How to Find Car by VIN?
The possibility to find car by VIN appears to be a very common question. What you can do if you have the car's VIN is find the state and the city the car is currently registered in. For this, you need to run VIN check and get a vehicle history report (from Autocheck or Carfax). The report will also contain the information about the states and the cities the car has been registered in, including the last location. You can also discover about the bodyshops the car has been serviced at (Carfax has more info on this) or the places where it was involved in an accident or sold at a salvage auction if there were any (Autocheck has more info on the latter). In this manner you can roughly map the registration "journey" of the car by it's VIN based on the reports which only have the information about any registered events.
Please bear in mind that the major function of the VIN number is identifying the car, not finding its location, so you cannot track the exact location of the car by it's VIN. Every move of the vehicle is not reported to the authorities and the traffic police does not check the VIN on every car passing by, VIN number owners are covered by the privacy act. The car VIN may be checked if it suspected to be stolen or involved in any other criminal affairs. So if you want to find the car's location or track its travel in real time then the VIN number is not exactly what you need, it would be of little help.
Can I find my car by VIN number?
Logically, a person may only want to find a car by VIN if his or her car has been stolen (why else would you want to locate your car?) First, as was said above, the VIN number serves for identifying your car from all other vehicles so the VIN is actually the only thing that can tell your car from all other cars. If your car has been stolen you have to report the theft to the police so that they search for the car with this specific VIN. Call the police immediately, don't expect to locate your stolen car based on VIN history report. The problem is that in many instances the VIN of a stolen car may be faked in order to sell it, this is called car cloning. A new VIN plate with a clean number is crafted and attached to the car of the number is printed on the car. In this way, the car is not recognized even if it was reported as stolen. That complicates finding the stolen car. However, faking the VIN and repainting takes some time. So the longer you wait the smaller the chance to find the car, the sooner you react the bigger the chance to find it.
If you are buying a car...
Get a car history report. don't take chances. Even if the car history has no theft records, but it's actual or supposed location does not match the documents and the registration records, it's a warning sign. You might use the National Insurance Crime Bureau search engine to check for stolen car VIN. However, the car will only be marked as stolen only if you report the theft. Even an unknowing buyer of such a car may charged of receiving stolen property.