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The Importance Of A VIN Check When Buying A Used Car

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The Importance Of A VIN Check When Buying A Used Car

Dennis Villela
August 13, 2013


While purchasing a new car is great, sometimes you may just not have adequate resources to obtain one; but the good thing is that you can go around it by buying a used car at a much lower price. Nonetheless, when buying used cars, you have to look beyond the cost; the car history is also very important and this is something that you can only get to know by checking the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The importance of this 17 digit number can not be overstated and this is due to a number of reasons.

A VIN is divided into three parts, and each section has its own significance. The first 3 numbers on a VIN are known as the World Manufacturer Identifier, and they disclose quite an amount of information about the vehicle. Through these digits, you can determine the type of vehicle, the manufacturer and the country in which it was made. If the car parts were obtained from different regions, the digits will reflect the country in which the assembly was done. This is very essential when buying a used car since it helps you ascertain that the manufacturer is exactly as the claimed by the seller

The Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS) refers to the next five digits which make up the second part of the VIN. Before obtaining a used vehicle, you must be sure about its model and style, and the VIS is designed to serve this exact purpose. The last number on the VIS is known as a check digit, and it is meant to help establish the accuracy of the VIN - it has nothing to do with the vehicle itself. This is therefore a very important number, seeing as it helps you know whether or not you are dealing with something genuine.

The tenth to the seventeenth digits comprise the Vehicle Identification Section, and they are designed to tell the model year of the car, as well as more specific information such as the assembly plant and the production sequence number. Even as each of the different parts of the VIN are important, the complete number plays the biggest role because it can enable you get hold of the vehicle history report which will tell you everything about the car.

Besides, in case you are dealing with a vehicle that has been previously affected by water damage from flooding, you can also find out through the VIN - the same applies if someone tries to sell you a vehicle that has been reported stolen. Although there are many genuine used car dealers, you can never be guaranteed about the authenticity of the vehicle until you have the Vehicle Identification Number. Therefore, before you put in your hard-earned money into that purchase, be sure to confirm the VIN.


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