With over 20 years of experience buying and selling used cars, and as a certified auto mechanic, I know first-hand the importance of running a VIN check before purchasing a pre-owned vehicle. Decoding the 17-character VIN reveals vital information about that vehicle’s history, potentially saving you from buying a lemon.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll explain exactly how to perform a South Dakota VIN search, where to find the VIN number on a vehicle, what key details the VIN check provides, and how to use free and paid VIN reports to access a car’s complete background. Arming yourself with this vehicle history eliminates risk and ensures your next used car purchase in South Dakota is a wise investment. Let’s get started!
What is a VIN Number?
The VIN or Vehicle Identification Number is a unique 17-character code assigned to every car, truck and SUV. This number contains details like:
- Year, make and model
- Engine specifications
- Assembly plant
- Production sequence
VINs are stamped on a metal plate and attached to various locations on the vehicle. All vehicles sold in the US after 1981 have a standardized 17-character VIN.
How to Find a Vehicle’s VIN Number
Locating the VIN is easy. It can be found in these locations:
- Driver’s side dashboard
- Driver’s side door jamb
- Engine block
- Vehicle registration and title paperwork
- Insurance documents
Check the VIN in multiple spots to verify it has not been tampered with.
What a VIN Report Shows
A VIN check provides a comprehensive vehicle history report by accessing data from multiple sources. It can reveal:
- Title history including salvage/junk titles
- Accident history
- Damage reports
- Repair records
- Registration/ownership history
- Lien status
- Mileage verification
- Open recalls
This detailed report provides far more information than just a basic title check. It gives a complete overview of how the vehicle has been used and maintained.
Free vs Paid VIN Reports
A free vehicle vin lookup will return some handy but limited details, such as:
- NMVTIS reports through third parties
- Automaker resources to check recalls
- Insurance company VIN searches
However, the best vehicle history information comes from paid services like Mechanic Answer and AutoCheck. For as small paid fee, you get every available VIN record, which can include:
- Verified odometer readings
- Lemon history
- Rental/fleet history
- Maintenance records
- Accident details
- Damage reports
- Title brands
The small fee for a full VIN report is well worth it for the peace of mind and negotiating power it provides.
Why Should I Run a South Dakota VIN Check?
A VIN lookup in South Dakota provides an instant vehicle history report to alert you to any issues, such as:
- Major accidents
- Flood damage
- Odometer rollbacks
- Salvaged or rebuilt titles
- Outstanding liens
Running this check BEFORE buying can potentially save thousands by avoiding vehicles with hidden problems.
Why Mechanic Answer is the Best VIN Lookup Service
When you need a vehicle history report you can trust, Mechanic Answer is the best choice online. Here’s why:
- Affordable Pricing – Full reports cost a small fee, they are affordable and offer the lowest rates available.
- Unlimited Reports – No restrictions on the number of VIN searches.
- Instant Results – Reports complete in seconds
- User Friendly – Simple search makes it easy to find vehicle history.
- Mobile Access – VIN check available on all devices.
Mechanic Answer accesses over 6 billion records across thousands of data sources to produce comprehensive VIN reports. The low price makes it affordable for everyone to check VIN numbers before buying a used car.
Performing a VIN search using a reputable service like Mechanic Answer is absolutely essential when buying a used vehicle in South Dakota. The small fee provides access to valuable information that can potentially save thousands. Run a full VIN check before negotiating the price or signing paperwork to make an informed purchase decision.
South Dakota VIN Search Frequently Asked Questions
How do I look up license plates in South Dakota?
You can perform a free license plate lookup in South Dakota using services like Mechanic Answer. This allows you to enter a license plate number and access vehicle records tied to that plate, such as title information, accident history, and ownership records. A license plate lookup can provide valuable insights when buying a used car.
Is South Dakota an electronic title state?
Yes, South Dakota utilizes an electronic title system rather than issuing paper titles. When a lien is placed against a vehicle, the lienholder retains the electronic title records. Buyers can request a title history to view any liens, salvage titles, or other title events for a vehicle.
Can I register my car in South Dakota if I live in California?
Typically you must register your vehicle in your state of residence, so someone living in California would need to register their car there. Exceptions may apply for military personnel or if you are a student attending school in another state. Check with your local DMV for specific regulations.
Does South Dakota require a bill of sale for a car?
Yes, South Dakota requires a bill of sale when transferring ownership of a used car. The bill of sale provides details of the transaction including VIN, mileage, price, date of sale, and buyer/seller information. This helps document you are the legal owner and provides proof of price paid.
What are W plates in SD?
In South Dakota, vehicles with license plates starting with W indicate specially registered vehicles. W stands for weight and these plates are issued for vehicles like trucks and tractors that exceed normal weight limits on South Dakota roads. The W plates authorize heavier loads for work-related purposes.