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                  Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Reports and Used Car Title History Checks

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 ABOUT VIN NUMBERS

A VIN (short for "Vehicle Identification Number") is a seventeen-digit code that uniquely identifies a vehicle. Every car, truck, motorcycle, trailer, etc. that is built is assigned a VIN and DMVs and insurance companies use the VIN to keep track of which vehicle is which.

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In the mid 1950's American automobile manufacturers began stamping and casting identifying numbers on cars and their parts. The vehicle identification number has become referred to as the "VIN." The obvious purpose was to give an accurate description of the vehicle when mass production numbers were starting to climb in very significant numbers. Research has shown that early Vin's came in all sorts of variations which depended on the individual manufacturer at that time.

In the early 1980's the National highway Traffic Safety Administration (U.S. Dept. of Transport) required that all road vehicles must contain a 17 character VIN. This established the fixed VIN system for major vehicle manufacturers as it is known today. Thus, establishing a unique "DNA" style number for each unique vehicle which rolled off the assembly line.

The VIN encodes specific information about a vehicle, including country of manufacture, manufacturer, model, body style and even engine and other information. This was standardized in the early '80s and all major manufacturers follow the standard.

Common locations of the vehicle identification number vary and some may be as follows:

  • Firewall of the vehicle

  • Left hand inner wheel arch

  • Steering column

  • Radiator Support Bracket

  • Dash by windshield

  • Drivers door or post or passenger side

  • Guarantee & Maintenance Book *Vehicle documents

  • Machined Pad on front of engine

  • Component parts as listed above -eg- engine,frame, etc.


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USED CAR TIPS

Choosing the right vehicle - Choosing the type of vehicle you want and need is a very personal decision. Sport utility? Truck? Family Sedan? Sport Coupe? Convertible? Performance? There are several very good buying guides and magazines available to help you make that decision. They have a good section of used car reviews from selected manufacturers dating as far back as 1991. It's always a good idea to do your homework and do some research on the type of vehicle your looking for.

Are there any outstanding recalls? - For you and your passengers safety, it's always a good idea to find out if there are any outstanding recalls on your vehicle. Online databases such as www.nhtsa.dot.gov has recall information of all vehicle makes and models.

 
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