Looking to purchase a used car? If so, it’s critical to run a VIN number check from the DMV. This allows you to check if the vehicle you are getting is in good condition. Moreover, a DMV VIN check can help protect you from purchasing a stolen or defective automobile. It’s wise to learn about these potential issues before you complete your transaction.

What Is a VIN Check?

A car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) is a 17-character code—comprising of digits and capital letters—that is unique to your automobile. It is issued during manufacturing and essentially serves as the car’s fingerprint, as no two vehicles can have the same VIN. You can find this code in a few areas of the car: on the engine block, the driver’s side dashboard or door jamb, and in the spare tire well. It can also be found in documents, such as the insurance policy, vehicle title, and registration.

Just like humans, a car has a story to tell, and the VIN is the key to the car’s hidden past. Each of the characters in the VIN provides information about the vehicle’s model type, engine code and other specifications. Researching this number can reveal a lot about the car and should be considered a must-do step in the buying process.

How Do You Conduct a VIN Check?

A DMV VIN search can be conducted through VINsmart. We partner with the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) to provide an accurate vehicle history and title report. Additionally, we source data from  J.D. Power® and Black Book® for  current vehicle valuations.

Simply follow these steps:

  1. Enter the VIN number.
  2. Purchase a comprehensive vehicle history report for $8.95.
  3. Analyze the report and asses your car’s details.

What Information Will the DMV Vehicle History Contain?

The VIN can be used to track an automobile’s history, including damage claims, recalls, ownership, thefts, insurance coverage, and more.

A DMV VIN lookup also checks the following:

  • Engine type
  • Transmission type
  • Country of origin
  • Details about the vehicle
    • Make
    • Model
    • Color
    • Odometer readings
  • Trim
  • Body

Why Run a VIN Check?

A DMV VIN number lookup can tell you if the vehicle has sustained damage reported to insurance agencies in the past or is legally available for sale. It’s particularly beneficial if you’re not working with a dealership.

The following scenarios may require a DMV lien check:

  • Odometer issues
  • Old vehicles that are no longer in the DMV system
  • Imported cars

Why Choose VINsmart?

VINsmart can help safeguard you and your investment. When you partner with us, you’ll receive accurate vehicle history and valuation data from NMVTIS, NVS, NHTSA, J.D. Power and Black Book. Each report includes the car’s title history, value, safety recalls, title concerns, liens/leases, and prior damage and salvage history.

Moreover, each basic VIN check is free, though you have the option to purchase a comprehensive report for more details. With VINsmart, you don’t have to worry about paying activation or monthly subscription fees. Our VIN number check service ensures you have the accurate data you need to make informed decisions when it comes time to buy a used automobile.



  • NMVTIS National Motor Vehicle Title Information Systems
  • J.D. Power
  • NVS - National Vehicle Service