Ways to Get a Free VIN Check With CARFAX

Get a Free CARFAX Report With Our Used Car Listings

Shopping using CARFAX Used Car Listings is the only way to get a free, complete CARFAX Report. You can also take advantage of CARFAX data to find cars that are reported accident-free, have only one owner, and more.

Get a Free VIN Check With CARFAX Car Care

Sign up for a free CARFAX Car Care account and view your VIN’s vehicle service history, get alerts for upcoming service, find trusted service shops, and be the first to know about open recalls. CARFAX Car Care is the next best thing to getting a full CARFAX report, and it makes taking care of your car easier than ever.

Use CARFAX’s Free VIN Lookup Tools for Specific Issues

Check a Car’s Value by VIN

Most car valuation tools use general information to estimate value, including a vehicle’s year, make, and model. CARFAX’s History-Based Value Tool includes VIN-specific information, such as accident history and number of owners, to provide a more complete picture.

Why a CARFAX Vehicle History Report Is Important

When you order a CARFAX Vehicle History Report, you can unlock the following important information about the car:

This information can help you decide if the car is right for you and uncover any potential safety issues. You can have a look at a sample CARFAX report and see where CARFAX gets the data it includes in its Vehicle History Reports.

What Is a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)?

A vehicle identification number (VIN) is a unique code given to each vehicle in the United States. A VIN number lets you unlock vital information about the vehicle and its history.

Because each car has its own unique VIN, it’s easier to track a given car as it is bought, sold, and serviced. Auto shops use VINs to record vehicle service visits, manufacturers use VINs to issue recalls, and government agencies use VINs to identify vehicles when they’re registered, sold, or even stolen.

Since 1981, each new car has been given a standardized 17-digit code, which includes a serial number. Older cars may have VINs too, although they will not follow the standardized formula. The history of the VIN begins in the 1950s as automakers began stamping identification numbers on key parts and automobiles themselves. However, standardization did not come until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finalized the current method of tracking every car that rolls off an assembly line.

VIN Decoder How To

Characters within a VIN indicate a vehicle’s year, make, model, where it was manufactured, and more.

Decoding a VIN Explained

How Many Numbers and Letters in a VIN?

VINs on new cars have 17 characters, while VINs on older vehicles have 16 characters.

World Manufacturer Identifier

The first three digits of the VIN make up the World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI) number. However, if an automaker builds fewer than 500 vehicles per year, 9 will be the third digit and positions 12-14 (part of the production number) will make up the second part of the manufacturer’s WMI.

Country

The first digit in the VIN indicates the vehicle’s country of origin, or final point of assembly. Usually this is the country where the car was made, but in some European countries, it may be the country where the manufacturer is headquartered. Here are some examples:

Manufacturer

The second digit in the VIN indicates the manufacturer and the region where the vehicle was produced.

Vehicle Type

The third digit indicates the vehicle type or manufacturing division.

Vehicle Descriptor Section

Digits 4 through 9 make up the Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS).

Digits 4 through 8 identify the vehicle model, body style, engine type, transmission and more. Service shops commonly use this information to identify systems installed by the manufacturer so that they can properly service a car.

The ninth digit, or check digit, is used to detect invalid VINs based on a mathematical formula that was developed by the Department of Transportation.

Vehicle Identifier Section

Digits 10 through 17 make up the Vehicle Identifier Section (VIS).

VIN Model Year Chart

The tenth digit indicates the year. The following table shows model year by VIN.

Model Year Model Year Model Year Model Year
1980 A 1995 S 2010 A 2025 S
1981 B 1996 T 2011 B 2026 T
1982 C 1997 V 2012 C 2027 V
1983 D 1998 W 2013 D 2028 W
1984 E 1999 X 2014 E 2029 X
1985 F 2000 Y 2015 F 2030 Y
1986 G 2001 1 2016 G 2031 1
1987 H 2002 2 2017 H 2032 2
1988 J 2003 3 2018 J 2033 3
1989 K 2004 4 2019 K 2034 4
1990 L 2005 5 2020 L 2035 5
1991 M 2006 6 2021 M 2036 6
1992 N 2007 7 2022 N 2037 7
1993 P 2008 8 2023 P 2038 8
1994 R 2009 9 2024 R 2039 9

Assembly Plant

The 11th digit identifies the manufacturing plant in which the vehicle was assembled.  Each manufacturer has its own set of plant codes.

Production Number

Digits 12 through 17 indicate the production or serial number.  This number could indicate the sequence in which a vehicle came off the assembly line.  Since there is no fixed standard for this number, each manufacturer may use this number differently.

Where Do You Find the VIN?

 

Location of a VIN on a Car

Credit: CARFAX

Where Is the VIN on a Car?

The two most common places to find the VIN are the dashboard at the base of the windshield and the driver’s side door jamb sticker. Other places include on the engine, stamped on the frame inside the hood and sometimes in the trunk on a sticker in the spare tire area.

Where Is the VIN in Vehicle Paperwork?

The VIN is always on vehicle title documents and state vehicle registrations. It’s also typically on the vehicle identification sticker in the owner’s manual, on insurance policies, service records, and police reports for the vehicle. New cars have the VIN on price stickers.

What Other Types of Vehicles Have a VIN?

Do Motorcycles or ATVs Have VINs?

Yes. You can find them on the frame. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires all motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), or “four-wheelers” and “three-wheelers,” to display this 17-digit unique vehicle identification number on the frame. Check your owner’s manual for the exact location.

Do Bicycles Have a VIN?

No. Bikes are not motorized and are not registered with state DMVs. But they should have a manufacturer’s serial number which can be used to register a bike with a local municipality or the national bike registry.

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