Q:

What information can be obtained from a free VIN search?

A:

Quick Answer

A vehicle identification number check produces important information such as the ownership history of a vehicle, the history of past maintenance and repairs, and the car's accident history. People also carry out VIN checks to look for current reports of the car being stolen.

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Full Answer

Authorities give each car or truck a VIN. before leaving the factory. The code is a unique combination of 17 numbers and letters that is associated with the vehicle regardless of who owns it. Because the code is unique, it is possible to do online checks to find out any relevant piece of information about a certain vehicle, including finding out if the car was ever damaged or involved in crashes. Finding out if or when the vehicle changed ownership is also easy.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau has also a free online VIN checking service, available at nicb.org, where users can check for police reports of vehicles being stolen but not recovered or to find out if insurance companies have declared the car a salvage vehicle, meaning it's a total loss after inspection. Several free online sites offer general VIN check services but users may need to pay a small fee to access more detailed reports.

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