Did you know that the VIN number to your automobile is more than just a series of numbers used for identification? In fact, the VIN number of your car can actually reveal to you the history of your vehicle. How can this be so? With a VIN number, you can find out who owned you are car in the past, whether or not the vehicle has been in any accidents and more. In fact, the VIN number is often used from car dealers that travel from home to automobile auctions to determine whether or not a vehicle is worth bidding on before they travel to the auction and place their bids.

Much like a strand of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the VIN number of your vehicle is an identification number like no other—the VIN number of your vehicle relates solely to the vehicle you have purchased or you plan on purchasing and no other vehicle in the world has the same VIN number as the one your car possesses. In fact, there is even a decoding process when it comes to VIN numbers—a VIN number can be decoded by breaking down the various combinations of letters and numbers—all which have a significant meaning. For example, one number will denote the country that the car was built in, another number will denote the manufacturer, and certain numbers even denote the cars features.

Conversely, the VIN number can also provide you with information about odometer readings; whether or not the car has ever been stolen; if the car has experienced flood damage; and whether or not there have been recalls on parts associated with the vehicle. You can also find out if there is or ever was a lien on the car’s title, if it had ever been repossessed, and if it suffered major damage in the past. So, what does all this information mean to you? Basically, consider it fuel for a positive purchase when you are buying a car—the more you know about the vehicle, the better decision you will be able to make when buying it. Conversely, if you already own the vehicle, knowing the car’s history is vital in giving the car the proper maintenance it needs. Also, you may be able to foresee problems in the future that originate from past issues with the vehicle.

In the end, you should visit a website that allows you to check on the VIN number of any vehicle. In fact, some sites let you run a free VIN number check so that you can test out there services. Using your preferred search engine, you can easily locate a VIN Number checking website. You will find such services well worth the visit.

Old cars don’t die, they just get resold. If you’re buying a used car, whether from a dealer or someone who put an ad in the paper, you’ll want to know as much about it as you can. Even without anyone trying to deceive you, the vehicle may have problems you can’t see from a simple visual inspection or even a short test drive.

A vehicle history report prepared by a third party is one way to know what you’re getting. Combining information from state DMVs and RMVs as well as police reports and other sources, a vehicle history report can give you a comprehensive overview of where the car’s been.

Here are some things to look for-or look out for-when you get a report on a vehicle. None of these things is necessarily a reason not to buy a car, but you shouldn’t make a decision without asking about anything you see on a vehicle history:

* Many owners. The more garages a car’s been in, the less likely it’s been lovingly cared for all its life. Not everyone is as assiduous about car care as you are. Rental cars and former taxis, for example, will often have undergone a lot of abuse, although they tend to be quite inexpensive.

* Location, location, location. Some parts of the country are more car-friendly than others. Winter storms (with their accompanying salted roads) can be rough on cars, as obviously can floods, excessive heat or even sea air. Cars that have been where these are common may have hidden damage.

* Name and description. Be sure the car in the report is the same as the car you’re looking at. Carefully reviewing the vehicle description is one way to avoid various types of vehicle fraud, like VIN cloning. A cloned vehicle involves using a vehicle identification number (VIN) from a legally owned, non-stolen vehicle to mask the identity of a similar make/ model stolen vehicle. Carfax reports include detailed descriptions of the vehicle, so you can make sure the car you’re reading about is the same as the one you’re looking at.

* Suspicious markings. Keep an eye out for records of body work that might indicate a prior unreported incident.

Vehicle history reports from Carfax are the most comprehensive available. The company’s database contains more than four billion records from thousands of public and private sources, including all Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) in the United States and Canada and thousands of vehicle inspection stations, auto auctions, fleet management and rental agencies, automobile manufacturers, and fire and police departments.