Why you Should do Vin Number Check Before Making A Purchase
Learning how to do a VIN number check is essential if you’re planning to buy a used car, especially from a private party. There are many risk factors involved, and neglecting to check vehicle history to save a few bucks could wind up costing a fortune if you buy a lemon in need of expensive repairs.
You could also wind up paying too much for the vehicle if the true value has been inflated by the seller. A VIN number check produces a vehicle history report, which could reveal serious problems including odometer rollback, theft, lemon status, major collision, reconstruction, water and fire damage, and other pitfalls. A VIN lookup combined with checking the blue book value is the best way to avoid problems and find the best price.
A vehicle history report also documents previous DMV transactions, title transfers, past owners, and similar records useful for determining the actual value of the vehicle and if it’s wise to make the purchase or move on. Whether you’re buying a vehicle from a dealer, or through a private seller, you must complete a VIN number check. A seller could hide vehicle history to get the sale, or they might not even know anything about history at all.
What is a VIN Number?
A VIN number is a code that identifies a unique automobile. It’s like the social security number for your car.
Where To Find The Number For A VIN Number Check
In order to complete a VIN number check, write down the entire 17 digit figure, which is comprised of both numbers and letters. A VIN number is usually located on the dashboard in the far left corner of the driver’s side of the vehicle. The number is usually engraved into the dashboard, on a sticker, or on a label fastened to the surface.
You might also find the VIN number on the side of an opened car door, inside the trunk, near the engine, the inside of the window, or on the passenger side of the dashboard. Unfortunately, you cannot complete a VIN number check for vehicles built prior to 1981, because this is the year the number first came into use.
VIN Number Check For Motorcycles
A VIN lookup is not only used for cars but also motorcycles. The VIN number for a bike is usually 17 digits long, but occasionally only 11 digits. The numbers began to accompany bikes in 1950, so you can complete a VIN check for older bikes. The VIN number is usually printed on a metal plate found on the frame of the engine.
How to do a Vin Number Check and is it really free?
Check out websites advertising a free VIN number check and see what they offer. There are DMV websites that allow a free car history report, but you’re probably only going to receive a partial report and not the complete history. The DMV sites are good because they connect directly to national databases which contain more information.
In most cases, paying for a quality VIN number search is your best bet because you’re going to receive the most information. A free car history report won’t give you much information. Prices to use a VIN lookup service range from $30 – $40, which is actually very reasonable compared to similar types of services. Paying $30 is a wise investment if it can prevent serious financial problems in the future.
Hire a trusted certified mechanic to inspect a vehicle, in addition to using a VIN number check. Do not use the mechanic at the dealership. A good mechanic friend should be happy to pop open the hood and take a look at the parts, as well as complete a test drive.