When buying a used car, the last thing you want to be concerned about is not knowing what kind of features it has and how to use them.
For many car buyers, this is a common problem to deal with. Fortunately, once you understand the procedure for retrieving your vehicle identification number (VIN), it is pretty straightforward.
If you’re having trouble locating your VIN, simply pop open the small door on either side of the dashboard near the windshield, and you should be able to find it.
In this blog post, we will walk you through retrieving your vehicle’s VIN and deciphering the information displayed on the page that appears.
Use Bumper To Find Car Options
To help the users of this site, we’ve partnered up with Bumper so you can pull up a car’s records to find information.
This searching service may help reveal almost everything you need to know!
Information Available on Bumper:
- Options the car came with
- Accident history
- Sale history (with purchase prices)
- Estimated ownership costs
What Is a VIN Number?
A vehicle identification number (VIN) is a unique identifier for each vehicle. There are 17 characters (letters and numbers) in total, and each character contains specific information about your vehicle, such as the year it was manufactured and the manufacturer.
When trying to figure out what options your used car has, a VIN can be beneficial; however, not all vehicles have this option listed on their sticker or any other way that is easily accessible.
Automobile dealerships and manufacturers are the primary users of vehicle identification numbers (VINs). However, in some instances, law enforcement may also use them to track down stolen automobiles.
In addition, insurance companies may use the vehicle identification number (VIN) to determine rates. This is dependent on the state in which you reside, however.
VINs and the information that must be included in them are subject to various requirements in different states.
How To Find a VIN Number?
There are a plethora of methods for obtaining a vehicle’s VIN. The most straightforward method is to look at the vehicle itself. The vehicle identification number (VIN) should be clearly visible, and it will either be printed or stamped on the vehicle.
If you cannot locate it in the car, there are several other places you can look for it. On the driver’s side of the vehicle, one location is beneath the windshield wiper blade. Another one can be found on the driver’s side of the car, inside the door jam.
It’s also worth checking the area near the engine block where the radiator is located. Finally, some automobiles have their VINs imprinted on a small metal plate riveted to the dashboard near or above the steering column, allowing for easy identification.
Once you’ve located your vehicle’s VIN, it’s time to figure out what it means! Unfortunately, this is where things start to get a little complicated.
The vehicle identification number (VIN) contains 17 characters that must be decoded to make sense and tell you everything about your vehicle.
How to Find Vehicle Options by VIN Number
Use VIN Decoding Websites
Information you obtain from these websites will include things like the manufacturer, model year, trim level, transmission type, and other essential details about your vehicle that can be used to determine its value as well as its market value.
It’s essential to note, however, that these websites aren’t always accurate; they may not contain all of the data necessary for some vehicles or may not even know how old the vehicle is when attempting to determine which features are available on older vehicles).
Before making any decisions based solely on this method, make sure to cross-reference their findings with at least one additional source.
Decode VIN Number On Your Own
The World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI) is the first sequence of numbers in a vehicle identification number (VIN) (WMI). This code identifies the country in which the automobile was manufactured. In the United States, it will begin with the letter “U.”
It also serves to identify the manufacturer of your automobile or truck. Vehicle types such as SUVs, sedans, minivans, and similar vehicles are typically represented by the second and third characters.
The Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS) of a VIN is the second sequence of numbers in a VIN. It contains information about your vehicle’s make, model, and style, among other things.
Make sure to look for both letters and numbers in this section! Some vehicles, for example, have a number in this position, such as “01,” rather than two letters.
The Vehicle Identifier Section is the third sequence (VIS) list. It contains information about the drivetrain and other options available for your vehicle.
When a vehicle is built on a production line, the fourth through eighth characters identify where it was built and what series or trim level it is from (i.e., luxury, sporty, etcetera).
The fourth sequence of numbers in a VIN is called the check digit. This digit helps verify that the other numbers in the VIN are correct. Once you have all of the other numbers in the VIN, you can input it into a VIN decoder and see if it matches up with what you’ve got so far.
After decoding your car’s identification number, remember there could be other options added after it left the factory as well!
Reach Out Car Dealership or Manufacturer
You can reach out to the car dealership or manufacturer who sold you the car. They usually have access to a VIN decoder, which will tell them all of your vehicle’s original equipment at the time of manufacture.
You can check with your local dealer or directly reach out to the manufacturer. For example, if you have a Ford car, you can reach out to Ford Motor Company. If you have a Toyota car, you can reach out to Toyota Motor Sales.
If you bought your used car from a dealership like CarMax, they would most likely tell you all the information provided in the VIN.
You need to contact them with your VIN and ask them what options came on your vehicle when it was made – include any questions or concerns specific to your case.
Many dealerships and manufacturers have online resources or customer service lines specifically for this question.
Buy a Vehicle History Report
Most people know that you can buy a vehicle history report to learn about the past of a used car before you buy it. But what many people don’t realize is that you can also use this report to find out what options were ordered on the car when it was built.
To do this, you’ll need to pull up the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for the car in question. The VIN is a unique number assigned to every vehicle and can be found on the dashboard near the windshield or the driver’s side door jamb.
Once you have the VIN, head over to several online resources like Bumper, CarFax or AutoCheck and enter it in, the report will tell you all sorts of information about the car, including what options were ordered on it when it was built.
This can help determine whether the car you’re interested in has all the features you want or if it’s missing something vital to you. It’s always a good idea to buy a vehicle history report before purchasing any used car, as it can help protect you from buying a lemon.
Takeaway – What’s the Fastest Way To Find Out Your Car Options?
When discovering your car options, a vehicle history report is the most efficient method. These reports can provide information on what options were ordered when the car was built.
It may also include other helpful information, such as how many owners the car has had and whether or not there have been any reported accidents.
For this type of search, you’ll need to enter the vehicle identification number (VIN), which should be available from either the dealer or the private seller once you’ve made contact with them!