When you’re buying a second-hand car, there are a number of factors which can really affect your choice; these include the mileage, equipment, technical condition and number of previous owners, to name but a few. This is why more and more buyers decide to check the VIN number before they make their choice.
The VIN number is a vehicle ID; every vehicle has a unique VIN number. You can find it in the documentation (the registration book) and on the body of the car. Depending on the make and model, it can be found on the firewall, on the floor next to the passenger seat, on the left side of the dashboard, etc. Providing the VIN number while selling the car is becoming increasingly popular; in fact, some sellers have already started including the VIN in their ads, next to the description of the car. If the VIN number is NOT provided in the ad, you should definitely ask for it; if you decode the VIN, it will tell you a lot about the car you are about to buy.
What does the VIN number tell you about the car?
If you have the VIN number, it can tell you a lot about the car, from the make and model, model year, date of first registration, engine type and fuel, to such interesting information as the market the car was manufactured for. The VIN will also tell you what the car was originally equipped with: the colour of paint and upholstery, number of air bags, electric and/or heated windows and mirrors, heated seats, audio systems, navigation, etc.
Not only this; the VIN number has more to offer to the potential buyer. Decode the VIN and the report you will receive will also tell you the history of the second-hand car you want to buy. This means that you will be able to check if the car had an accident or crash, if theft was reported, how many owners it had, and even whether it was used by natural persons or companies. If the car you are checking was registered as a taxi, this, too, will be included in the report. Checking the VIN will also allow you to find out what mileage was previously registered for it.
How should you use the information received in the reports?
When you have the VIN report, you will be able to make sure the car you have found is worth buying and there is nothing the seller is trying to hide from you. How often does a car which is advertised as undamaged turn out to be skilfully repaired following a crash? You can also come across an English car which has been made to look and drive as if it was originally manufactured to drive on the right.
These are just two examples of the techniques sellers use to sell you a lemon. You can also buy a car which was stolen (not only will you lose it when this is discovered but you may become a suspect in the investigation, too), one which was clocked, or even one that has been made of three different vehicles in the past. When you have a VIN report, you have a reliable source of data you can compare with what you can actually see when checking the car and its documents; this alone will help you eliminate the majority of risks every buyer of a second-hand car should watch out for.
Where can you check the VIN number?
How do you check what the VIN number says about the car you are planning to buy? There are two ways you can do this. You can check the VIN number using a report provider such as autoDNA.com; their database includes information gathered from a number of databases worldwide. Whether you are buying a car from a dealer or importing it from Canada or the USA, it only takes a few minutes for you to find out if it’s worth your time at all. All you need to have to check the car in autoDNA.com databases is the VIN number.