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What Is a VIN Number Used For? A Beginner’s Guide for Car Owners

You’ve probably heard of a VIN (vehicle identification number), but do you know the importance of those seventeen digits? Many people know what a VIN is but not all the information included in those numbers or how they might prove useful.

What is a VIN number used for and why should you care? Find out as we cover everything you need to know about vehicle identification numbers.

Information Included in a VIN

Your car’s VIN includes a string of numbers and letters that is always seventeen digits long. If the VIN is shorter, it could be from a vehicle made before 1981. Vehicles made during this time could have a VIN number somewhere between 11 to 17 digits long.

Here is some information you can find on your VIN:

  • Vehicle specifications
  • Country of origin/manufacturer information
  • Vehicle brand
  • Engine size and type
  • Proof of the vehicle being authorized by the manufacturer
  • Model year
  • Vehicle plant
  • Whether it has flexible fuel

Now that you know what kind of information the VIN contains, it’s time to go over how you could use it.

What Is a VIN Number Used For?

Both new car owners and individuals that have had their vehicles for years can make use of that VIN number. What is a VIN number used for? Well, current owners can type that number in when they look for recalls or perform some research when shopping for used cars.

Let’s cover common uses for a VIN number in more depth.

Shopping for Used Cars

Before buying a used car, you’ll want to run a vehicle history report. This report can tell you whether the vehicle has ever been in an accident, whether it was ever “totaled” and if it has a salvage title, you can check for odometer rollbacks, see maintenance records, and view the number of previous owners.

You can look up a VIN number to learn more about a used car before buying it. The more you know about a vehicle’s history, the more confidently you can decide whether to make the investment or not.

Identify Stolen Vehicles

Using the VIN number, you can do a quick check to see if the vehicle has ever been reported as stolen. Alternatively, if you’re buying a used car, this can ensure you don’t buy stolen property.

Find Open Recalls

In the first half of 2020 alone, there were over 13 million cars recalled. How can you tell if your car is one of the many with an open recall? A quick safety recall check using your VIN number can tell you.

VIN Verifications

A VIN verification is an important process in California and involves a physical inspection of your vehicle. This process can help prevent fraud or theft. You may need a VIN verification if you’re registering an out-of-state vehicle or if you’re re-registering a salvaged vehicle.

If you need a VIN verification, you can reach out to a contact here.

Know Your VIN

So, what is a VIN number used for? A VIN can tell both current and future owners a great deal about the vehicle’s specifications. It can also be an invaluable tool when looking up safety issues or when preventing theft or fraud.

In short, make sure you know your VIN!

For more auto tips and news, check out the rest of our website. We have all the information you need about driving, maintenance, and more.

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