As a qualified auto mechanic with over 20 years of experience, I’ve seen the heartbreak caused by purchasing used vehicles without proper due diligence. Thankfully, a quick VIN check helps smart car buyers in Alabama avoid flooded, wrecked, or even stolen vehicles concealed by unscrupulous sellers.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll explain how to decode VIN numbers and use free and paid vehicle history reports to uncover a used car’s complete background. With key details about title brands, accident history, and ownership records, an Alabama VIN lookup provides peace of mind and ensures your used car purchase is a wise investment. So let’s get started and make sure you don’t get scammed!
What is a VIN Number?
A VIN is a unique 17-digit code assigned to every vehicle at manufacture. No two vehicles can share the same VIN number.
VIN numbers identify the vehicle’s:
- Country of manufacture
- Vehicle type and attributes
- Production plant
- Production year
- Serial number
Manufacturers place the VIN in multiple locations on the vehicle, most commonly:
- Driver’s side door jamb
- Engine block
- Motorcycle fork
Always verify the VIN on the vehicle matches the documentation before purchase.
Where to Find a VIN on Your Vehicle
Locating the VIN is not hard, often it is quick and easy to find. They are most often found in the following locations:
- On the driver’s side door jamb
- Front of the dashboard, visible through the windshield
- On the driver’s side engine block
- Motorcycle VINs are found on the steering neck or right side of the motor
VINs can also be found on vehicle registration cards, insurance documents, and title paperwork. When running a VIN check, be sure the VIN matches across all documentation for accuracy.
Decoding an Alabama VIN Number
Each VIN digit and letter carries specific information about the vehicle’s history and specifications. Here is how to decode a sample VIN number:
1st digit: Country of manufacture (1 = USA)
2nd digit: Manufacturer (G = General Motors)
3rd digit: Vehicle type (C = 2-door coupe)
4th-8th digits: Attributes like model, body style, engine size
9th digit: VIN verifier digit
10th digit: Model year (E = 2014)
11th digit: Manufacturing plant
12th-17th digits: Production sequence number
Decode your VIN to learn the vehicle’s true history and specifications.
Why Run an Alabama VIN Check?
An Alabama VIN check uncovers the complete history of a used vehicle. There are several critical reasons to run a VIN search before buying:
Check for Accidents
According to the WKRG, Alabama had over 31,990 auto accidents reported by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, and there were 986 people killed in 887 fatal crashes in 2021 (Alabama Department of Transportation). VIN checks reveal any previous accident history or collision repairs.
Check for Theft
In 2020, Alabama saw a 7.5 percent drop in auto crimes, from 12,252 in 2019 to 11,3361. The average car theft rate was 222 per 100,000 inhabitants according to ua.edu. VIN searches uncover any theft reports or stolen vehicle alerts.
Check for Title Brands
Alabama’s climate leads to frequent hail, flood, and storm damage. VIN lookups detect any salvage, flood, or repair titles.
Check Specs and Ownership
VIN reports provide a full profile of the vehicle, owners, odometer readings, uses, and title transfers.
What a VIN Report Shows
A comprehensive VIN report provides an abundance of information, including:
- Accident and damage history
- Title brands and problems
- Odometer readings and rollbacks
- Total owners and usages
- Theft and lien records
- Manufacturer recalls
- Specifications and features
- Warranty and maintenance history
Quality VIN reports deliver over 50 data points covering the entire lifecycle of the vehicle.
Free vs Paid VIN Reports
While we offer the best free VIN check, it can still only provide a basic overview of the vehicle’s history. Paid VIN reports deliver much more detailed information from various third-party, government and official expanded databases.
Free VIN reports may include:
- Title History
- Some accident records
- Total owners
Paid VIN reports add:
- Full accident history
- Odometer verification
- Complete theft reports
- Detailed title brands
- Maintenance records
- Recall alerts
For high-value used vehicles, paid VIN reports provide comprehensive information to protect your investment.
How to Perform an Alabama VIN Check
The Alabama Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Division offers simple VIN checks for a small fee. However, many free services also provide comprehensive vehicle history reports, and for cheaper you can also get a much more detailed report on this site.
To perform a VIN check:
- Locate the 17-digit VIN on the vehicle’s dashboard, door jamb, engine block, or fork.
- Cross-check the VIN matches the vehicle documentation.
- Visit a VIN check like ours and enter the full VIN.
- Review the instant free vehicle history report.
- Decide if you want to purchase the much more detailed paid VIN report after.
- If you decide to purchase, then review the much more detailed paid vehicle history report.
Government databases, DMV records, and insurance claims provide more than 500 million VIN records. Paid services offer more detailed reports, empowering you to know everything you need to about a vehicle before buying or selling it.
Buying a used vehicle is a major investment. Protect yourself by running a thorough VIN check before purchase. A full vehicle history report reduces risk and saves money over the long term.
Decode the VIN to learn the specifications. Check the VIN for accident damage, flood history, odometer rollbacks, and title brands. Researching the VIN first provides peace of mind for buyers in Alabama.
Don’t finalize a used car purchase in AL without getting the facts through a VIN check. Enter the VIN now on Mechanic Answer for your free basic report. For maximum protection, upgrade to a full VIN report. Drive away confidently in your next used vehicle!
Alabama VIN Check Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I check a VIN number in Alabama?
You can check a VIN number in Alabama for free with Mechanic Answers free VIN decoder. Simply enter the 17-digit VIN and it will pull up information on that vehicle's make, model, year, and registration location. Mechanic Answer also provides an online service to check VIN and title records for a small fee, this paid report .
How to do a vehicle title search in Alabama?
You can perform a title search in Alabama through the publicly accessible Alabama Title Search portal. Enter details like the vehicle's VIN, title number or license plate number. For a small fee, you can then view that vehicle's title information, lienholders, odometer readings and brand history. Alabama DMV also offers title searches by VIN, but fees apply.
How do I look up a VIN number online?
The easiest way to look up a VIN online is through free VIN decoder tools like Mechanic Answers VIN Lookup or VinCheckUp. Simply enter the 17-digit VIN and these tools will instantly provide specifications, recall info and ownership history. Paid services provide more detailed VIN lookups with full reports.
How many digits is a VIN number?
A VIN or Vehicle Identification Number is a 17-digit combination of letters and numbers. All vehicles manufactured after 1981 have a unique 17-digit VIN that provides information about the car, such as make, model, year, engine type and manufacturing plant. VINs can easily be found on the driver's side dashboard near the windshield or on registration paperwork.