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VIN Numbers


FAQ #3 - What is a "Lemon?":

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a lemon as: "One that is or proves to be unsatisfactory…" (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 2nd College Ed., © 1985). However, in an attemptt to further define such a broad definition, the Lemon Law defines certain situations which entitles car buyers to their money back or a replacement car. Simple said, any defect or nonconformity, or combination of defects, which is not repaired within a reasonable number of attempts or a reasonable amount of time, may entitle the car buyer to lemon law relief.

How do you find out the VIN number of a car?

A car buyer can simply ask a seller for the 17 digit VIN number which should be on the car registration or title. They also can find the VIN right on the vehicle. Usually, the VIN number is located on the frame of the front doors, on the dash near the window, on the engine, or around the steering wheel. The number is also listed on a car's guarantee and maintenance booklet. If you can't find the number yourself, you can either call the car manufacturer or check a state maintained web site that provides information about where it can be found.

Tip #1 - Protect your car from theft:

Keep your vehicle's title and registration at home, not in the glove compartment of your car. Check periodically to ensure that your vehicle identification number (VIN) is intact. Consider etching your VIN into all car windows, T-tops, and other expensive, removable parts. This will help the police identify stolen auto parts. Drop your business card or other identifier down the window slot into the door panels. This may assist police in identifying a stolen vehicle or stolen parts. Carry in your wallet or purse a card listing your license plate number, VIN, engine type, and body style. Relay this information to the police quickly if your vehicle is stolen.

FAQ #5 - Online Car Buying

A few websites allow you to actually purchase a new or used car without leaving your home except for a trip to a dealership to pick up the car after the sale is finalized. Most of the sites that offer online car buying can quote you a price upfront - there is no waiting for a dealer to get back to you. Some sites allow you to complete financing documents at home before going to the dealer. The best part is that many car prices listed online are lower than the posted prices at the car dealership. The dealership will honor the lower price, giving you a much better deal without negociating.


All About VIN Numbers

Check a vehicle's VIN number online or learn more about VINs below.

All cars and light trucks built after 1981 have unique 17-character "vin numbers" that contains valuable information about that vehicle's history. These numbers are called vehicle identification numbers (VIN #).

Smart car buyers are recognizing that "VIN" Numbers or "vehicle identification numbers" can provide essential information to help them make better decisions about cars, old and new. VIN numbers are unique 17-digit serial numbers assigned to all cars manufactured after 1981. Just as fingerprints, a car's VIN or vehicle identification number can provide information a car buyer can use to confirm the true history of the car.

VIN numbers are the record of everything that will ever happen to a car. It displays a car’s uniqueness and manufacturer and provides a method to trace a car from the factory to the junkyard. Your VIN number can be used to track recalls, registrations, warranty claims, thefts and insurance coverage.

American automobile manufacturers have used VIN Numbers (sometimes called chassis numbers) since 1954, but it was only in the 1981 model year that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration required that all motor vehicles, trailers, motorcycles and mopeds carry VIN numbers in a fixed format. Once decoded, these vin numbers can provide vehicle specifications such as year and make, model, body style, and place of manufacture.

Look over the car and make sure that all the VIN numbers you can find are the same within the car. The VIN number is normally engraved or on a sticker in numerous places in the car (inside the doors, the dash, the trunk, engine, and/or quarter panels).

States use the VIN number to track a cars status. Protect yourself by thoroughly checking the VIN numbers on used cars you want to buy.

VIN databases on the web, available from such firms as Experian and Consumers Reports (published annually in April by Consumer Reports) can provide a VIN "background check" on a car and alert a potential buyer to such problems as: damage from flood or fire, manufacturer buybacks of lemons, odometers that have malfunctioned or been rolled back, major accidents and crashes, emission problems, gray market or crash test vehicles, changes in title or ownership, salvaged or rebuilt vehicles, car thefts, recalls, and high usage vehicles previously used as taxis or rental cars.

Increasingly, consumers are also using free VIN check on VIn numbers to obtain insurance quotes on the Internet and to determine whether their vehicle has recalled parts by checking their car manufacturer's web site.

The locations of vehicle identification numbers (VIN) vary but the following are the common places to find them:

Firewall of the vehicle
Radiator Support Bracket
Dash by windshield
Left hand inner wheel arch
Steering column
Guarantee & Maintenance Book
Machined Pad on front of engine
Drivers door or post on passenger side
Component parts as listed above -eg- engine, frame, etc.
Later model years most common locations of the VIN:

Left instrumentation panel
Dash plate by window
Drivers door or post

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