How to Check History of VIN Numbers

Written by matt goetz
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How to Check History of VIN Numbers
Check the history of the VIN number when buying a used car. (yellow car, a honda Japanese sport car model image by alma_sacra from Fotolia.com)

Purchasing a used vehicle from a dealer or a private party requires verification of the vehicle's VIN history. Obviously, you want to make sure you're not buying a faulty car, often referred to as a lemon, or a car previously involved in a driving accident. The seventeen-digit VIN number can reveal problems such as a void warranty or mechanical issues. In some cases, you can check the partial VIN history free of charge. Other methods require payment in order to receive a complete vehicle history report.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Try to locate the VIN history on the Internet. Enter the VIN number into the Google or Yahoo search engine, and see if any public records exist. Sometimes VIN histories leak onto the Internet from previous sales documents and records. Conduct a little research and you might find the information for free.

  2. 2

    Pay for a service that can provide the VIN history for a vehicle. You can use websites such as CarFax.com to access VIN history information. CarFax and companies providing similar services usually require payment before giving you access to a vehicles' history.

  3. 3

    Obtain a copy of the VIN car history report from the car dealer, if possible. Some car dealers provide free car history reports as an incentive to sell you the car.

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