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Illinois VIN Search

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How To Run a Free Illinois VIN Check

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Illinois VIN Lookup and VIN Check FAQs

What is a VIN or vehicle identification number?

VIN stands for "vehicle identification number." It is the unique code assigned by manufacturers for a specific automobile. A VIN is the automotive equivalent of a social security number that helps the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) and dealerships identify a vehicle. No two vehicles in operation have the same VIN.

A VIN is made up of 17 alphanumeric characters with each letter or number revealing vehicle information 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, vehicle registration history, altered odometer readings, warranty claims and status, insurance coverage, and theft records.

Why is checking a VIN on a used Illinois car important?

If you're considering buying a used car, it's important to check the vehicle's VIN to help determine the quality and reliability of a used car. If the advertised VIN number does not match the make and model of an advertised vehicle, it can indicate a potential scam, fraud, or illegal modifications. A standard third-party VIN check may also reveal important vehicle history information, including if it has been officially reported as stolen or if it has a clean title.

The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) works with Insurance companies, law enforcement, and the state of Illinois DMV or RMV to verify title transfers and new vehicle owners. If you're buying a new or used vehicle the VIN is required to get a license plate number, or to renew your vehicle registration when using a Illinois DMV or RMV [dot] gov website or visiting a DMV or RMV office in person. If you need to locate it, the VIN is usually found on the driver's side of the dash when looking through the windshield or in the driver's door jamb area (see more details below). It can also be found on your vehicle title, registration card, or proof of insurance.

How do I look up a VIN number to get a free iSeeCars VIN Report?

You can sign up to get 5 free lookups and access 5 full VIN reports every month. Low-cost paid subscription plans are also available if you want to see more reports.

Here's where you can look up one of our free VIN reports:

  • Desktop computer or mobile website - Free VIN lookup
  • iSeeCars free mobile Android and iOS VIN apps - Download our app so you can quickly scan a vehicle's barcode and instantly view the VIN report
  • All used car listings on the iSeeCars website - Click the "Full Report" button to see the report
  • Google Chrome extension - Automatically generates our iVIN report when a VIN is found on any website you're browsing, like Craigslist and car shopping sites
How can I check a Illinois car's vehicle history report for free?

Some iSeeCars reports include a free vehicle history when it's provided by the vehicle's seller. These CARFAX or AutoCheck vehicle history reports provide helpful information about a car's history, including reported accidents, the number of previous owners, and a reported salvage title or total loss insurance claim. Knowing the free vehicle history info helps you better understand the condition of the vehicle and anticipate future problems.

Can I look up my vehicle specs by VIN number?

Yes. iSeeCars iVIN Data Reports include key vehicle specifications, including trim, color, transmission type, drivetrain, engine type, towing capacity and more. These specs also show how the car compares to the average for its vehicle class.

Can I check safety recalls and recall information for a VIN number in Illinois?

Yes. Each iSeeCars iVIN Data Report includes a free recall check that indicates if there are any open or past recalls for the vehicle. The VIN report also links to the NHTSA database, which identifies (a) if there is an open recall for any new or used cars and (b) information about all past recalls for the vehicle, including 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 seller to address the recall notice because it will likely involve recall repairs.

Is a VIN always 17 digits?

Beginning in 1981, all vehicles are required to have a 17-digit VIN. Vehicles manufactured before 1981 have VINs that are between 11 and 17 characters.

In 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standardized how VINs are formatted. Under the NHTSA standard, a VIN is composed of 17 characters consisting of numbers and letters, and each set of numbers has a specific meaning. A VIN never includes the letters I, O and Q to avoid being mistaken for 1 and 0 (zero).

Can VIN numbers be changed?

It's a federal crime to alter, remove or tamper with a vehicle's VIN number.

How can I check a vehicle from Illinois for past theft or salvage issues?

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) can track theft and salvage history through a VIN check. These services are free and can be used alongside a vehicle history report to verify a car's current and past title status.

Does Illinois have a VIN check system?

Every state has a Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) website offering a range of vehicle-related services. These can include online registration renewal, personalized plate applications, and requests for title and registration history. You should know that dozens of businesses have created websites attempting to mimic the official Illinois DMV or RMV site. To be certain you're visiting the actual Illinois state-operated DMV or RMV site, look for a ".gov" in the URL.

If you're having trouble checking a Illinois VIN at the Illinois DMV or RMV site you can also visit the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) site. States work with the NMVTIS to track title transfers across state lines. This reduces vehicle theft and fraud while improving the rate of stolen vehicle recovery and the ability to track vehicle titles with a theft, salvage or flood history.

Does Illinois offer a tool to look up state inspection history?

While some states provide a tool to look up vehicle inspection records and see how often a vehicle has passed state inspection or emissions tests, Illinois does not. Typically, a vehicle history report from CARFAX or Autocheck should show a vehicle's state emissions inspection results.

Does Illinois provide a title / lien status check?

Illinois offers a tool to check the title status of a vehicle by inputting a VIN. This will confirm it currently has a Illinois title and identify if there is a lien on the title, which means the title is being held as collateral on a loan. A car can be sold with a lien on the title, but it requires the buyer to work with the seller to pay off the loan before the title can be transferred.

Where Can I Find a Car's VIN?

The Dashboard

The VIN is usually located on the dashboard of the driver's side of a vehicle. It can be found by standing outside of the car and looking at the corner where the dashboard meets the windshield.

Door jamb
The Door Jamb

If you don't see the VIN on the dashboard, 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.

How To Decode VIN Number Characters

There are 17 digits or characters in each vehicle's unique VIN. Here is what each VIN digit represents to help you better understand your vehicle.

How to decode vin
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