A VIN can be helpful to five important groups

A vehicle identification number (VIN) is to a car what a fingerprint is to a person — a unique identifier. Its uniqueness makes it easy to track who owns, or has owned, any given vehicle. Here are five important ways VINs can be helpful.

1. A VIN can help people buying a used car avoid unscrupulous sellers.

While the far majority of sellers are legit, it’s good to be cautious. A VIN decode service can determine whether a car has been reported as flood-damaged or declared a total loss, in which case it may have structural and safety issues. The used car seller might tell the buyer the car was only driven by grandma to church on Sunday when, in truth, it was once declared a total loss. The fact that each VIN is unique makes it easy to track down this information. Running a check of the VIN before plunking down top dollar for what is a highly flawed vehicle can save a used car buyer a lot of many and more than a few headaches.

2. VINs helpful law enforcement determine ownership.

A VIN can verify rightful ownership. If a car has been stolen, repainted and resold, the VIN is the only thing that can provide proof that the current owner of the vehicle is not its rightful owner. What about the thief who steels a car and scrubs the vin? Because a VIN uses one of its unique string of 17 characters as a security key, law enforcement can also tell if someone has tampered with it.

3. VINs provide helpful information to car enthusiasts and collectors.

Because the VIN authenticates the vehicles date and place of manufacture, a check VIN number service can assure a collector he’s getting exactly what he’s paying for.

4. VINs help carmakers pinpoint production problems.

Because the last six characters in a VIN show a vehicle’s location in a production run, it can be used to pinpoint where in the run a problem has occurred. If a manufacturer produces 300,000 units of a certain model, and there was a problem with 20,000 of them, it can use the VIN to save it from having to recall or repair all 300,000. That saves the manufacturer and its dealers a lot of time and money.

5. VINs allow mechanics to understand a vehicle’s history.

Service and repairs conducted outside of a dealer network can by tracked when these outside sources record the VIN of every vehicle they work on. It only takes a quick car history search to find out what repairs have been made on a vehicle and how well it has been maintained.

A VIN has many useful qualities. It was wise for industry regulators to require that all vehicles built in North America since 1981 have one. For more information, you may want to consult with CarProof for their resources and insights.

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