Did you know that a car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) cannot be changed? Every car has its registration numbers and numerous other codes but unlike the VIN number, they can be changed. Think of the VIN number the way you would think of a fingerprint. Your car’s VIN number is unique to your car alone as it was ascribed to the new car during production.
The VIN number is used by engineers to identify the car and its parts for easy repairs. Law enforcement agencies use the VIN number to identify cars or car parts that have been stolen. If you plan on getting a used vehicle or a new car, you must check the VIN number before completing the transaction.
A VIN check allows you to see the car’s history simply by entering the VIN number in the search bar. It allows you to know if the used vehicle is a stolen one or if it has been involved in an accident in the past. The VIN check also provides you with details on the kind of repairs the car has undergone and recalls. The easiest way to check a car’s VIN is by using VIN check sites that offer VIN decoding features. Some of the best VIN search sites include;
- EpicVIN (Best for car dealers)
- Bumper (Best for sellers of damaged vehicles)
- Autodna (Best for USA and Europe users)
- CARFAX (Best for Mobile phone users)
- VINpit (Best for versatility)
- Autocheck (Best for comparing private vehicles)
- Carvertical (Best for affordable prices)
- ClearVIN (Best for individuals and car dealers)
- VINfreecheck (Best free VIN checker)
- Cebia (Best local decoder)
The 10 Best Free VIN Decoder Sites
EpicVIN is considered to be a very trustworthy company for checking a car’s VIN number. Like every other VIN checker, it provides you with a vehicle’s history and other related reports. It is also a good way to confirm a car’s VIN authenticity before purchasing it. With EpicVIN, you can also check for a vehicle’s history using only the plate number and state in which the plate number was assigned to the car.
Besides vehicle information checks, EpicVIN also offers several free VIN tools. These include:
- VIN decoders based on the cars’ models
- VIN check by state
- Flood check
- Odometer check
EpicVIN has a simple interface that guides you throughout the process of entering the VIN number to choose your preferred package. It provides the report immediately after payment and allows you to access the report every time you log in to the website.
- Easy payment process
- Fairly affordable prices
- Provides relevant information
- Offers free VIN services
- Overwhelming website features
- Inefficient chatbot
- Specific car model VIN decoder
- State-based VIN check
- Flood check
- Odometer check
Pricing: EpicVIN offers three packages: one report for $14.99, four reports for $28.17 and 16 reports for $86.34.
Bumper is primarily a web-based tool that enables you to check a vehicle’s features using its VIN number. The site gathers accurate information on the vehicle’s history of damage from 22 state-level departments. It also collects vehicle data from scrap yards, insurance companies, salvage auctions, and towing agencies.
Bumper provides you with information like a car’s salvage, theft, and accident records. It also tells you the sales and registration record of the car. It also provides you with a quick estimate of the car’s updated market value as well as the estimated cost of repairs that the car may need.
- Allows you to choose the specific history
- Legitimate sources
- Seven-day trial
- Provides relevant information
- Limited to 50 searches per month
- Bumper is a car dealing site and not primarily a VIN checking site.
- Buying and selling of used cars
- Plate number check
- VIN Check
- Market value estimation
Pricing: Offers a even-day trial for $1 and a monthly fee of $19.99.
AutoDNA is one of the largest sites that provide car history and every other necessary information with the aid of a VIN number. This site is considered one of the most reliable VIN check sites because it searches through millions of databases to provide its users with the necessary information. This huge database reach allows AutoDNA to serve customers not just in the U.S., but also in Europe. AutoDNA is also in collaboration with Autocheck which is fully integrated into their site.
- Affordable pricing
- Simple user-interface
- Trusted information sources
- Paid country-based authentic data reports
- Not enough alternatives pricing packages for users to choose from
- Vehicle history
- Manufacturer recalls
- Stolen records
- Vehicle equipment
- Last inquiries
- Archived photos
Pricing: AutoDNA offers different prices for different locations;
- Basic report: € 5,40
- U.S. vehicle report: € 9
- Estonian vehicle report: € 9,90
- The Netherlands vehicle report: € 4,90
- Belgian vehicle report: € 9
- France vehicle report: € 9
- U.S.. and Canada vehicle report (AutoCheck): € 12,90
CARFAX is a VIN checking site that allows you to check a vehicle’s history using its VIN number. This VIN checker can be used by both private sellers and buyers of used vehicles. Buyers can use the report from this site to avoid scammers and sellers can use the report to get the best deal for their vehicle.
With a claim to have access to 100,000 sources and several years of providing VIN checking services, CARFAX is one of a few reputable VIN checking sites. Amongst other sources, CARFAX gets its data from DMVs, insurance companies, police departments, and auction houses.
Some of the details CARFAX provides you with include, accident data, rental history, service history, type of use, ownership history, and so on.
- Has more than 100,000 data sources
- Reliable through its long history in the car industry
- Provides helpful data to improve the used car sales industry
- Accessible through a mobile app
- A single report costs too much
- No phone call support
- Car care
- Mobile notifications
- Used car listing
- History-based value
Pricing: One report costs $39.99, three reports cost $59.99 and six reports cost $99.99.
VINpit offers a free vehicle history report and gives you access to details such as the state in which the car was bought, the year, rental history, model details, and features of the vehicle. It also allows you to buy a detailed report of the odometer readings, distance covered, and the used car’s updated market value. With VINpit you can get details on a vehicle’s manufacturer recall, the vehicle’s equipment, and previous sales record.
- Authentic odometer reading
- Archive of vehicle photos at different locations
- Comprehensive vehicle report
- Good value for money
- Splits data into different paid reports based on the country’s source
- Relatively new in the industry
- Stolen vehicle database
- VIN decoder
- License plate lookup.
Pricing: $14.99 for one report, $28.16 for four reports, and $86.34 for 16 reports.
Autocheck is a reputable VIN checking site, and it has one of the best VIN decoders that has proven over the years to provide high-quality services to its users. It has a unique feature on its site that allows you to quickly assess a vehicle’s condition before you get the details of the report. It makes use of a rating system between 1 to 100 and tells you the condition of the key based on the rating it gives it on that scale.
To get a detailed report on Autocheck, you have to go through a series of simple process which involves providing the VIN number, choosing a subscription plan, and making payment. You could also decide to pay for a single report rather than a subscription plan. The single report works best for people who do not plan on using the site regularly.
In the Autocheck report, you should get information about the vehicle’s mileage, owner history, brand, emission testing, accident history, theft record, lease, and so on.
- Multiple and reliable data sources
- User-friendly website
- Affordable price for multiple reports
- The best system for comparing vehicles
- Best for private sellers and buyers
- No details on past maintenance
- Expensive single report
- Conditional rating score
- Vehicle report
- License plate search
Pricing: $24.99 for a single report and $49.99 for five reports
With a primary goal of protecting car buyers from scammers, Carvertical provides its users with basic information about vehicles. This site provides you with details about a vehicle’s servicing history, damage history, mileage, and current faults. It also allows you to preview a vehicle for free and buy a vehicle report.
With a rating of 4.2 on Trustpilot and 5.0 on Google Play, Carvertical has maintained a good review record which is a result of its top-notch service to its users.
Carvertical also makes use of a scoring system that rates a vehicle anywhere between 1 to 10. This scoring is based on three main features of the vehicle, damage data, mileage records, and model faults. This scoring system can be quite useful for people who have multiple vehicles to choose from. You could simply compare the vehicles’ scores to make an objective choice.
- Accurate results
- Constantly updated data
- Reasonable charges
- The report is damage-proof and blockchain-based.
- Expensive single report
- Occasional omission of damage results.
- Comprehensive database
- Scoring system
- Quality data sources
Pricing: $18.56 for one report, $22.92 for two reports, and $29.46 for three reports
ClearVIN is a site that provides its users with reports of vehicle history. The site is partnered with the National Motor Vehicle Titling Information System (NMVTIS) as well as the U.S. Department of Justice. These partnerships make them more reliable when it comes to providing legitimate information to their users. A ClearVIN report contains information on repairs and theft history. It also provides you with ownership records, insurance details, and title changes.
Asides from its partnership with NMVTIS and the U.S. Department of Justice, ClearVIN also gets information from several sources, like towing agencies financial institutions, federal agencies, and local departments. This allows them to provide their users with authentic and clear information.
- Provides an easy and convenient history of all vehicles, including trucks
- Offers a recall lookup system for free
- Money-back guarantee
- Detailed website
- Sometimes provide inadequate information
- Slow response time on its site
- Outdated information on the site
- Insurance odometer
- Archive of car pictures
- History of sales
- Retail value
Pricing: For the individual package, ClearVIN offers one report for $14.99, three reports for $29.98, and five reports for $39.99. For the dealer package, you get 20 reports for $60, 40 reports for $100, and 100 reports for $220.
VINfreecheck offers completely free VIN checks and license plate checks. As the name suggests, most of its features are free including a free VIN report. VINfreecheck has a VIN decoder that helps to decode your VIN number and gives you accurate vehicle specs of the vehicle such as the engine specification, steering type, trim, transmission, and tank Size. It also provides you with a free flood check, salvage history, and market value estimate in its free VIN report
Asides from its free VIN checking feature, it also offers a premium service that provides you with a lot more information. The premium service gives you information such as the odometer records, vehicle history, and accident history all of which are not in the free VIN report.
- Basic history for free
- Affordable premium prices
- Simple user-interface
- Detailed website
- Most of the detailed information is in the premium package
- Not enough pricing plans
- Free vehicle history report
- Vehicle market valuation
- Flood check
- Odometer check
Pricing: This site offers mostly free VIN features but it also offers a paid premium report for $8.99.
Cebi also known as Zkontrolujsiauto.cz is a site that provides VIN checking services to its users. This Czech-based site has a primary goal of fostering safe transactions during car sales. It also offers car dealers a unique option of buying a report certificate to convince potential customers of their authenticity.
Cebia makes use of a system that allows it to provide basic VIN check data on vehicles including fraudulent records. It also has a database of more than 1 billion records of vehicle history reports. This is because it gets vehicle data from prominent vehicle manufacturers, dealers, repair services, leasing, and insurance. Cebia’s only major only downside is that it is mostly designed to provide service to vehicles in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This is due to most of their sources being local providers.
- Adaptable pricing packages
- Suitable for both used car buyers and used car dealers
- Restricted to vehicles in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
- The vehicle history report is not in English
- More expensive than its competitors.
What is a VIN?
The 17-digit “name” that a car manufacturer gives each unique vehicle is called a vehicle identification number (VIN). It comprises numbers and characters. You can learn numerous details about vehicles, such as their airbag type, country of manufacture, engine size, and model year. You can also learn about the vehicle type, trim level, and facility name from the vehicle identification numbers.
Why Should I Check the VIN Number When Buying a Car?
To find out if it is a recall vehicle
When a manufacturer or a traffic safety administration agency finds that a car or its set of tires poses an excessive danger to the safety or falls short of the required minimum criteria, they issue a recall. A VIN will allow you to determine the recall involved.
To ascertain whether the vehicle has been in an accident
A VIN gives you information about small and big accidents, as you are already aware, and other information. A VIN will provide you with information about a car’s significant accidents and if it’s been mended.
To determine an automobile’s actual mileage
Some fraudulent and exploitative auto sellers generally try to defraud customers by rewiring a car’s mileage, which is the miles an automobile has driven or traveled. The dealer or auto seller rolls back a vehicle’s mileage, giving the impression that it is lower than it is. You can avoid this hassle with a VIN check since it shows the vehicle’s precise mileage.
To tell whether the car is flooded
Massive vehicle damage can result from flooding, which gives crooks a chance to swindle unwary automobile purchasers. A flooded car is one with a damaged body, engine, gearbox, or other mechanical parts due to being partially or submerged in water. Such vehicles are still in use, and conducting a VIN check on the vehicle you intend to purchase is one of the safest methods to determine whether it has a history of flooding.
Where Can You Find the Vehicle’s VIN?
You’ll often notice the VIN number in most cars on the front of the dashboard on the driver’s side. Looking through the windshield while standing outside the vehicle is the best approach to seeing it. The driver’s side door pillar is another possible location for the VIN number. Look around where the door to the car locks after opening it.
The VIN of a motorbike is often located on the steering neck under the handlebars; however, often, you can find it also on the motor or the frame next to the motor. The VIN is on the left side of the front portion of a semi-trailer.
You should find your VIN number listed on your vehicle’s title or liability insurance documentation if you can’t find it there.
Where Does a VIN Decoder Get Information?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which receives its data from manufacturers who submit it to NHTSA, is where the VIN decoder obtains its information. Vehicles built after 1981 are used with the VIN Decoder lookup. Your vehicle’s VIN would most likely have 11 characters if it existed before 1981.
Your vehicle’s 17-character VIN may be quickly checked on any approved VIN-checking website. You can use this to seek information on its maker, brand, make, model, body type, engine size, assembly facility, and model year. All you have to do is go to the website, insert your VIN in the box provided and click on search VIN.
What Can a VIN Check Tell You?
The VIN is more than a jumble of unrelated letters and digits. Rather, it consists of a carefully chosen combination of characters divided into six sections: the World Manufacturer Index, manufacturer specification data, check digit, model year, plant location, and vehicle unique number.
Digits 1-3: The World Manufacturer Identifier
You can know the country of production by a number or letter in the first digit. For instance, cars made in the United States begin with either one, four, or five, whereas those made in Canada and Mexico begin with two and three, respectively.
The second letter reveals the company and creator. In certain instances, the letter will correspond to the manufacturer’s name; for example, “A” stands for Audi, “B” for BMW, and so on. This is so because several automobile manufacturers share the same initial letter. It’s a good decision not to always bank on this guideline unless you are certain it applies to your make because this isn’t always the case.
The third letter indicates the classification of the vehicle or its production division. The World Manufacturer Identifier, or WMI code, comes from this initial group of three letters and digits.
Digits 4-8: Manufacturer Specification Data
This section is located in the manufacturer specification data, which might provide information about your car’s model, body type, restraint system, gearbox type, and engine code. This code section allows an online insurance company to bring up your precise model instantly.
Digits 9-11: Check Digit, Model Year, and Plant Location
The ninth digit, known as the “check digit,” may confirm whether a VIN number is legitimate. The tenth digit indicates the model year of your automobile. The U.S. Department of Transportation devised a sophisticated mathematical method to calculate this figure.
The plant code appears as the eleventh digit. This provides information on the car’s assembly facility, which is how safety concerns and recalls are monitored.
12–17: Vehicle Identification Number
This section of the VIN number is ordered by the date it was built. These numbers are imprinted on the car as it moves along the assembly line. As a result, the first car can have a VIN that ends in 000001.
How do I find my Vehicle Identification Number?
- Look at the dashboard. The lower left-hand corner of the dashboard is where you’ll often find VIN plates. Scan the dashboard from the driver’s seat to the wheel’s right. Another option is to step outside the car and peek through the glass to see the VIN more clearly.
- Check the front frame of the vehicle. On occasion, the VIN is visible on the car’s frame, near the windshield washer bottle. You can see it by bending down in front of the car on the driver’s side.
- You can also check the spare tire, often in the trunk. It occasionally has the VIN below it, so remove the tire and inspect it.
What information does a Free VIN Report Give You?
A free VIN check will help you find out about recalls, safety rankings, original specs, and warranties. The free report also includes information on the vehicle’s safety features, fuel efficiency, and customer testimonials. You can get a free VIN check at the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
In this article, we have provided you with a list of the top VIN lookup sites as well as details on what each VIN checker is best for. To do a thorough review of these sites, we have considered features such as the decoder’s reputation, user-friendliness, extra features, trustworthiness, and many more. When choosing your preferred VIN checker, be sure to consider the tips shared in this article.