Where Is a Car's VIN Number and Why It Matters
Your DNA can tell someone a lot about you. A VIN number, or Vehicle Identification Number, can do the same thing for your car. A vehicle identification number is a unique code which is given to a vehicle by its manufacturer in order to differentiate it from all other vehicles on the road. This code contains letters and numbers that represent information about your vehicle, such as where it was built and what type of vehicle it is. Each VIN is unique to each car, and no two are exactly the same. VIN numbers have been required on American vehicles since 1954, but beginning in 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began requiring that all vehicle identification numbers follow the same 17-character formula. Why is a VIN number important? These vehicle identification numbers are important, especially for used car buyers, because they can be used to check a vehicle history report, which includes information about whether the vehicle was in an accident or stolen, if it has been in a flood or deemed a “salvage vehicle,” along with other relevant information about a car’s past that may not be obvious from a visual inspection. RELATED: Is It Illegal to Sleep in Your Car?
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Where is the VIN number on a car?
Your vehicle’s VIN number will be noted on many different components of your vehicle, and in many different places…not all of them entirely obvious. For instance, VIN numbers can be found stamped onto your car’s chassis and within the engine bay. The three easiest spots to find your VIN number are as follows:
-Attached to the dashboard beneath the driver’s side corner of your windshield.
-On the driver’s side door, underneath the latch.
-On the driver’s side door jamb.
VIN placement varies between models and brands, but one of those locations should reveal your vehicle identification number. For current car owners, this number will also be listed on your vehicle’s title and registration documentation, as well as on your vehicle’s insurance paperwork.
If you’re buying a used car, make sure to find the vehicle identification number and use it to run a vehicle history report. The VIN check can help you detect serious issues with a car and make a better informed buying decision.
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Photo Credit: Honda, U.S. Department of Transportation