Before the 1950s, car manufacturers would usually have their own means of identifying vehicles. However, the problem with this is that it created a lot of variances and discrepancies in the market, as many scammers began to create false vehicle ownership records.
In an effort to reduce the crime rate, the international 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) was established. The added benefit of these unique identifiers is that they can also allow you to view the car’s history by simply inputting the 17-digit code into a VIN decoder.
For instance, you can conduct a free VIN check with VIN Check Free, and within minutes, you will have a complete breakdown of the vehicle’s specs, its current condition, and much more.
However, while many online VIN sites will often try to claim that they’re free, most of them end up surprising you with premium fees and costs to access detailed VIN reports. So, we decided to review our top three free VIN check sites that are both reliable and legitimate.
1. VIN Check Free – Offers comprehensive vehicle history reports
2. VINNumberLookup – Provides fast results on all VIN lookups
3. FreeVINCheck – Easy-to-use interface that simplifies VIN checks
You can feel free to read more about these sites and find out what makes them our best picks in 2023.
1. VIN Check Free
VIN Check Free is the number-one go-to tool for anyone looking to decode VINs and get detailed background reports on any vehicle. This is because the site collects information from a wide variety of sources, such as public databases, salvage auctions, insurance companies, government agencies, scrap yards, and towing agencies.
As a result, it is able to generate highly-detailed VIN check reports that cover an extensive range of areas such as the car’s specs, maintenance history, mileage, damage history, past sales records, and more.
The site allows you to download the report in PDF without having to pay any fees to access the information. Not only that, but you can also do a license plate lookup via VIN Check Free for added information. This makes it one of the best sites for those who may be in need of multiple lookup options.
- An extensive network of sources
- Offers multiple vehicle lookup options.
- Highly-detailed vehicle background reports
VINNumberLookup is a great choice for users that want to access fast results on a vehicle’s VIN. The service is partnered with multiple partner sites as well as auto industry agencies like the NHTSA to provide information such as ownership status, accident history, recall details, safety data, and more.
However, the main highlight of this site is its advanced search engine, which is able to generate reports in just a matter of minutes. From detailed information on salvage titles, open lines, service reports, repairs, and recalls, VINNumberLookup has access to all this information.
On top of that, the platform provides users with a simple interface that is able to quickly guide them to the information they need without much hassle. The only downside is that it does not have an extensive database when compared to sites such as VIN Check Free, so the report data may be limited at times.
- Instant VIN check results
- Easy-to-use interface
- Advanced search engine
FreeVINCheck is another useful online VIN decoder that can provide you with a fair amount of information on a vehicle. It delivers a free and easy-to-use basic VIN search service that does well to provide accurate and up-to-date reports, as it is linked to a wide range of online databases and auto-related companies that range from car suppliers to importers to retailers.
- Full user privacy and confidentiality
- Accurate and up-to-date VIN reports
Where Can I Locate The Car’s VIN code?
VIN numbers will usually be placed in different locations, depending on the manufacturer, as well as the specific car model. However, some of the most common places that you can expect to find the VIN include:
- Dashboard near driver’s side
- Under the engine hood
- Insurance documents
- Car title & registration papers
Once you locate the VIN, conducting a VIN check should be a top priority, especially if you have yet to buy a used car. With the information that any of these top three sites can provide, you should be able to avoid being scammed into purchasing an unsafe, stolen, or damaged car. After all, it is not uncommon to find sellers trying to alter the odometer readings or even failing to reveal any hidden gremlins in the car.
Tips on Choosing the Right VIN Check Site
When choosing a VIN check site, there are a few key things that you should always look for before making a final decision. Some of these main factors include:
#1. Features & Benefits
You should always take the time to compare different VIN decoders online in order to find the one that best suits your needs. Some can offer you more accuracy than others, while others can provide you with more information on a vehicle. It all depends on what you are looking to find out, so decide what you value more, and then you can proceed with picking a VIN site.
#2. User Testimonials
Another practical way to ensure that you make the right choice is to read reviews of the sites that you want to use, which should provide you with a good idea of how other users’ experiences were with the service. You should mostly focus on picking a VIN site that is reliable, accurate, and easy to use.
#3. Costs and Fees
As mentioned before, many VIN check sites often end up requiring you to pay a premium fee to get a detailed vehicle background report. You should focus on picking a VIN check site that can provide you with a fair amount of information on a vehicle without requiring you to sign up or pay any fees.
#4. Reliable Customer Support
You should aim to choose a tool with a reliable customer support team that can provide you with assistance should you ever have any inquiries about the service. The key to this is finding a VIN check service that offers quick responsiveness, so you should check to see which company is able to facilitate 24/7 support.
Before you purchase a used car, it is important that you at least conduct a quick VIN check to verify that the information the seller is providing is accurate. And while some VIN check services are better than others, the sites on this list are all legitimate and can be trusted to provide you with the information you need. Also, since they are all free to use, it’s safe to say that you don’t have anything to lose by using them to decode a vehicle’s VIN today.