As a certified auto mechanic with over two decades of experience in the auto industry, I know first-hand the importance of running a thorough VIN check before purchasing a used vehicle. Decoding a car’s unique VIN reveals key details about its history and can help buyers avoid expensive hidden problems.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll explain everything Idaho drivers need to know about VIN numbers – from how to locate the VIN on a specific car to decoding each character in the sequence. I’ll also cover the different options for obtaining free and paid VIN history reports in Idaho. Accessing this vehicle history information eliminates risk by verifying the accuracy of a seller’s claims before you make a major purchase.
Whether you’re buying from a dealership or a private seller, my goal is to equip you with the knowledge to run your own Idaho VIN Checks like a pro. Let’s get started!
What is a VIN Number?
The VIN is like a car’s fingerprint or social security number. It is a 17-character combination of letters and numbers that identifies a specific vehicle.
VINs are standardized across all cars and their format reveals certain information about the vehicle, including:
- Model year
- Assembly plant
- Production sequence
This unique ID number allows a vehicle’s full history to be tracked over its lifetime.
How To Find The VIN Number
Locating the VIN is the first step to looking up a vehicle’s history. On most cars, it can be found in several locations:
- Lower left corner of the dashboard
- Driver’s side door jamb
- Front of the engine block
- Vehicle title and registration paperwork
- Vehicle insurance card
Checking all of these places ensures you find the complete VIN needed to run a search.
What a VIN Report Shows
A VIN check provides a thorough history of a vehicle. Important details include:
- Past owners and locations
- Mileage records and anomalies
- Title brand history
- Lienholder/loan history
- Accident and damage reports
- Manufacturer recalls
- Registration/renewal history
This information protects buyers from purchasing a vehicle with hidden problems. It also verifies all aspects of a vehicle’s history before purchase.
Free vs Paid VIN Reports
Free VIN checks provide limited data, usually just basic specs, stolen status, and salvage records. For a complete vehicle history, paid VIN reports are necessary.
Paid reports check over 20 billion records across multiple databases to compile thorough histories with all available data. The small fee is worth the peace of mind and full transparency before making a major purchase.
Why Run an Idaho VIN Check?
Running an Idaho VIN search before buying a used vehicle allows you to make an informed purchase decision. Important details found in a vehicle history report include:
- Number of previous owners
- Location history if the vehicle was registered out-of-state
- Odometer readings when ownership changed
- Salvage/junk title status
- Lienholder/loan history
- Brand history (rebuilt, salvage, etc.)
- Accident reports
- Insurance claims
- Flood, fire, or storm damage
- Manufacturer safety recalls
- NHTSA investigations
Checking this information protects you from buying a vehicle with major hidden problems. It also verifies the seller’s information is accurate.
How to Run an Idaho VIN Check
There are a few different ways Idaho residents can lookup VIN numbers to check a vehicle’s history.
Online VIN Check
The fastest and easiest way is to use a trusted online VIN lookup service like EpicVIN. Simply enter the VIN on their website to instantly access a full vehicle history report. Online VIN checks are automated so you get the report immediately.
Idaho DMV VIN Check
You can also request a VIN search at your local DMV office. Bring the VIN and vehicle details to the DMV and fill out a vehicle records request form in-person. Reports from the DMV can take 1 week or longer to receive.
Idaho VIN Check by Mail
Another option is to mail a vehicle records request form to the Idaho Transportation Department. This takes the longest to process but can be done entirely by mail.
No matter the method, having the complete 17-digit VIN number is key to looking up a vehicle’s history.
Ordering an Idaho Vehicle History Report
While the state’s DMV provides some VIN lookup services, comprehensive vehicle history reports are best obtained through third-party providers online.
What should you look for in an Idaho VIN report?
Look for a provider that checks records from multiple sources including government agencies, auction houses, insurance companies, and more. More data means more complete reports.
The vehicle history report should present data in an easy-to-read format. Important details should be highlighted for quick review.
Most VIN check providers offer single report pricing starting around $20-$25. Mechanic Answer offers a cheaper alternative. Many have package options with lower per-report pricing.
Choose an online service that delivers reports quickly through an automated system. You’ll get the VIN check results instantly.
By following these tips, Idaho drivers can access reliable and thorough vehicle history reports to inform their used car purchase.
Tips for Buying a Used Car in Idaho
Armed with a VIN check, you can feel confident about your used car purchase in Idaho. Here are some final tips:
- Test drive the car thoroughly on different road conditions.
- Have a mechanic inspect the car before buying.
- Review vehicle title to ensure it’s clean and clear of any brands or liens.
- Check that the odometer reading is consistent with the vehicle history report.
- Compare VINs on the car, title, and history report to make sure they match.
- Research fair market value to negotiate the best deal.
- Purchase from reputable dealers who allow independent inspections.
Following these tips and using VIN checks protects Idaho buyers from issues like title fraud and buying a “lemon” car. Don’t skip this important step in your next used car purchase!
Why Mechanic Answer is the Best VIN Lookup Service
Mechanic Answer provides fast, affordable, and reliable vehicle history reports to Idaho residents. Here’s why we are the top choice for VIN checks:
- Instant reports – Our automated system returns results in seconds
- Most comprehensive data – We compile over 6 billion records across thousands of data sources
- Clear, user-friendly format – Our reports are easy to understand at a glance
- Unmatched support – Our dedicated team is available to answer any questions
- Affordable pricing – Basic reports cost a small fee
No other service matches our combination of speed, quality, and reliability. Idaho car buyers who run a Mechanic Answer VIN check drive away with total confidence and peace of mind. We are the premier vin lookup solution.
Buying a used car is a major investment. Protect yourself by running a thorough Idaho VIN check every time. A vehicle history report provides peace of mind by revealing important details about that car’s past. With the VIN lookup guide above, Idaho drivers can find hidden issues and avoid purchasing headaches when buying a used vehicle.
Idaho VIN Checks Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get a VIN verification in Idaho?
To verify a VIN in Idaho, you can request a vehicle history report from a third-party provider online. Enter the full 17-digit VIN on a site like EpicVIN or Mechanic Answer to instantly access a report verifying that VIN’s specifications, ownership history, accident records, and more. The state DMV also offers VIN verifications by requesting a vehicle record in-person or through mail.
Does Idaho require a VIN inspection?
Yes, Idaho requires a VIN inspection when titling a used vehicle previously registered out-of-state. The inspection verifies the VIN plate on the vehicle matches the title paperwork. Inspections can be done by law enforcement, DMV staff, licensed dealers, military police, or notaries. New Idaho residents have 90 days to complete the VIN verification.
How much does a VIN inspection cost in Idaho?
Idaho does not charge for VIN inspections performed by law enforcement, DMV, or military police. Licensed dealers may charge a small fee around $25-$50. Third-party VIN checks through companies like Mechanic Answer cost a small fee for a full vehicle history report.
Can you look up license plates in Idaho?
No, Idaho does not provide license plate lookup services to the public. Only law enforcement has access to search Idaho license plates to obtain vehicle and owner information. However, you can lookup a vehicle history through the VIN instead.
Is it illegal to sell a car without a title in Idaho?
Yes, it is illegal to sell a car without a title in Idaho. The seller must have the title signed over to transfer ownership legally. The buyer has 30 days to transfer the existing title into their name with the DMV after purchase. Selling a car without a title or proper registration can result in fines or criminal charges in Idaho.