How to validate automobile vin verification

You have been redirected to this page because NHTSA's VIN search tool may be experiencing intermittent disruption due to routine maintenance, slow manufacturer response or heavy traffic to this page. To ensure you get the important information you are seeking, you can click on the appropriate vehicle maker below to go to its VIN search tool.

You can also contact our Vehicle Safety Hotline at for assistance.

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience. Look on the lower left of your car's windshield for your character Vehicle Identification Number. Your VIN is also located on your car's registration card, and it may be shown on your insurance card. Your complaint fuels our work. Learn about the different steps that lead to recalls and safer vehicles. NHTSA issues vehicle safety standards and requires manufacturers to recall vehicles and equipment's that have safety-related defects. Your complaint will be added to a public NHTSA database after personally identifying information is removed.

If the agency receives similar reports from a number of people about the same product, this could indicate that a safety-related defect may exist that would warrant the opening of an investigation. Report a problem with your vehicle, tires, car seats or other equipment. We review every problem as we work to keep our roads safe.

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NHTSA reviews filed complaints from vehicle owners and other information related to alleged defects to decide whether to open an investigation. NHTSA conducts an analysis of any petitions calling for defect investigations.

If the petition is denied, the reasons for the denial are published in the Federal Register. NHTSA opens an investigation of alleged safety defects. A recall is issued when a manufacturer or NHTSA determines that a vehicle, equipment, car seat, or tire creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards.


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Most decisions to conduct a recall and remedy a safety defect are made voluntarily by manufacturers prior to any involvement by NHTSA. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem by repairing it, replacing it, offering a refund, or in rare cases repurchasing the vehicle. View the Recall Report. Recalls Spotlight monitors high-profile recalls and offers consumers resources to find and address vehicle recalls.

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Manufacturers will notify registered owners by first class mail within 60 days of notifying NHTSA of a recall decision. If you're using an automotive data provider for VIN decoding, you probably have a few vehicles in inventory that your data provider cannot decode. Some of these might be classic cars, vehicles sold in Europe or Asia then imported into the US, Trailers, or other types of vehicles that your data provider simply does not support.

However, it's likely that some of these vehicles cannot be decoded because the VIN number is just plain incorrect, usually due to human error when reading the VIN off the vehicle.

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Fortunately, there are a number of ways to determine a VIN is invalid. You can employ these methods to isolate your invalid VINs and either make automated corrections or go back to the field to get the correct VIN off your vehicle. With the exception of vehicles produced prior to model year , VIN numbers must be 17 digits long.

If you have VINs that are shorter than 17 characters, and you don't work with inventory older than 30 years, they're invalid. These letters have been excluded from the VIN standard to avoid confusion with the numbers one and zero. Additionally, the 9th digit of the VIN must be either a numeric digit 0 through 9 or the letter X.

If you have VINs in your inventory that include the letters I, O, or Q, you could try replacing the letter I with the number one, and the letters O and Q with the number 0.

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For US and Canada-destined vehicles, the ninth digit of the VIN is actually not used to help identify the vehicle itself. Rather, it is a special code that can be compared to the result of an error-checking algorithm to determine if the VIN is invalid. The error-checking algorithm is comprised of five fairly simple steps, which are described below. To begin, you must convert each letter character in your VIN to a number using the transliteration table below.

The next step is to multiply each transliterated VIN character by a weighted factor.