Safe Car Purchase — Nuances and Specs

If you decide to buy a used car, then it will not be superfluous to check how legal and legitimate your future purchase will be. The simplest way to answer these questions yourself is to check the VIN code of the automobile. Luckily, you can easily run the check online and use dedicated services for this purpose. In this post, we will talk about the main specs of the check as well as the information you can expect to get.

What Is the VIN Code?

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The VIN code, also known as the vehicle identification number, is a unique sequence of characters, a serial number used to mark various modes of transport during production and is used to recognize and identify it. You can order dedicated services, such as FAX-VIN, to check this code for you.

Nowadays, the VIN code is used in power-driven vehicles:

  • cars;
  • electric vehicles;
  • hybrids;
  • buses;
  • minibusses;
  • vans;
  • trucks.

Besides, trailed vehicles also have their unique VIN code:

  • tractors;
  • self-propelled vehicles;
  • tram-trains;
  • buses-trailers;
  • trolleybus trains;
  • park road trains.

Mopeds are not an exception as they also have a unique code storing the history of the vehicle:

  • motorbikes;
  • mopeds with pedals and gearbox;
  • scooters;
  • electric mopeds.

Until 1954, there was no unified system for standardizing vehicles, which caused many difficulties in the process of identifying vehicles that were stolen or suffered as a result of accidents, arson, or natural disasters. In 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (US government agency) developed and implemented uniform requirements for vehicle identification numbers.

What Is the Structure of the VIN Code?

Today, any means of transport must have a VIN code. It is a sequence of 17 characters, which can include only Arabic numbers and letters of the Latin alphabet, with a few exceptions. To prevent confusion, its structure does not include the following letters:

  • I (i) — to exclude the possibility of confusing it with 1 (unit);
  • O (o) — to prevent confusion with zero (0);
  • Q (q) — for a similar reason as the letter O (o).

The sequence of the VIN code is, in turn, divided into several consecutive parts, each of which encodes a specific feature of the vehicle. In total, three similar parts are distinguished. They are divided into pieces and carry the following information:

  • The first part encodes the country code and the manufacturer’s name;
  • The second part is descriptive. It contains information about the type and characteristics of the vehicle;
  • The third part is the recognition part of the VIN code. It covers the year of production, the plant where the transport was assembled, as well as the serial number of the vehicle.

You can find relatively up-to-date information about the meanings of various components of this code. Decrypt it to have a full report of a car you want to purchase.

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Where Can You Find the VIN Code?

The place on the body or any other part of the vehicle with the VIN code is regulated by the international ISO 4030 standard. In addition to being added to a corresponding piece of the vehicle, it is also recorded in the vehicle passport. As a rule, there are several different locations of a VIN code on most modern cars and motorcycles:

  • On the engine component;
  • Under the hood;
  • Under the automobile floor trim (from the driver’s side);
  • On the driver’s door pillars;
  • In a special window (next to the windshield from the driver’s side);
  • Under the spare wheel.

In some cases, you can also find the identification code on a car wheel. Besides, it is sometimes directly attached as a special plate to the engine. Be aware that you may need to remove the boot cover to access it (this location is especially typical for a variety of motorcycles).

img source: cloudfront.net

Why Do You Need a VIN Code?

The main purpose of this code is to facilitate the identification of a lost, stolen, or damaged vehicle as a result of any accidents. The plates containing this special character sequence are made of a titanium alloy that can withstand high temperatures and successfully resist corrosion for a long time. Thus, this code can help in the investigation of crimes related to the theft of a vehicle, an attempt to change the VIN code in one or several places on a vehicle, illegal sale of vehicles, and many others. It also helps to find out detailed information about previous car owners and get a full report of the car “life cycle.”

How Is the VIN Code Checked?

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It is only possible to run the check of the VIN code if you have access to the database of VINs of registered cars. Such a check allows you to achieve fast and reliable results in a few clicks. Another way of reading VIN codes is an independent decrypting of the combinations. For an adequate VIN analysis, you need to have an appropriate grid, which will contain information about the meaning of each symbol. Having it in front of you, it will not be a problem to decrypt any symbol and have an idea about a vehicle being under investigation.

Final Say!

As you may have already understood, the VIN code is an important piece of information that you should never forget about. This special combination of characters and numbers not only covers the information on various parameters, manufacturers, and other specifications of a vehicle. It can also help you to identify significantly damaged, stolen, or “problematic” vehicles.

Therefore, the VIN code check is a process that must be performed by experienced professionals who have access to databases containing correct and up-to-date encodings for each of the 17 characters. Turn to professionals to reduce all the risks associated with a car purchase. So if you lack knowledge or experience, it is better to order expert assistance with VIN code decryption. Thus, you can be sure to get 100% accurate and up-to-date information about the “target” vehicle.

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