How to check a car before buying?

A Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, is a unique series of numbers and letters given to a vehicle. Every vehicle worldwide has its own unique VIN that manufacturers use to track the number of sales of a particular model, and law enforcement can use the number to trace the history of a particular vehicle. You may want to find it so you can look online to find the complete history of the vehicle you may be interested in purchasing. Thankfully, this number is very easy to find if you know where to look.

Check Vehicle

Every vehicle has its VIN number etched into the car, usually on a VIN plate that is bolted to the front dashboard. If your car doesn’t have the VIN on the dashboard, check inside the sufflet for the VIN plate. Finally, if the number is not on the front dashboard or inside a car hood, check inside the driver’s side door for the plate that contains the number.

Ask the dealer

If you buy the car new or used from a dealer, the dealer should have documentation with the vehicle’s VIN number printed on it. If the dealer does not have this documentation, you should consider buying your car from them. Of course if you are buying this vehicle directly from the previous owner, this oversight can be quickly forgiven.

Using the VIN Number

Once you have your VIN number, you can check the complete history of your vehicle. Several websites offer these services and while many, such as the aptly titledVehicle Identity Numberoffer free VIN check, pay sites like Vehix and Carfax offer you more detailed searches that allow you to search for everything from each owner of the car to the actual mileage of a car you may be interested in.

Search by registration number

The answer displays the vehicle’s basic data: ownership, chassis number, tax status, inspection conditions and more. You can see if the vehicle has a lease, credit purchase or direct import record. In certain cases, the Transport Agency may allow the disclosure of personal identity numbers.

Search by identification number (chassis number)

When searching by full identification number, you will get the basic data of the vehicle: identification number, type of vehicle, make, etc. In addition, you can search on abbreviated numbers (down to the last three characters). The answer may then show several alternative vehicles.

Search driving licence details

The answer will show the validity period of the driving licence, the class of authorisation and whether the licence has been reported lost.

Search vehicle ownership by organisation number or personal identity number

All vehicles belonging to a specific organisation number/person number are displayed. Information on make, lease, dismantling, installation is also displayed.

Search current, previous owner

The answer shows the current and previous owner.


The answer shows the last approved inspection, injunction, driving ban, etc.

Search technical data

The full technical data of the vehicle is displayed. Replaces search technical data and exemptions.

Search technical data additional info

Displays the vehicle’s text and exemption code information. Replaces search technical data and exemptions.