Free V.I.N.Report

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Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) Every car and light truck model year 1981 or later has a unique 17-character VIN number. A VIN has many important uses, including unlocking important information about a vehicle's history.

VINs also have many other important uses. For example, service shops use VINs to identify the engine, transmission and brake systems installed by manufacturers so that they can properly service vehicles. Law enforcement agencies use VINs to identify and recover stolen cars and car parts. Auto manufacturers use VINs when they resolve safety recalls. Using VINs in the Car Buying Process There are many things a seller may not disclose to you, such as a salvage title, flood damage or an odometer rollback. Any of these and other issues can affect the safety, performance and even value of a used car.

To make it more difficult for you to learn a vehicle's history, crooked sellers may list the wrong VIN in an online vehicle posting or may not be willing to provide the VIN at all. Scam artists may also alter the vehicle's title documents to hide potential problems.

Use these tips to protect yourself from fraud as you shop for a used car:

Get the VIN from the seller or off of the vehicle itself. If the seller refuses to disclose the VIN, that could be a sign that they do not want you to learn the car's history. Get the vehicle's history. Ask the seller for a Vehicle History Report. If the seller does not provide it, use the VIN to purchase a the vehicle's identity. Physically match the VIN provided by the seller to the VINs on the vehicle, the vehicle's title documents, and the Report. If any of the VINs do not match, you may want to walk away from the deal. After you buy a car, you will need the VIN to insure the car and to register it at your local Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Tip: When registering the car, make sure to report the correct VIN and an accurate odometer reading. This information is recorded by the DMV and may appear on the report Report for your vehicle. active

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