How Do You Look up a VIN Number for Free?


Quick Answer

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Insurance Crime Bureau offer free VIN checks on their websites. To perform a VIN check, you need the VIN number, which can be obtained from the car or the title documentation.

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How Do You Look up a VIN Number for Free?
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Full Answer

Information provided through free services is limited but can be useful when purchasing a used vehicle. Free services may provide a variety of background information on the VIN. The NHTSA's website reports on safety issues for vehicles and indicates if a vehicle has been included in a specific recall or received the necessary repair. It also reports on customer complaints. The VIN check offered by the National Insurance Crime Bureau reports on cars with a current theft record and vehicles with a branded title that have been reported as salvaged.

Paid reports, such as those offered by Carfax, provide complete vehicle history reports, including accident and lien history. A vehicle history report can also reveal information such as past ownership, maintenance, structural damage, odometer readings and title history. These reports generally draw from a variety of databases and include an overall evaluation of the vehicle as well as specific incidents, dates and locations on record. Some reports offer a vehicle score indicating how the car compares to others of the same make, model or year.

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