The VIN Number Explained

The Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, was first used by manufacturers to track cars in 1954. However, each manufacturer had individual systems with no commonality. This changed in 1981 when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standardized the current 17-character format. 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.