Posted in:

Where Do You Find the VIN Number?

© by

All vehicles have a unique number that identifies them and helps in distinguishing them from the rest. It’s as unique as human fingerprints, and that’s why it delivers the car’s specifics after decoding. 

Since it’s quite a long number, it’s not easy to memorize it, and that’s why you need to know where it is. Most of us will produce it on request, which means it’s not something you can keep close, like your ID card. 

The smart ones will write it down or take a picture using a smartphone. Before getting those details, though, where is that VIN located? Let’s see where you can find it and also verify since there are several sources. 

The VIN Looks

It’s a 17-digit code that is alphanumeric. Each number or letter has a meaning, and it relates to the car’s essential information. Getting it requires understanding what the characters signify and where to get the best decoder for the specifics. 

A VIN can contain all the numbers, i.e., 1-9, but certain alphabets are omitted. You should not see an I, O, or Q anywhere since it’s easy to mistake that with numbers 1 or 0. It’s vital to note that no two vehicles have the exact VIN. 

If you get two identical VINs, there is a fraud case to deal with, which may not end well. 

Where to Get the VIN 

There are various places to get the VIN when you need to fetch it. You should check in most or all the areas. Why? To ensure that it’s correct all through. A mismatch will mean you have already been duped. 

The Dashboard

This is the most common area to check for the VIN. The 17 digits are on the lower side of the dashboard on the driver’s side. It’s the position that the windshield meets the dashboard. The characters are on a metallic plate that you can comfortably read while outside the car. 

The Driver’s Door Pillar 

When you open the driver’s door, check the sticker on the door jamb. It’s easy to locate, and in some vehicles, you can find it on the passenger’s door. 

The Internal Places 

The VIN is also found under the hood, on the engine’s firewall and at times, you can find it on parts such as the transmission. It’s written there for security reasons. Newer models will also have a VIN on the electronic system. 

Since cars are often stolen and sold in parts, having a VIN on other places helps verify if the changed parts match your vehicle. Having a mismatch does not necessarily mean that something is stolen, especially if you (the car owner) witnessed the change. 

The VIN on Papers 

If you are not near your car, there are other places to find the VIN. You can check on the car’s logbook or the insurance documents. More paperwork includes the insurance documents or cards, the title registration form, and other registration papers. 

The VIN is also on the bill of sale or the invoice given to you by the dealer. It doesn’t matter if it’s a car dealer or a private individual selling the vehicle.  

The Importance of a VIN 

A VIN needs to be decoded to provide essential information about the vehicle. It will tell you everything from who the manufacturer is to the car’s serial number. 

A VIN also has a digit (the ninth one) to verify if it’s fake. Looking up a VIN also generates a history report which is essential if you are dealing with a used car. You can learn about maintenance, accidents, crime involvement, and past owners. 

Since 1981, vehicles have had a standard VIN, which should have 17 characters. Anything less or more means it’s either fake or the car was manufactured before 1981. It’s also worthy to note that some alphabets are not used when writing a VIN. They include I, O and Q to avoid confusion with 1 and 0. 

Decoding the VIN 

Numerous platforms will help you buy VIN lookup online. If you are lucky, you may get a free platform, although there are hindrances to that. All you need is an internet connection and a device to help in loading the website. 


In most cases, if not all, all you need is to enter the VIN on the input area provided, click on search and then wait for the report. The platforms will generate hidden information in every character and include the car’s history report. 

What’s the source of this information? It’s from authorities such as the NHTSA, DMV, insurance companies and car dealers. These entities get the data from the manufacturers and those who report about the vehicle. 

That could be the mechanic, the police if the car is involved in an accident or crime, or somebody reporting impaired driving. Paying for such information is much better since it’s confidential and the platforms supplying it are under strict guidelines. 

A free site is always limited on what it can show you, and you may end up providing more information via survey questions. In paid ones, the report is downloadable after you complete the transaction. 

If you are worried about just using any website, you can depend on the government or the local authorities’ platforms. However, a full report is given when you visit the offices, but that will take time. If you don’t mind being patent, you can go to a DMV or NHTSA office in your area.


You now know where to get the VIN and use it to get more information about the vehicle. It’s essential to check on different areas and documents to ensure that you are getting the same characters all through. 

After verifying, you can take a picture or write it down somewhere safe but reachable anytime you need to decode. The above information also suits those buying used cars. Always know where to find the VIN and how many characters should be there. 

It’s the best way to avoid fraud, especially if it’s your first car purchase.