Written by MyHow
Get a Free VIN CheckThe best way to check on a car’s history before purchase is by utilizing a feature called its VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number. Each car has a unique cereal number that allows you to distinguish its particular type and specifications, and track the vehicle’s previous records. Information you can gain from the VIN includes specifications, title brands, recalls, and theft reports. Since there are so many obvious benefits to obtaining info from the VIN, it normally costs a small fee. But here are three ways to get the info you need for free.
Vehicle Specs, Fuel Economy, and Pricing
Record the vehicle’s VIN (refer to the picture below for its location). Enter the number into the website VIN Check Pro at www.vinchecker.net. This website will not give you a free full vehicle history report (that’s illegal). But it can tell you lots of information, including: options, fuel efficiency, NHTSA and IIHS crash test ratings, and various specifications.
Theft and Fraud Records
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has a website that allows you to ensure there is no illegal activity surrounding a vehicle. At www.nicb.org you will find free reports on cars with records of theft or with outstanding title brands. They do not report on whether or not the car in question as a lien, so the best way to check that is with the DMV. Verify that the title does in fact belong to the person selling the car.
Helpful Hint: A vehicle made after 1981 with fewer or more than 17 numbers in its VIN is very unlikely. That is a good indicator that the VIN number has been faked, so it would be best to avoid the purchase.
Remember: The NICB only has information on thefts or fraud that has been recorded. Also, it can take up to 6 months for them to obtain this information. Since this method of checking is not foolproof, it never hurts to follow up on a car at the DMV.
The National Highway Transport Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a recall website to help prevent buyers from purchasing recalled cars. Go to http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchSafetyIssues and find the “Vehicles” tab. Select you model, year, and make from the drop down menus that appear. Any recalls will appear under the “Recalls” tab, available for your perusal.
If you are satisfied with all three of these categories, you can feel more peace of mind when purchasing a vehicle. And all of the information came to you free of charge.