When buying a used car, getting value for your money is vital. That’s why you will go for the vehicle with the least mileage and the best engine performance. But, how sure are you that you are not going to end up buying a stolen car?
No one can tell the history of a vehicle by just looking at it. In such a case, you need to obtain the car’s VIN. The VIN can help you unearth the darkest secrets of a vehicle that the dealer will not disclose.
So, how can you find the VIN of your vehicle? Locating the VIN can be a very challenging task for many new car owners. This article will take you through some of the places you can easily find your vehicle’s VIN.
Understanding the VIN
VIN is an abbreviation that stands for the Vehicle Identification Number. It is a unique code usually assigned to every vehicle by the manufacturer and serves as its fingerprint. In the real sense, no two cars have the exact VIN.
The VIN consists of 17 characters which are capital letters and numbers. Special characters and small letters are omitted to avoid confusion. Alphabets such as I, O, and Q are also never used. Each character in the VIN usually holds a specific meaning.
Understanding this meaning is known as decoding the VIN, and you can do it manually if you have the time. It may, however, take long, and it’s pretty cumbersome.
The best way to decode a VIN is by the use of an online VIN decoder. Nowadays, numerous sites can help you decipher a VIN in minutes. For instance, if you have a Chevy, you can learn more about the car at this VIN lookup site.
Some of the vehicle information you can get from the VIN include:
- The manufacturer
- Make and model year
- Country of origin
- The car’s serial number
- The engine code
Where Is the VIN Located?
It is important to note that the placement of the VIN is not the same on all vehicles. Different manufacturers prefer to place the VIN on various parts of the car.
Below we have listed some of the significant places that you will hardly miss the VIN.
- On the Vehicle’s Dashboard
The most obvious place to locate the VIN is on the vehicle’s dashboard. Nearly all manufacturers print the car’s VIN on the dashboard. In most cars, you will find the VIN printed on a metal strip located on the lower left-hand side of the dashboard.
You can easily spot this plate even when you are outside the vehicle by just looking through the windshield.
- The Driver’s Side Door Jamb
Another place you can find the VIN is on the driver’s side door jamb. Here, all you need to do is open the door and check the spot where the door latches. You should see a 17-character code printed on a metal plate, which is the VIN.
- Under the Spare Tire
Most manufacturers prefer to print the VIN underneath the spare tire. This means that you first have to locate the spare tire, which is mainly in the trunk. Afterward, lift it and check for the 17-digit alphanumeric code.
- Inside the Rear Wheel Well
For this, you will need to crouch down and look up into the well of the rear wheel on the driver’s side. On new cars, you will easily spot the VIN stamped on the metal body. However, you might find some trouble locating this number on used vehicles.
- On the Car’s Registration Documents
If you cannot locate the VIN on the vehicle, there is no need to worry. You can also make use of the registration documents that come with it. It is hard to miss the VIN written somewhere in the registration certificate of your vehicle.
- On the Car’s Insurance Documents
As we saw earlier, the VIN holds vital information about a specific vehicle. It is for this reason that most insurers usually require the VIN before insuring a car. Therefore, if your car is insured, the VIN is already somewhere in the insurance documents.
- Call the Dealership or Manufacturer
Alternatively, you can call your car dealer or manufacturer and ask them where the VIN is located on your car. All you will need to provide is the make and model of the vehicle. They will then help you trace the VIN.
When Might I Need the VIN?
The VIN is the most reliable way of finding information about a specific vehicle. This information can prove to be helpful in many instances.
To start with, the VIN can come in handy when you are looking for spare parts for your vehicle. It will help you identify the correct parts. Most mechanics will require you to provide this number so that they can install the right accessories to your vehicle.
This means you get the suitable tire sizes, brake sizes, and even the appropriate engine size. The VIN can also be helpful when you want to uncover the history of the vehicle. Has the vehicle been involved in any accidents, thefts, or when was it serviced last?
All this information is crucial for any car buyer, especially when you are buying a used car. The VIN will help you unearth all these details in minutes.
As we have seen, the VIN can reveal a lot about a car. With the VIN, you can get information ranging from the make to its engine type. It is, therefore, crucial for you as a car owner or buyer to know your vehicle’s VIN.
Depending on the manufacturer, the VIN is located on different parts of the vehicle. However, there are familiar places that make it easy to find the VIN. We are now confident that you can quickly locate your vehicle’s VIN with the information provided above.