Why is it worth to check a car with VIN before buying a vehicle?
Verification of a car for its service history, repairs and inspections is one of the most important steps before buying a used car. By checking the car VIN we have the opportunity to obtain a lot of important information about the car’s history that may influence our decision about the purchase of a vehicle.
What is VIN?
VIN, i.e. Vehicle Identification Number, is a number that identifies our car. It consists of 17 characters. According to the applied ISO standard, letters Q, O and I are not used in this number. This is to prevent any mistakes connected with digits “0” and “1”. By decoding the VIN number of a car, we can get lots of information about, among other things: manufacturer, place of production, model year. Furthermore, by checking the VIN number we will get information about the car’s history.
Depending on the model and age of a car, VIN number can be located in different places of the vehicle. You can find the VIN number in the following places:
- In the lower left corner of a scuttle panel (mainly cars after 2005 production)
- On the identification plate – usually riveted in the engine compartment
- Under the engine bonnet – stamped on the housing of the damper upper mounting
Where can I check VIN?
It depends on the vehicle’s country of origin, car brand and servicing a particular unit. In some countries, there are used vehicle databases. We can also get valuable information in the authorized service providers.
If a car comes from Scandinavian countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands or Sweden, the easiest and free method is to check the history of the vehicle in the local databases of the Ministry of Transport, where you can find information from periodic inspections of vehicles. For many car brands, among other things cars from the Volkswagen group, Renault, Opel, Mercedes or BMW, a detailed information database about repots and recorded mileages is kept by authorized service providers. Below you can find information about different options for checking a car with the use of the VIN body number.
Verification of VIN in used car information databases
For vehicles from the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden or Belgium, the information is usually obtained from data recorded during periodic technical inspections. The procedure of checking VIN in cars from these countries has already been described in our website.
A car from Denmark can be checked on the website of the Danish Traffic Safety Agency: http://trafikstyrelsen.dk. In order to get information, you just need to enter the VIN number or registration number. After entering data, in the results you will receive:
- Dates and recorded mileage during technical inspections
- Information about the results of inspections
- Defects found
The vehicle from Sweden can be checked for free on the basis of the registration number on this website: https://fu-regnr.transportstyrelsen.se. The recorded mileage of the vehicle can be found in "Mätarställning".
Cars from England can be checked at the official government website: www.check-mot.service.gov.uk by giving the registration number and the vehicle’s brand. It is harder to check a car from Belgium. For the verification of the mileage, you need the Car-Pass certificate number. In the Belgian database, there is information about the dates of visits in services and car workshops, as well as the recorded mileage. It is worth to ask the seller about such a certificate. The VIN vehicle database also exists in the Netherlands, but information from this database is deleted after unregistering the car. You will not always find in this database the recorded mileage. If you know the registration number, you can try to check the car at the following websites: ovi.rdw.nl and https://publiek.vwe.nl
In other European countries, among other things in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy or France, there are currently no publicly available vehicle information databases. In such cases, one of the most effective ways to check the car’s history (regardless of the country of the previous registration) is to check the VIN number in databases of the authorized service providers.
Verification of VIN in authorized workshops
Depending on the brand of a car, valuable information for potential future purchasers of these vehicles is collected in the databases of manufacturers. In most cases, by checking a car with VIN number, you will get information about:
- Dates of service inspections
- Recorded mileage during services
- Replaced parts and subassemblies
- Diagnosed defects
- Repairs carried out (also body repairing and painting works)
- Data such as engine and gearbox number, date of production and first registration date
- Number of owners and subsequent registration numbers
- Periodic replacements of oil and camshaft
- Country of origin
- Equipment version and equipment codes
- Factory-made paint code, etc.
Depending on the manufacturer and the specific copy, the number of data will vary. In many cases, this information provides the answer to important questions about vehicle servicing, mileage, as well as accident status.
Unfortunately, some manufacturers do not provide details about serviced cars, in some cases the presence of the vehicle owner is required and in other situations you can get information for a fee.
Are you not sure? Check VIN!
The purchase of a used car is a real lottery and often a costly risk. Any form of check, both a thorough inspection of a car at the point of sale and the verification of a vehicle are currently mandatory actions before the purchase.