Enter a VIN to find reports.
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) - Your Car's Unique Identity
Every US car and light truck model year 1981 or later has a unique 17-character VIN number.
A VIN has many important uses, including unlocking important information about a vehicle's history.
VINs also have many other important uses. For example, service shops use VINs to identify the engine, transmission and brake systems installed by manufacturers so that they can properly service vehicles. Law enforcement agencies use VINs to identify and recover stolen cars and car parts. Auto manufacturers use VINs when they resolve safety recalls.
Locating the VIN
The VIN is located in a number of places on a car, but most commonly on the dashboard (you can see it through the windshield) and the driver's side door jamb sticker. On some vehicles the VIN is also placed on the engine, hood, and other parts. The VIN may also appear on car titles, insurance policies, service records and police reports for the vehicle.
Vehicle History Information From VINs
Characters within a VIN indicate a vehicle's year, make, model, where it was manufactured, and more. VIN decoding is the process of deciphering these details.
The VIN is also used to access the CARFAX Vehicle History Report. Every CARFAX Report contains important information that can impact your decision about a used vehicle through a detailed VIN # check. Through this VIN search, some types of information included in CARFAX Reports include:
- Vehicle registration
- Title information, including salvaged or junked titles
- Odometer readings
- Lemon history
- Total loss accident history
- Frame/structural damage
- Accident indicators, such as airbag deployments
- Service and repair information
- Vehicle usage (taxi, rental, lease, etc.)
- Recall information
Using VINs in the Car Buying Process
Especially when dealing with used cars imported from the United States, there are many things a seller/importer may not disclose to you, such as a salvage title, flood damage or an odometer rollback. Any of these and other issues can affect the safety, performance and even value of a used car.
To make it more difficult for you to learn a vehicle's history, crooked sellers may list the wrong VIN in an online vehicle posting or may not be willing to provide the VIN at all. Scam artists may also alter the vehicle's title documents to hide potential problems.
Use these tips to protect yourself from fraud as you shop for a used car:
Get the VIN from the seller or off of the vehicle itself. If the seller refuses to disclose the VIN, that could be a sign that they do not want you to learn the car's history.
Get the vehicle's history. Ask the seller for a CARFAX Vehicle History Report. If the seller does not provide it, use the VIN to purchase a CARFAX Report at www.carfax.eu. Confirm the vehicle's identity. Physically match the VIN provided by the seller to the VINs on the vehicle, the vehicle's title documents, and the CARFAX Report. If any of the VINs do not match, you may want to walk away from the deal.