Free VIN Report, VIN Decoder, & VIN Check for Used Cars
How to Run a Free VIN Check and Free VIN DecoderThere’s a lot to consider when purchasing a used vehicle, which is why it’s important for consumers to have the right information to help them make an informed purchasing decision. The iSeeCars free VIN decoder tool provides important information and is a must-have resource for shoppers looking for a used vehicle.
Vehicle history reports, while important, provide just some of the information consumers should know before buying a used car. To help answer all of the important questions car shoppers should ask before making their purchase, there’s the extensive iSeeCars VIN Report. The free VIN check report complements standard history reports to equip shoppers with all the data they need to decide if their prospective purchase is a smart one.
The VIN reports are Powered by iSeeCars' renowned data and research which have been featured in many major media outlets such as Forbes, Fortune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Automotive News, Consumer Reports, and CNBC.
What Does the iSeeCars VIN Report Provide and How Is It Different than Other VIN Check Reports?Standard free VIN check websites that decode VINs only provide basic vehicle specs and odometer readings. iSeeCars comprehensive free VIN Report digs far deeper than a standard VIN check to provide a comprehensive analysis that includes up to 200 data points such as:
- Pricing – Estimates the car’s fair value based on the local market and maps similar cars for sale within the area to help users see if there are better deals.
- Selling History – Provides records of price changes and the history of the places where the car was previously listed and sold.
- Condition – analysis of mileage on the odometer, positives and negatives about the vehicle, and other resources like theft record, recalls and vehicle history (when provided by the dealer).
- Dealer Scorecard – compares dealers’ price competitiveness, responsiveness, and transparency.
- Depreciation – estimates how much the car will depreciate over 1, 3, and 5 years and in comparison with similar cars.
- Supply Analysis –Tells users the number of similar vehicles for sale within the local area. A car with many similar cars could give shoppers bargaining power.
- Best Time to Buy – as with houses, cars also exhibit seasonal fluctuations. We analyze when or what months may get you a better price.
- Theft Record – Checks if a vehicle has been reported as stolen on the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) database.
- Free Recall Check – Checks if there are any open recalls that haven’t been fixed and notifies of any past recalls.
- Title/Lien Info – Provides title/lien info free of charge depending on the state DMV.
- Vehicle History - Free CARFAX or Autocheck reports when provided by the seller.
Why is Checking a VIN Number on a Used Car Important?If you’re considering buying a used car, it’s important to check the vehicle’s VIN to determine if a used car is suspect or not. If the advertised VIN number does not match up with the make and model of the advertised vehicle, it can indicate a potential scam. A standard VIN check can also reveal important vehicle history information including if it has been stolen and other detailed information about the car including if it has a clean title.
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What is a VIN or Vehicle Identification Number?VIN stands for “vehicle identification number,” and it is the unique code assigned by manufacturers for a specific automobile. A VIN is the automotive equivalent of a social security number; no two vehicles in operation have the same VIN. A VIN is made up of 17 alphanumeric characters with each letter or number revealing identifying information about the vehicle including year, make, model, engine size, manufacturer, manufacturing location, and safety features. Along with providing vehicle specifications, a VIN can also be used to identify past or open recalls, registrations, warranty claims and status, insurance coverage, and theft records.
Where Can I Locate a Car’s VIN?The VIN is most commonly located on the dashboard on the driver’s side of the vehicle. It can be viewed by standing outside the car and looking on the corner of the dashboard where it meets the windshield. If the VIN cannot be found there, it can be found by opening the driver’s side door and looking inside the door jamb. A VIN is also included on a vehicle’s registration, vehicle title, and insurance card.
Decoding the Characters of a VIN:Since 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standardized how VINs were assigned. Under the NHTSA standard, a VIN is composed of 17 characters (consisting of numbers and letters) with each set of numbers having a specific meaning. A VIN will never include the letters I, O, and Q to avoid being mistaken for 1 and 0.
VIN Digits - How to Decode a VIN Number:There are 17 digits or characters that together comprise each vehicle’s unique VIN. Here is what each digit represents to help you better understand your motor vehicle.
Digit 1: Country of Origin
The first digit specifies where the vehicle was manufactured. Here are the most common country codes and their corresponding countries:
1: United States
4: Foreign vehicle made in the USA
Digits 2-3: Manufacturer and Division
The second digit identifies the specific vehicle’s manufacturer, which is often the first letter of the manufacturer’s name, such as ‘B’ for BMW vehicles. Some common examples include:
G: General Motors (Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac, Buick)
However, some characters can stand for multiple manufacturers, so the third digit combines with the first two to indicate the specific manufacturing division. For example, JM1 can designate Mazda, while JMB can designate Mitsubishi. The first three digits together are known as the World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI).
Digits 4-8: Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS)
Characters 4 through 8 identify the specific details about the car’s vehicle type.
- Digit 4: Safety features and information specific to the model
- Digit 5: The vehicle’s series
- Digits 6 and 7: Bodystyle and body type
- Digit 8: Engine size
The ninth digit is used to detect incorrect VINs based on a mathematical formula from the Department of Transportation.
Digit 10: Model Year
The tenth digit represents the vehicle’s model year. The letters B through Y designate model years 1981 to 2000, with the letters I, O, Q, U, Z excluded. The numbers 1 through 9 indicate the model years 2001 through 2009. In 2010, the alphabet cycles through again beginning with A and will last through the year 2030. Then numbers 1 through 9 will cycle through until 2039.
|Code||Model Year||Code||Model Year||Code||Model Year|
The eleventh digit indicates the vehicle’s assembly plant. Each vehicle manufacturer has its own set of plant codes.
For example, a Toyota VIN will have a numeric character or D, K, or J if it was manufactured at one of the automaker’s Japanese plants. R stands for its Lafayette, Indiana plant; S stands for Princeton, Indiana; and U designates Georgetown, Kentucky. These are just some of many of Toyota’s manufacturing plants.
Digits 12-17: Production Sequence Numbers
These final digits are the production line numbers which represent the vehicle’s unique serial number.
Digits 10-17 are collectively known as the Vehicle Identifier Section (VIS).
Are Free Vehicle History Reports Included in the iSeeCars VIN Report?Some iSeeCars reports link to free vehicle history reports such as CARFAX or AutoCheck that provide critical information about a vehicle’s past: including if its been in an accident, its number of previous owners, and if it has a salvage title. By getting a free vehicle history summary report by VIN, consumers will better understand the condition of the vehicle and will be able to better anticipate future problems.
Does a VIN Check Include Safety Recalls and Recall Information?Yes. The iSeeCars VIN Lookup tool includes a Free Recall Check that links to the NHTSA database that will identify if there is an open recall for any new or used cars. It also includes information about all past recalls that affected the vehicle. This can include safety-related recalls such as those involving Takata airbags. Along with being a safety hazard, unresolved recalls including emissions recalls can result in a failed vehicle inspection. If a vehicle has an open recall, ask the dealership to address the recall notice which will likely involve recall repairs.
How Do I Run a VIN Lookup to Get the Free iSeeCars VIN Report?Our report can be accessed via the iSeeCars VIN Report app, available for iOS and Android, which allows users to instantly view the comprehensive report after scanning the vehicle’s VIN barcode. (If the VIN located on the windshield does not have a barcode, check the VIN located inside the driver’s side door.) Users get 10 free lookups to access 10 full reports. Paid subscription plans are also available for high-volume users. It can also be viewed by entering a VIN number at https://www.iseecars.com/vin, by clicking the “Full Report” button on all used car listings on iSeeCars.com, or via the Google Chrome extension, which automatically generates an iSeeCars VIN Report for each VIN it detects on any website such as Craigslist, Cargurus, Autotrader, Cars.com where you’re browsing a car.
FAQsCan I look up my vehicle specs by VIN number?
Each iSeeCars VIN Report includes a vehicle’s key specifications including its trim, color, transmission type, drivetrain, engine type, towing capacity, and more. These specs are found below the VIN Report Summary and also show how they compare to the average for their vehicle class.
Is a VIN always 17 digits?
Beginning in 1981, all vehicles are required to have a 17 digit VIN. Vehicles manufactured before VINs were standardized in 1981 have VINs that are between 11 and 17 characters.
Can I check recalls by VIN number?
Each iSeeCars VIN Report includes a Free Recall Check that will indicate if there are any open or past recalls for the vehicle. The report also links to the NHTSA website for more information.
Can VIN numbers be changed?
It’s a federal crime to alter, remove, or tamper with a vehicle’s VIN number.