Free VIN Number Decoder

What is a VIN?

In 1981, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) implemented the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) system to standardize the identification and tracking of cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, SUVs, and vans. Manufacturers have already been using VINs since 1954, but their formats varied which made the VINs difficult to decipher.

The standard VIN consists of a 17-digit alphanumeric code that includes the car’s serial number. Each section of the VIN has a different meaning, making it possible to decode the VIN to differentiate a car from other cars or even similar cars with the same model, make, and color. It is also called a “car’s fingerprint” because no vehicles have the same VINs. Based on two ISO standards issued in 1979 and 1980, a VIN is permanently assigned to a vehicle in the production line and carried in databases maintained by automobile manufacturers and vehicle registration agencies. VINCheck works with these agencies to continually gather vehicle information into its own database that you can search at no cost at all.

How Can I Use the VIN to Look Up Information about a Car?

VIN Check or VIN Lookup

Using the VIN, consumers as well as authorities can pull up a vehicle history report for a specific car. The VIN is associated with information such as ownership history, accident history, title brands, or theft records. Our 100% free VIN check service is one of the most complete sources of vehicle information in the industry. You may also pull up a vehicle history report using our free license plate lookup.

VIN Decoder

The VIN itself can be deciphered to get valuable information about the vehicle. A used car buyers may need to find the appropriate parts according to the vehicle’s build, find the manufacturer’s country of origin for importation purposes, or confirm a car’s model year. For instance, it is possible to determine whether any particular vehicle was actually manufactured in 1987 or it was just passed off as a later version although it was made in 1986.

Where Can I Find the VIN?

The VIN can be located in several places on the car. Manufacturers in North America are required to position it in an area visible from outside. It is usually found on the driver’s side of the dashboard at the bottom of the windshield, but it may also be found on the right side in some older models. Other possible locations include the underside of the hood, the engine block, the fender, and the driver’s door jamb (seen from the interior). The VIN in some secret locations is sometimes called anti-theft labels.

These vehicle documents may also have the VIN: registration card, insurance papers, vehicle title, owner's manual, body shop repair records, and police reports.

Can I Manually Decode the VIN?

Manual VIN decoding is possible, but it has become impractical. Through the years, a lot of new vehicle models and brands have been released in the market. As a result, it has become harder and overwhelming to decode the VIN or to look up information that each section indicates. The good news is that, in this day and age, technology has caught up with the fast-growing vehicle manufacturing industry. Quickly decode any VIN in seconds using our free service!

Why Should I Run a VIN Check on a Decoded VIN?

People do not want to get cheated while purchasing any used vehicle and that is the main reason why they want to decode VIN number at present. Decoding this particular number will allow individuals to know the following:

  • The vehicle has been owned by how many individuals over time
  • Whether the automobile has faced any major mishap
  • Whether the vehicle has been reported stolen
  • Whether it has been a part of any taxi service
  • Overall service records
  • The approximate fuel consumption rate
  • What is the approximate worth of the automobile

All these will play a significant role in protecting consumers.

What Can a VIN Decoder Tell Me About the Vehicle?

Basic vehicle details that may be extracted from the VIN include:

  • The country where the vehicle was built
  • The brand, engine type and size
  • The model year
  • The transmission type
  • The safety systems installed
  • The particular plant where the vehicle was manufactured
  • The serial number
The main difference between a VIN decoder and a VIN Check is that decoding gives you vehicle details obtained at the time of production. A VIN check provides post-production vehicle history.

Is It Possible to Fake a VIN?

Yes. A VIN can be faked, cloned or altered. VIN plates can also be printed using 3D printers and other means. In fact, these fraudulent practices have made free VIN decoding and VIN check tools very important for used car buyers. These tools can help consumers find inconsistencies in VIN-based vehicle data that can point to scams, fraudulent deals or crimes.

Can I Decode Any VIN?

Yes! It is perfectly legitimate for you to decode the VIN of any car that you would like to purchase. Information from the VIN is a matter of public record. Get instant VIN decoding using VINCheck’s Free VIN Decoder anytime using your mobile device or laptop.