Engine Number and VIN: How to Check and Understand them correctly
Is Engine Number the Same as VIN?
No, these are 2 different numbers, although both are unique. The engine number is used to uniquely identify the engine, and the VIN uniquely identifies the vehicle itself. While inspecting the vehicle under the hood one may find 2 numbers: the engine number (serial number) and the VIN stapmed on the engine block. The VIN copy, however, is not always found on the engine, while the engine serial number should always be present.
Does the engine number identify the vehicle?
The engine is not a stationary component, it can be removed or replaced so the engine number cannot identify the vehicle.
How to tell between the VIN and the engine number?
The VIN is always a 17-chracter code on vehicles prooduced after 1981 and the VIN lookup on any decoder or vin history check site will return the vehicle's specifications and, in most cases, history data. An engine number format, such as length, number of characters is not standardized and is up to the manufacturer's standards and the vehcile type.
So if the numner you see is not a in a VIN standart then it must be the engine's serial number. If the number you see is a VIN standart, it is listed on the title and your found a copy on the car's body than you should search for another number, it's not the engine number.
What if I see the VIN on the engine?
The VIN on the engine is a duplicate of the vehicle's VIN which should be found elsewhere on the vehicle, check the most typical VIN locations for that, and also on the vehicle's title.
Engine number check: what is it for?
The engine number should always the present on the engine as it's a major vehicle part. Even knowing the VIN, the engine number and having the copy of the vehicle's title you can learn something about the vehicle.
Sometimes the engine serial number is also present on the title. If it does not match the number you see on the engine your should ask the seller about the reason and request the proof that the replacement engine was obtained legally. Engine numbers are checked in the course of pre-registration inspections by a state officer in charge in order to make sure that the engine does not belong to a stolen vehicle. If you fail to prove that the replacement egnine was obtained in a legal way you may be unable to register the vehicle with the DMV as verification of the major parts origin is a standard mandatory procedure.
Even in the engine number is not listed on the title you can search for the VIN copy on the block engine, match it against the VIN on the title and so detect engine replacement in case of mismatch. The engine block is the major container that holds the egnine parts together, replacing it would mean reassembling the engine. So, the VIN found on the engine block can be used to lookup the history of the vehicle the engine originally belongs to. For instance, you may find that that vehicle was reported stolen or was in an accident that might also have the impact on the engine and its later work.