The Importance of the VIN When Buying a Car from a Dealership

Jan 28, 2020 10:59 AM EST | Staff Reporter

Handshake before buying car

(Photo : Bigstock)

When someone is looking to buy a car, it is essential to have all the information available. This is where it is critical to know the vehicle's VIN, which stands for the vehicle identification number. There are a few common places where a driver can locate the VIN of his or her car. Some of the common locations include the driver's side dashboard, the driver's side door frame, the vehicle's registration card, the owner's manual, and the vehicle title. Prior to buying a vehicle, there are a few reasons why it is important to research the VIN.

The first reason why it is important to look up the VIN is for safety recalls. Sometimes, parts of the car (or the entire vehicle) will be recalled for safety reasons. Maybe one of the parts is defective. Perhaps something has to be replaced. Looking up the VIN will let someone know what parts (if any) have had to be replaced on the vehicle in the past. It will also let someone know whether or not those replacements have been made. Above all else, anyone who is thinking about buying a car needs to make sure the vehicle is safe. The VIN is an important step in making sure this happens.

Next, when buying a used car, the VIN will give someone important information regarding the past history of the car. For example, someone will be able to figure out how many accidents the vehicle has been involved in in the past, if any. The more accidents a car has been involved in, the more the vehicle has had to be repaired. With each accident, the value of the car will start to drop. People need to make sure they are getting a fair price on the car. Looking up the condition of the vehicle, as well as any accidents that car might have been involved in, is critical.

Finally, the VIN will also let someone know how many owners the car has had in the past. If someone is going to be the car's first owner, they can feel more confident in the overall state of the car. It might even be brand new. On the other hand, if the car has had multiple owners, it is important to ask why. Maybe someone knows they are buying a car that is ten or 15 years old and they expect this; however, if the car has had multiple owners in a short period of time, figure out why the car keeps getting offloaded so quickly. Maybe the car is a lemon. Perhaps there is something wrong with it. Make sure to figure out why the car is changing hands so quickly.

These are only a few of the many reasons why it is so important to look up the VIN of any car before buying it. The VIN will essentially give someone the car's life story. In this fashion, people can avoid getting surprised or shocked by anything in the vehicle's past.


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