faq

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a VIN or vehicle identification number?

VIN stands for "vehicle identification number." It is the unique code assigned by manufacturers for a specific automobile. A VIN is the automotive equivalent of a social security number. No two vehicles in operation have the same VIN. A VIN is made up of 17 alphanumeric characters with each letter or number revealing identifying information about the vehicle including year, make, model, engine size, manufacturer, manufacturing location, and safety features. Along with providing vehicle specifications, a VIN can also be used to identify past or open recalls, registrations, warranty claims and status, insurance coverage and theft records.

Why is checking a VIN on a used car important?

If you're considering buying a used car, it's important to check the vehicle's VIN to help determine the quality and reliability of a used car. If the advertised VIN number does not match the make and model of an advertised vehicle, it can indicate a potential scam or illegal modifications. A standard third-party VIN check may also reveal important vehicle history information, including if it has been officially reported as stolen or if it has a clean title.

Can I look up my vehicle specs by VIN number?

Yes. AutoDataRecords Reports include key vehicle specifications, including trim, color, transmission type, drivetrain, engine type, towing capacity and more. These specs also show how the car compares to the average for its vehicle class.

Is a VIN always 17 digits?

Beginning in 1981, all vehicles are required to have a 17-digit VIN. Vehicles manufactured before 1981 have VINs that are between 11 and 17 characters. In 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standardized how VINs are formatted. Under the NHTSA standard, a VIN is composed of 17 characters consisting of numbers and letters, and each set of numbers has a specific meaning. A VIN never includes the letters I, O and Q to avoid being mistaken for 1 and 0 (zero).

Can VIN numbers be changed?

It's a federal crime to alter, remove or tamper with a vehicle's VIN number.

Is it a seller's side to provide the report?

It is a seller's responsibility to provide a report upon buyer's request.

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