back to articles | July 21, 2023 | Pat Lee

Categories: Tips & Insights For Car Buying Buying & Selling Cars

6 Reasons You Need a VIN Check When Buying a Used Car

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) comprises seventeen unique characters, a mixture of capital letters and numbers. Each vehicle made after 1981 has its own VIN, meaning no two cars have similar identification numbers.


A VIN check summarizes an entire used vehicle’s history. Therefore, checking the VIN is incredibly vital and should never be overlooked when buying a used car. Here are the top reasons you need a VIN check before buying a used car.

1. Helps determine the severity of collisions or accidents

A VIN lookup will let you know the details of any collision or accidents the car you wish to purchase has been through. It will reveal whether the vehicle has ever been involved in major or minor accidents. A VIN check will also show you all the details of the accident. Note that you cannot use the appearance of a certain car to judge the number of accidents it has been through.

2. To know whether there are any details of a recall

Ignoring vehicle recalls can be extremely dangerous, especially in issues pertinent to safety. For example, faulty electric coolant pumps, steering wheels, and airbags can lead to tragedy if left unprepared. The best thing about a VIN check is that it will help you know whether there is any recall and the type of recall involved if there is one.

3. Ascertain a vehicle’s actual mileage

Some dishonest auto dealers attempt to rip off prospective used car buyers by rolling back a vehicle’s mileage. Note that by rolling back a vehicle’s mileage, the sellers may attempt to convince buyers that a vehicle has a lower mileage than its actual number. Therefore, a VIN check comes in handy as it will save you from the dishonest auto dealer. It will present you with the actual mileage of the used car.

4. Find out whether a used car was stolen

Finding out that a used car you are driving was stolen can certainly make you cringe. Before purchasing a used car, it is vital to know whether the vehicle in question was stolen. Conducting a VIN check can help you know whether the used car you plan to buy was stolen or not.

5. Helps determine all previous owners

Before you buy a used car, knowing all its previous owners can be beneficial. The last thing anyone wants is to purchase a vehicle and find out later that it has passed through 10 previous owners. A VIN check will reveal all previous owners of the used car since it offers some information on a vehicle’s ownership history, including the name of the previous owner.

6. To know of any unseen flood damages

A car with flood damages may appear new before resale or shipping, but it may still have issues. A VIN check will help you know whether the car has been totaled due to flood damage. It will also reveal whether a flood damaged the vehicle’s mechanical components.


Buying a used car can be an exciting and cost-effective option, but it also comes with a share of risks. It is wise to conduct a VIN check as it can save you potential financial losses and help you find a reliable used car that meets your needs. There are numerous sites that offer VIN checks, giving detailed reports summarizing a car’s history.