Just as every one of us has an identification card, every vehicle has a code that gives it a unique identity.
Sometimes it’s called VIN number, VIN code or simply a body number, but it’s the same thing with the same function.
VIN (an acronym for Vehicle Identification Number) is a unique code used by the automotive industry to identify every car, bus, truck, motorcycle or even a trailer.
The VIN format was standardized only in 1981 by USA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Since then, all sold on-road vehicles must have a 17-character-long VIN consisting only digits and capitals.
By the way, VIN number cannot include the letters I, O and Q in order to avoid confusion with numerals 1 and 0.
The specific and very complex structure of VIN code theoretically should guarantee that every vehicle, produced since 1981, has a unique identification number.
So, there is almost impossible to find two cars which have the same VIN. This allows to assign a code to the specific car and track its history.
A VIN number check will help you discover information that may be useful in situations like:
- When you need to know where the vehicle is manufactured, just in case you want to import it
- Registering a brand new car or registering your vehicle in a new state
- Trying to find out details about a car’s previous owner(s)
- Checking to see a vehicle’s prior accidents and damages
- Buying parts that need to fit your vehicle according to its build
- Filling a bill of sale immediately after selling your car
- Helping law enforcement to recover your vehicle if its stolen
- Tracking such things as recalls, warranty claims, registrations, insurance coverage etc.
All in all, the 17-character code could become a magic wand in your hands if he or she uses properly. They can reveal much more car history facts than a seller wants to tell.
Possible on-vehicle locations:
- The front part of the vehicle’s frame. Scan the area near the container that usually holds washer fluid.
- Doorjamb on the driver’s side. With the door open, check underneath where your car’s side-view mirror would be located had the door been shut.
- Doorpost on the driver’s side. With the door open, check the location where the door latches. It shouldn’t be far from the seatbelt return.
- Engine block. You can do a VIN number check at the front of the engine block after popping the hood.
- Hood underside. Some newer vehicles have the VIN located on the underside of the hood, or in some cases the fender.
- For most vehicles, the VIN number is usually found at the dashboard.
By the way, it is essential to double-check if all VIN numbers on vehicle match. If they don’t, the car might be stolen.
There are two ways to get the VIN number.
- Lookup Your VIN Online
- Use an OBD2 Scanner to Get the VIN
The best OBD scan tools will automatically identify your vehicle and display its VIN. Some go as far as pulling the CIN and CVN information.
They then provide you with all the data that you need, including the manufacturer, model and year of the vehicle as well as its historical data.
Check out the following TOPDON scanners, combined with the AutoVIN technology which are the best option available in the market in terms of speed, performance, data analysis and data transfer.
|Customer Rating||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||4.5 / 5|
|Update method||One-Touch Software Update via Wi-Fi||One-Touch Software Update via Wi-Fi||One-Touch Software Update via Wi-Fi||One-Touch Software Update via Wi-Fi|
|System Diagnosis||Engine/Transmission/ABS/SRS||Engine/Transmission/ABS/SRS||All Modules||All Modules|
|Hot Services||Not Supported||5||15||28|
|Connection Method||Wire||Wire||Wire||Wireless Bluetooth|
|OBD2 Function||10 Modes||10 Modes||10 Modes||10 Modes|
|Bi-Directional Test/Active Test||Not Supported||Not Supported||Not Supported||Not Supported|
|ECU Coding||Not Supported||Not Supported||Not Supported||Not Supported|
|Charging Adapter Included||None||None||Yes||Yes|
|VALUE (optimum service life : 5 Years)||0.092 USD/Day||0.13 USD/Day||0.228 USD/Day||0.246 USD/Day|