What You Must Know about a VIN Search

What You Must Know about a VIN Search

The vehicle identification number, or VIN, is a series of 17 numbers and letters that have been issued to individual cars since the 1981 model year. A VIN is accepted as the standard in North America for identifying motor vehicles. It provides vital information about the vehicle’s manufacturer, model year, model, make, class, and equipment of a vehicle. A VIN can uniquely identify a specific motor vehicle to the law enforcement, government, insurance industry, consumers and other concerned stakeholders.

Why is a VIN Search Important?

An accurate VIN can be used in a VIN search to help in the following situations:

• Help consumers in purchasing a used vehicle. If you know to do a VIN search, you will be less likely to purchase a stolen vehicle or one that has been declared unsafe for use or irreparable.
• You can do a VIN search to make sure that it is accurate and confirms the identity, insurance, and ownership of the vehicle. If any of these are mistaken, you can get them corrected before dealing with any license or titling registration transactions. 
• Law enforcement can use a VIN search to help identify and recover stolen motor vehicles.
• Vehicle body and maintenance shops can perform a VIN search or simply examine the VIN to order the correct parts for your vehicle.
• An insurance company can perform a VIN search to make sure that your vehicle insurance is properly rated in the event of claims.
• You can use a VIN search from different commercial services, to check the records on a motor vehicle in the Motor Vehicle Records database. These records can show you how many previous owners the vehicle has had, when the vehicle was last inspected, if the vehicle was ever classified as a "lemon", if the vehicle was stolen, or if the vehicle had ever gone through any major incidents such as being submerged in water or rolling over. These Motor Vehicle records can also show if the vehicle’s odometer has ever been manipulated back.

Finding the Best VIN Search

Many commercial sites will allow you to use your VIN in a VIN search to help you find your vehicle history report. This motor vehicle report will help you determine if there are any problems with a car. This report can tell you if a vehicle was flooded, wrecked, stolen, totaled, or if there were any changes in the title. 

While many sites advertise free VIN search services, many of these reports only show a very small amount of data for free, such as how many “events” the vehicle has been involved in without providing helpful details. When you do a VIN search and pay for a report, you can find out helpful information that can help you verify or find vehicle details such as the manufacturer, model, class, year, tag, address of the vehicle owner, tag, odometer, and more.

It is important to note that VIN search reports only provide the last reported phone numbers and addresses of an owner. There are no guarantees that the information found on VIN search report is the most accurate and current.  

If you plan to do a VIN search for debt recovery, collateral recovery or collections, and your subject is purposely hiding their address, you may need a more sophisticated search than a VIN search, such as a search by the car owner name or a car owner address search.

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