How to Decode a VIN Number
In 1981, the U.S. Government put into place the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) system. This was so that vehicles could be tracked an identified when necessary. A unique 17-digit number was assigned to every car manufactured for sale in the U.S. The VIN number makes it simple for police, and other government departments, to differentiate between similar vehicles, for purposes of law enforcement and administration. When a vehicle is stolen, the VIN is included in police reports so that it’s not misidentified with similar vehicles.
The unique combination of numbers and letters offers a certain amount of protection to purchasers of used vehicles. A VIN number reveals when a vehicle was manufactured, eliminating the problem of vehicles being passed off as newer models.
Vehicles Currently Covered by the VIN Decoding System
The VIN decoding system, which was formulated in 1981, applies to the following:
The VIN decoding system does not apply to bicycles or other forms of transport.
The Differences Between Automatic and Manual Decoding
Decoding the information revealed by a VIN number was once simple, possible for even the layman. Things have, however, changed somewhat since 1981, with the introduction of dozens of new models. The amount of VINs has increased exponentially, following the sales and mergers of automobile manufacturers across the country. It is now much more difficult for a person to decode the data from a VIN number, requiring a lot of hard work and time.
Which is where we come in. We can provide you with a vehicle history report within minutes. Enter your selected VIN number in our search field and our system will instantly decode it. This is by far the easiest way to get the information you need.
Where do I find the VIN number?
A VIN number can be located in several places on a vehicle. This is because the government wanted to make it as simple as possible to locate.
It should be visible on the engine block, on the dashboard (next to the steering wheel), and also on the driver’s side door. Depending on the make and model, it is also located in an undisclosed fourth place.
Insurance papers, the vehicle’s title, and registration will also reveal a vehicle’s VIN number, along with any other paperwork associated with it.
What You Will Receive from a VIN decoding
Once a VIN is decoded, you will be provided with a wealth of information about a vehicle, which may include:
- A vehicle’s country of manufacture
- Safety Systems Included
- Year of Manufacture
- Engine Size
A unique serial number is also included with the VIN. Stolen cars are tracked by law enforcement using this number. It is also what we use when creating your vehicle history report.
Why do People Want to Decode VIN Numbers?
The main reason people want to decode a vehicle’s VIN number is for reassurance. No-one wants to be swindled when purchasing a used car. The decoding of a used vehicle’s VIN number will reveal the following:
- The number of past owners of a vehicle
- The number of accidents a vehicle has been in, if any
- General service history
- A vehicle’s approximate value
- Whether a vehicle has ever been utilised as a minicab/private hire vehicle
- Whether a vehicle has ever been misappropriated
All of this information affords a used car buyer an advantage when deciding upon a purchase, and protects them from automobile rogues.
Is it possible to fake a VIN number?
Unfortunately it is. Which is why we exist, and why you may wish to allow us to decode a VIN number for you before you purchase a vehicle. Crooks have the technology — 3D printers, etc. —to create convincing VIN plates and install them upon dubious vehicles.
However, you can prevent this from happening with a VIN number check. Once we decode a VIN, the information we provide will reveal to you any inconsistencies in a vehicle’s history.
Is This Legal?
Very much so. VIN numbers were created to assist the public and government officials. All information contained within the VIN is a matter of public record, so you are well within your right to access it.
And it’s so easy!
- Enter the VIN into our search box
- Wait while our system decodes it
- Read the decoding report
Please use the links on our site to learn more about the decoding process.