Your car’s VIN (vehicle identification number) is an important tool for keeping track of your car’s history. Each car gets assigned its own VIN, which is essentially that car’s fingerprint. The VIN can tell you where and when your car was built, its service history, and whether or not that car has ever been in an accident.
Of course, you need to actually have your VIN in order to access this information. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to find your VIN in most cases, since it’s usually printed in multiple spots all over your car. Today, we’ll be explaining how to find your car’s VIN should you need it.
What to Do if You Can’t Find Your VIN Number
“I can’t find my VIN number!” you think to yourself as you search through your car, but don’t worry. Unless you don’t have physical access to your car, you should never have any trouble finding your car’s VIN. The VIN is printed in numerous places throughout all modern cars, but the most obvious one is on the lower left-hand side of the dashboard, in front of the steering wheel.
To view this VIN, it’s easiest to stand outside the car and look at the VIN through the windshield. If you’re not sure what exactly you should be looking for, your car’s VIN will always be a 17-character code consisting of letters and numbers (unless your car was made before 1981, in which case your VIN may be between 11 and 17 characters).
If you still can’t find your VIN and you’re really stumped, you could always try calling the dealership you bought your car from, or the vehicle manufacturer. They will most likely be able to tell you where you can check for your VIN.
Can I Find My VIN Number Online?
While there are a few places other than your car itself where you can find your car’s VIN number, the internet is unfortunately not one of these places. If you have your VIN, you can go online to look up your car’s service history and other information using the VIN, but you can’t use the internet to just look up your car’s VIN.
The good news is, as we’ve mentioned, that your VIN appears in multiple places within your car, as well as on a few pieces of paperwork that you should have. We’ll explain some of the other places you can find your car’s VIN in the next couple of sections.
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Can I Find My VIN Number Without My Car?
Yes, absolutely! As long as you’ve kept some of the paperwork associated with your car, you should have no trouble finding your car’s VIN even if you don’t actually have access to your car.
For starters, you can check either your vehicle title or vehicle registration; both of these documents should have your car’s VIN on them. If you’re not too sure what the difference is between these two documents, the vehicle title is the document stating that you actually own the car, while the vehicle registration allows you to actually drive your car legally.
If your vehicle is insured (which it should be), then you should also be able to find your VIN in your insurance documents. Most insurers require that you provide them with your VIN in order to issue you a policy, so if you have your policy on hand you should have no problems finding your VIN.
You can also find your VIN in your owner’s manual if you still have it.
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Where Is the Hidden VIN Number on My Car?
Aside from the most obvious spot near the front of the dashboard, your VIN is printed in numerous places throughout your car. If you can’t find your VIN on the dashboard for some reason, there are several other places you can look.
The first place is under the hood, just in front of the engine block. Often, manufacturers will put a plaque on the firewall containing the VIN. Depending on the car, however, this plaque might only list part of the VIN.
While you’re under the hood, you can also look for the VIN on the car’s frame, near the windshield fluid container. You can also check the driver’s side door for the VIN. New cars have a label either on the doorpost or doorjamb where you can find the VIN.
The VIN is also often printed in the trunk. If your car comes with a spare tire, the VIN might be printed under the spot where the tire is kept. The VIN may also appear on the inside of the driver’s side rear wheel well.