Our Free VIN Decoder allows you to check any make, model

Simply enter any car VIN number
for free to view all the vehicle’s information

What is a 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 drivers 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.

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The Importance of VIN

The VIN Decoding System

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) system was put into place in 1981 by the U.S. Government in order to track and identify individual vehicles. Every car manufactured for sale in the United States is required to have a unique 17-digit number. This number allows police and other officials to distinguish between similar vehicles for law enforcement and bureaucratic purposes. For example, when a car is stolen, police include the VIN in their police reports so that it is not easily confused with a similar car with the same make, model and color.

What Vehicles Are Covered by The VIN Decoding System?

The current VIN decoding system went into place in 1981 and applies to:

  • Cars
  • Trucks
  • Buses
  • Motorcycles
  • Vans
  • SUVs

It does not apply to bicycles or other alternate forms of vehicles.

Automatic vs. Manual Decoding

It isn’t a simple thing for the average person to look at a VIN and extract underlying information. Each manufacturer encodes varying levels of information in different combinations of VIN digits each model year.

Instead, let decode the VIN for you! If you simply enter the VIN number of the vehicle in our search field, our system will decode it and provide you with the model year, make and model of the VIN along with a vehicle history report.

Information Revealed by VIN Decoding

There is a wealth of information encoded within the first 11 digits of a VIN. This may include:

  • The country where the vehicle was manufactured
  • The manufacturer that produced the vehicle
  • The make of the vehicle
  • The model of the vehicle
  • The model year of the vehicle
  • The type of engine installed on the vehicle
  • The restraint and safety systems installed on the vehicle
  • The type of transmission installed on the vehicle
  • The specific plant where the vehicle was built

Digits 12-17 of the VIN comprise the unique serial number of the vehicle. The entire 17 digits of the VIN are what police use to track down stolen cars. It is also what uses to create a vehicle history report.

Where to Find the VIN

The government wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to see and record a vehicle's VIN. That's why it is located several places on the vehicle.

You should be able to see it through the lower corner of the windshield and on the driver’s side door, and on the engine block. It is also often stamped in another secret location that varies from vehicle to vehicle.

Beyond that, you should also be able to find the VIN on most paperwork associated with the vehicle including the title, registration and insurance papers.

What Additional Information Can Be Associated to a VIN

A major reason why consumers should utilize the VIN as part of the research process is to verify and unlock additional information about a vehicle prior to purchase. Because the VIN is recorded by officials for various reasons, researching a VIN number may inform the customer.

  • If the vehicle has been in a major accident
  • How many people have owned the vehicle over time
  • If the vehicle has been part of a taxi service or fleet
  • If the vehicle has been reported stolen
  • The approximate mileage of the vehicle at various dates
  • What services the vehicle has received and when those services were performed

Can VIN Numbers Be Faked?

Yes they can – and this is one of the main reasons why you may want to have generate a vehicle history report for a VIN before you buy a used car. Technology, including 3D printers are available that allows crooks to fabricate a very realistic-looking VIN plate which someone could then install on a vehicle with a history of problems.

Is It Legal To Decode A VIN Number?

Absolutely! VIN numbers were created to help officials and the public. All of the information contained in the VIN is a matter of public record.

It is a very simple process.

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