Looking to buy or sell a used car in North Carolina? As a certified mechanic for over 20 years, I have extensive experience buying and selling cars and I understand all the ins and outs, and certainly of detailed VIN check when buying or selling.
Running a vehicle history report in North Carolina, using the car’s VIN or license plate number is crucial to make sure you don’t run into issues down the road. This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know about VIN checks in North Carolina.
What is a VIN?
A vehicle identification number (VIN) is a unique 17-digit code assigned to every car, truck, motorcycle, and other vehicle sold in the United States. No two vehicles have the same VIN, making it the “fingerprint” of your car.
VINs reveal key details about a vehicle’s history and specifications directly from the manufacturer. This is why running a VIN check is so important before buying or selling a used vehicle.
Where to Find the VIN on a Vehicle
Locating the VIN is easy. Here are some of the most common VIN locations:
- Dashboard (driver’s side near windshield)
- Driver’s side door jamb
- Vehicle title
- Registration card
- Insurance documentation
Double-check that the VIN is consistent across all these locations to ensure it has not been tampered with or modified.
How to Perform a Free North Carolina VIN Check
The easiest way to perform a free VIN check in North Carolina is by using an online VIN decoder tool. Simply enter the car’s VIN, and you’ll get access to a comprehensive vehicle history report instantly.
Online VIN checks tap into national databases to uncover useful information about the vehicle, including:
- Accident history
- Title records
- Theft reports
- Recall notices
- Mileage inconsistencies
- Ownership changes
- And more!
This data helps buyers avoid purchasing an unsafe, stolen, or flood-damaged vehicle. It also assists sellers in highlighting their vehicle’s clean history during resale.
Understanding Vehicle History Reports
When you run a VIN check, the information is compiled into an easy-to-read vehicle history report (VHR). These reports provide a complete overview of the vehicle from the date it was manufactured to the present day.
Here are some of the key details included in a Vehicle History Report:
See how the car left the factory floor including installed options, powertrain, and other specifications direct from the manufacturer.
A VHR provides title history across multiple states if applicable. This helps identify odometer fraud, title washing, and other illegal title activities.
Any accident reports and insurance claims associated with the VIN are uncovered. Severe accidents can cause lasting damage.
Frequent ownership changes over a short timeframe may indicate issues with the car.
Service & Repair History
Major repairs, inspections, and maintenance records provide insight into how well the vehicle was cared for.
Other useful data like lien alerts, stolen vehicle checks, auction records, and mileage readings at title transfer help buyers gain a complete picture of the vehicle’s past.
Why are VIN Checks Important in North Carolina?
North Carolina is home to over 7 million registered vehicles on the road. That’s a lot of potential used car sales between private parties and dealerships each year.
Without running a VIN check, it’s impossible to confirm the vehicle’s history and current condition. VIN checks help avoid buying:
- Flooded vehicles: North Carolina is prone to hurricanes and flooding. VIN checks identify flood damage titles.
- Salvaged vehicles: Severely damaged in accidents and issued a salvage title. Unsafe to drive.
- Stolen vehicles: VINs are checked against national databases for theft records.
- Lemon vehicles: Manufacturer buybacks due to defects. Prone to problems down the line.
- Cars with hidden mileage: Rollbacks identified by cross-referencing mileage at title transfer.
Additional Ways to Check a Car’s History in NC
Along with VIN checks, North Carolina offers other ways to research a vehicle’s past:
License Plate Lookups
Run a license plate search using the car’s plate number to access the same vehicle history report as a VIN check. Helpful if you don’t have the VIN handy. The best service we can recommend for license plate lookups is Bumper.
NC DMV VIN Inspection
The NC DMV can conduct a VIN inspection to confirm the VIN hasn’t been tampered with. Part of the vehicle registration process.
NC Title Records
Request title history records from the North Carolina DMV by mail, in person, or online through third-party services.
Contact previous insurance companies to uncover past claims linked to the VIN. Ask about accident repairs.
Buying a Used Car in North Carolina?
Here are some tips when VIN checking a used vehicle in NC:
- Compare the VIN – Verify the VIN on the dashboard, title, and registration all match.
- Check accident history – Even minor accidents can total a vehicle. Review all damage reports.
- Confirm odometer readings – Mileage inconsistencies may signal rollbacks.
- Review title history – Look for clean titles only. Avoid salvage, rebuilt, flood, etc.
- Check ownership history – Frequent changes can mean issues. Average is 1-2 owners per year.
- Consider hiring a mechanic – For peace of mind, have a mechanic inspect the car after the sale too.
The Best Free and More Detailed Paid VIN Reports
Mechanic Answer offers VIN lookups free, right from your web browser. No waiting or hidden fees. Then after you have the free VIN check, you can choose to purchase the much more detailed Vin report if you like.
Through our partnership with VinCheckup, our paid vehicle history reports tap into over 500 million VIN records from across the country. The detailed reports are easy to understand and include everything you need to make an informed decision about a used car purchase.
We can also get a license plate lookup if you don’t have the VIN handy, through our partnership with Bumper here. Search North Carolina plates to pull the very comprehensive vehicle history reports with just the license plate.
With user-friendly search tools and fast report delivery, Mechanic Answer has you covered for on-demand vehicle history reports in North Carolina.
Buying or selling a used vehicle? Running a VIN check is absolutely essential to avoid problems down the road. Use this guide to understand why VIN reports matter and how to easily obtain a free vehicle history report for any car registered in North Carolina. With the right information in hand, you can shop for used cars with greater confidence and make better purchase decisions.
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North Carolina Vin Checkup Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I check a VIN number in North Carolina?
To check a VIN number in North Carolina, you can use the North Carolina License and Theft Bureau's free VIN check tool. Just enter the 17-digit VIN on their website and it will pull up information on that vehicle’s title, brand history, and ownership records. You can also pay for a VIN check from a company like Carfax or AutoCheck, which provides a more detailed vehicle history report.
How do I find out who owns a vehicle in North Carolina?
To find out who owns a vehicle registered in North Carolina, you need to get a vehicle title search from the NC DMV. This can be done by submitting a Title Search Request form along with the required $15 fee per search. The report will show the registered owner name and address. You can also use third-party services like VinAudit or NMVTIS to run an ownership search if you have the VIN.
Can I check my VIN online?
Yes, there are many free online VIN check services that allow you to instantly decode and check a VIN number, such as ours. These sites will provide basic vehicle specs and specifications. For a small fee, paid services like Carfax offer a full vehicle history report using the VIN. You can also check your VIN on the NCDMV website using their free VIN check tool.
How do I check the status of my car title in NC?
To check the status of your car title in North Carolina, contact the Title Bureau by phone or submit a Title Search Request form along with a $15 fee. This will provide information on the title status, including whether there are any liens, brands, or ownership changes. You can also check title status through third-party VIN check services or by logging into the NCDMV title status lookup tool using your driver's license number.
Is North Carolina a non title holding state?
No, North Carolina is not a non title holding state. North Carolina is a title holding state, which means the DMV issues a certificate of title to the vehicle owner, which must be transferred to a new owner upon sale. The title shows legal ownership of the vehicle. Some states issue registration but not titles to vehicle owners - those are non title holding states. But North Carolina requires both registration and titles.