VIN Number
Vehicle Identification Number

VIN Check

A VIN number check can be done to reveal information about a vehicle. This includes, the country of origin, the manufacturer and the model type. Car insurance companies may do a free VIN check to ascertain whether the car has been stolen or written off.

Detailed VIN reports can be purchased online. These reports may include registration changes, Flood Damage, manufacturer re-calls, car warranty claims, and accident information.

Decoding The Vehicle Identification Number - VIN Number

The first three digits of a VIN number represent the World Manufacturer Identifier - WMI. If for example the first three characters are SAJ this indicates that the vehicle was made in the UK and that the vehicle is a Jaguar car. Digits 4 to 9 represent the Vehicle Descriptor Section - VDS. Vehicle Descriptors vary with each manufacturer but are commonly used to describe the vehicle body type and the engine size.

The VIN - Checkdigit value is used to verify that the VIN has not been tampered with and is written to position 9. Digits 10 to 17 represent the Vehicle Identifier Section - VIS. Vehicle Identifiers are used to uniquely identify a particular make of vehicle. This includes the year of manufacture and the vehicle serial number.

Why The Vehicle Identification Number VIN May Be Changed

Stolen cars may have their VIN number changed via the VDS and the VIS to make the vehicle appear to be newer, or to have a more powerful engine. The VIS may also be changed to hide the true serial number of the vehicle.

Cloned Cars: A cloned car may have its VINnumber illegally changed to that of a car that is currently for sale on a car dealer's forecourt. Any checks run against a cloned car may not reveal if the car has been stolen or written off. In each case if you notice anything unusual, such as scratch marks on the VIN, a worn VIN sticker, or a loose VIN plate then assume the worst. Make sure that all VIN's attached to the car match the Vehicle Identification Number on the registration document.

VIN And Private Number Plates

Cars that have private number plates issued should have a Vehicle Identification Number check carried out, as an attempt may have been made to hide the vehicle's true history. It is relatively easy to change a car's registration/number plate. But changing a VIN is mostly an activity carried out by experienced car fraudsters.

Where Can I Locate My Vehicle Identification Number VIN

A VIN Vehicle Identification Number may appear in various places on a car: i) visible through the windscreen above the dashboard on the front passenger side ii) on a plate attached to the engine bay iii) on a label/sticker attached to the drivers door locking column and iv) on the vehicle registration document. More than One VIN label may appear on a car. Where more than one VIN is present they should be checked against each other. If two different VINs appear on the same vehicle, walk away as this could indicate that the car has been rebuilt from scrap or has been stolen.

Origin Of The Vehicle Identification Number VIN

In 1983 the International Organization for Standardization issued revisions of ISO 3779 (Vehicle Identification Number - VIN) and of ISO 3780 (World Manufacturer Identifier - WMI). These standards describe a 17-digit code that is used to uniquely identify road vehicles - where the manufacturer builds more than 500 vehicles per year. The standards have been implemented in slightly different ways in North America and in Europe (European manufacturers are not required to assign an assembly year to a vehicle, also Check Digit values may not be implemented). In all cases the following letters are not allowed in a VIN: I, O, and Q.
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