What is VIN and Vehicle History Reports?
What Is VIN?
VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number, a unique code used in the automotive
industry to identify a specific motor vehicle from all other vehicles.
Currently, all vehicles manufactured after 1980 have a 17-character VIN printed on the frame of in other places on the vehicle. The vehicle may change owners, registration locations, color, parts or undergo a major repair but the VIN will always remain the same. VIN is like a vehicle's fingerprint: there are no two identical VINs and you can always distinguish a certain vehicle from all other vehicles by its VIN. The importance of the VIN is growing, together with number of vehicles on the roads.
Why Is VIN So Important?
Today the VIN is a very powerful tool in the used car market which protects used car buyers from problem purchases. Buying a used vehicle can be very risky because of numerous hidden used car problems. Some of them not just lower the actual value of the vehicle and increase its maintenance cost but seriously affect the vehicle's safety characteristics. However, as the vehicle is being used, all the essential information about it is reported to authorities, like DMVs and the police. Id addition, special companies collect vehicle history data coming from numerous sources, like vehicle auctions, insurance companies, bodyshops, auto serivice shops, Crime Bureau and other. All this information can be retrieved at any moment in the form of a detailed vehicle history report with dates and events, which helps potential used car buyers find out what happened with the vehicle since it has left the plant and what hidden problems it may have, how well it was serviced, what is was used for and how much it ran at different timespans. Today it takes a few seconds to run VIN check online and learn all you need to know about the vehicle's past.
What Else Can VIN Tell Me?
- VIN alone is enough to know not just the make and model or the year when the vehicle was manufactured but even more specific characteristics, such as the shape of the head lamps, provided that you know how to decode VIN (see Identification section).
- VIN helps identify the vehicle in case of a severe damage (accident, fire) or theft.
- VIN can tell where your car is registered. However, you cannot find the car location by VIN .
What I Should Know about VINs?
VIN number shapes and standards were changing as the automotive industry was growing over the past century. According to current standards, the VIN is a 17-character code consisting of letters and digits. The VIN never icludes I, O and Q letters to prevent mixing them with digits.