Imagine you were buying an expensive work of art, a picture or item of furniture costing tens of thousands of dollars. You would want to check out that items provenance, its history and confirmation of how genuine it is, before buying, yes? Well, what about when you are buying a car? You may be investing in a classic vehicle or a newer model, but either way you should check the cars VIN number before you commit to the purchase. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is like an automotive passport, and is the best way of finding out if you are buying what the vendor tells you.
A VIN check is a vital part of the process, and fortunately there are free VIN check options to help buyers. Let’s have a look at what it’s all about, and why you must check the VIN before buying your car.
What is The VIN Number?
First used in the 1950’s, the VIN number is the accepted industry standard code for identifying individual vehicles. It was not until the early 1980’s that VIN numbers were standardized, so if you are buying an older vehicle it is important you look up the best way to make a vehicle check. There is plenty of information online, and there are offers of a free vehicle history report that can be very useful to buyers.
The VIN number is a way of telling what has happened to the car in the past, and is used to determine the actual owner of a vehicle. Remember that if you buy a stolen vehicle it will be taken back from you, and recompense can be very hard to obtain. Many people have been caught out by seemingly honest sellers that turn out to be nothing of the sort. It is easy, after all, to be taken in by someone and to be overwhelmed by the desire to own a special vehicle.
All too often people fail to check the VIN number, and end up with a car that is not all it seems to be.
Where Can I Find The VIN Number?
It is important to understand that the VIN number will be displayed on the vehicle in several different positions. This is to enable accurate checks. There should be a VIN number underneath the bonnet, possibly on a metal plate, and one stamped directly into the body somewhere. You might also find one engraved into the windscreen. The inside of the doors is another common place for the VIN number, and there will undoubtedly be one in the engine bay.
The essential check is that all of these numbers are the same. If there are differences, or if you spot signs of tampering such as repainting or applied stickers, you should be careful. Check that the VIN numbers on the car correspond with those you are given when you run a VIN number check or car registration check, and also with the number on the log book documents and past MOT’s. If there are any discrepancies the sensible option is to walk away. It may be your dream car, but without the correct VIN number matches it could turn out to be worth far less than you expect.
How to Carry Out a VIN Check
If you are spending good money buying a car there is no excuse for not carrying out a free car history report check. You can find many companies who will do this for you on the internet, and it provides the peace of mind you want. Put simply, when you hear collectors talking of ‘matching numbers’ cars they are saying that the VIN number has been verified across the board, that the car has proven to be genuine. Engage a company that knows how to carry out a VIN number lookup and even if they charge you a small fee, as some do, you will be assured that the history of your dream car is not in doubt.
If you want to get vehicle history reports on used cars for sale and avoid costly hidden problems, you have the choice between Carfax and AutoCheck. In our Carfax v AutoCheck review we came to the conclusion that brand loyalty will keep many people in the frame where Carfax is concerned, but as the package is so much more rounded the AutoCheck deal is going to attract a great number of new customers. Click here to check your VIN Number for free with AutoCheck…
The disappointment of discovering that the vehicle you have spent thousands on is actually a ‘cut and shut’ case that has been seriously damaged in an accident is something that cannot be described, but it is the financial losses that are most distressing. A car that has been badly restored – or botched – is one that is not worth the money you paid for it, however much of a bargain it may have seemed. A last word of advice: if, while carrying out your own VIN number check, you uncover evidence of tampering, you should call the police in order that nobody else suffers the fate that may have been waiting for you.