dealership.

Online services include VIN decoders and VIN-based history checks. The first tool provides the full specs by deciphering the number. You will learn about the assembly plant, the model year, the size and type of engine, etc. To investigate the history of a vehicle, get a full report.

Why Every Car Buyer Must Run a VIN Check

What a Full Report Includes

A history report covers all major events concerning condition and ownership. In addition to vehicle specs, you will see:

  • Accidents
  • Last Odometer Readings
  • Manufacturer recalls
  • Warranty returns
  • Lien & Repossessions
  • Theft
  • Damage from the elements
  • Mileage rollback
  • History of service, inspection, and registration
  • Police or taxi use

Based on the report, you may discover that the car you want is a reconstructed vehicle or a gray-market car imported from abroad. It may be a salvage vehicle, which means that it was damaged so badly that the insurer paid a claim.

To Conclude

Even when a second-hand car looks perfect, you should still verify its background. Run an online VIN check to see if the seller can be trusted. It will only take a few minutes!


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