The VIN Number Explained

You probably do not pay much attention to your car's Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, but it's an essential part of tracking its history. The VIN was first used by manufacturers, but in 1981 the current 17-character format was standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Through the use of the VIN system, buyers of used cars can learn valuable information about the vehicle they intend to purchase. Checking a VIN will relay important information, such as if a car is stolen, if it was a lemon, if it was written off as a loss for salvage and if it previously served as a fleet vehicle. Check a car's VIN before purchase to avoid making a costly mistake.