How Do You Check a Car’s VIN?

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To check a car’s vehicle identification number or VIN, enter the 17-digit letters and numbers into a VIN identification website, such as Edmunds, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. The information revealed will be the buying history, service history and whether the car has even been reported in an accident.

The VIN can be found in several locations on a car: the driver-side doorjamb, under the windshield on the drivers side or located on the firewall on the engine.

Of the 17 letters and numbers that make up the VIN, the first three represent the World Manufacturer Identifier.

The first digit represents the country where the car was manufactured, whether in the United States or a foreign country. Each country has a specific letter assigned to it, such as the U.S. is always a 1, 4 or 5.

The second position identifies the manufacturer. It can be the same letter as the company that made it, such as “F” for Ford.

The third digit is part of the identification combined with the first two. It tells the buyer the type of car, such as a 1 may be a regular passenger car or C may stand for a truck.