As an experienced auto mechanic of more than 20 years, and part time used car dealer, I know firsthand how essential comprehensive VIN checks in Colorado are for making smart purchases. Decoding a vehicle’s unique 17-character VIN unlocks its complete history and specifications to avoid buying a lemon.
In this guide tailored for Colorado drivers, I’ll walk through exactly how to locate the VIN, decode each character, use free and paid VIN reports, meet inspection rules, and fully leverage VIN data to steer clear of unsafe, damaged or stolen cars. With these pro tips for searching VIN numbers in Colorado, you can verify any vehicle’s background before purchase to ensure it’s a wise investment. Let’s get started!
What is a VIN Number (Vehicle Identification Number)?
A vehicle identification number (VIN) is a unique serial number assigned to every motor vehicle manufactured and registered in the United States. The VIN contains vital information about a vehicle’s history and specifications which can be decoded to verify the vehicle’s records, authenticity, and condition.
In Colorado, conducting a VIN check is an essential step for vehicle buyers and owners. This article provides a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about VIN numbers in Colorado, including how to lookup VIN details, required inspections, free VIN check options, paid VIN reports and more.
No two VIN numbers can be the same. The VIN serves as a vehicle’s fingerprint and contains specifications of the vehicle including:
- Year, make and model
- Assembly plant
- Engine type
- Brakes, transmission, etc.
This number is stamped on all vehicles at the factory and acts as a tracking mechanism throughout the vehicle’s lifetime across multiple databases and records.
How is a VIN Number Used in The State of Colorado?
A VIN code has many important uses throughout a vehicle’s lifecycle, including:
- Registration – The VIN is required for registering and titling a vehicle in Colorado. It links the vehicle to its proper owner and identity.
- Insurance – Insurance companies use the VIN to track correct vehicles and ownership for issuing policies.
- Financing – Banks and lenders verify the VIN to confirm vehicle identity for loans and leases.
- Inspections – VIN numbers are checked at emissions and safety inspections to match vehicles to records.
- Accidents – The VIN is referenced in accident reports and claims to identify the exact vehicle involved.
- Recalls – Manufacturers issue safety recalls by VIN when defects are found in certain models.
- Resale – Car lookup by VIN, is used by buyers lookup VIN details to verify specs, ownership, and history before purchasing a used vehicle.
- Law Enforcement – Police reference VINs to identify and recover stolen vehicles.
Clearly, the VIN is the central identity marker for vehicles in Colorado from birth through ownership changes until retirement.
How to Find a VIN Number on a Vehicle
The VIN is stamped in multiple locations on every vehicle, most commonly:
- The corner of the dashboard where it meets the windshield on the driver’s side
- Inside the driver’s door jamb
- Front of the engine block
- Registration and insurance paperwork
If those locations do not clearly display the VIN, check other areas like the rear wheel wells, spare tire, and frames of the car. The VIN label should be clean and easy to read, without tampering or alterations.
Always verify the VIN on the vehicle matches the VIN listed on related paperwork for that automobile. Discrepancies could indicate major issues.
How to Conduct a VIN Lookup for Free in Colorado
The easiest way to perform a free vin check in Colorado is through online resources and tools that compile details from various vehicle history databases.
Simply enter the 17-digit VIN into the search bar of sites like EpicVin and Mechanic Answer. These services run the VIN through publicly accessible records from sources like the DMV, NMVTIS, insurance companies, and more.
Within seconds, you receive a comprehensive vehicle history report on that specific automobile, usually for free. For a small fee, you will get more options that provide enhanced details from even more data sources.
Online VIN checks pull together key details in one place without visiting multiple agencies, making it extremely convenient for vehicle research. Make sure to verify any unknown vehicles before purchasing.
Note: Free VIN checks in Colorado only provide the basic information, but a small fee will unlock every piece of a vehicle’s history.
Colorado VIN Check and Lookup Inspection Requirements
The state of Colorado requires a VIN inspection as part of the vehicle titling and registration process. This inspection verifies that the VIN on the vehicle matches VIN records to prevent fraud.
Certified VIN inspections in Colorado must be performed by authorized entities like law enforcement officers, emissions stations or licensed dealers. A “Verification of Vehicle Identification Number” form is completed.
Important notes about VIN Check Colorado inspections:
- Cost – VIN inspections typically cost $20 to $25 in Colorado, we offer them at a much lower and affordable price.
- Expires – VIN verification is only valid for one year in Colorado before requiring renewal.
- Necessary For – VIN inspection is required for bonded, rebuilt, kit, and reconstructed vehicles, and VIN discrepancies.
- Duplicates – Original VIN inspection forms are required for registration. Copies are not accepted.
Conducting the mandatory VIN inspection provides an extra layer of screening to prevent stolen, damaged or unsafe automobiles from hitting the roads.
Using a VIN Decoder for Full Vehicle Specs and Vehicle History
A VIN decoder is a tool that extracts meaning from the various digits and letters in a VIN. Each character relays a specific piece of information about that vehicle.
Online and offline VIN decoder tools available from both government and private sources can unlock all the technical specifications, ratings, and figures for a vehicle.
Simply enter the full 17-character VIN into an approved decoder tool and it will translate the sequence into readable facts like:
- Manufacturer, make, model, trim package
- Engine size, horsepower, fuel type
- Year built, age of vehicle
- Assembly point
- Options like transmission type, airbags, etc.
Decode your vehicle’s VIN before purchase to confirm all mechanical and feature specifics match the seller’s claims. This prevents buying altered or falsely advertised vehicles.
How to Lookup VIN by License Plate in Colorado
Looking up a VIN by license plate is possible in Colorado through the official Division of Motor Vehicles channels.
Vehicle owners can request license plate search reports containing VIN information from the DMV. However, strict privacy laws limit access.
Steps to lookup a Colorado VIN by license plate:
- In-Person – Visit the DMV office in the county where the license plate was issued. Provide credentials to prove your identity and ownership of the vehicle.
- Online – File an official DMV record request and affidavit stating your permissible use for the VIN search under DPPA.
- Owner Consent – Have the registered vehicle owner fill out and sign consent for full record access including the VIN.
While doable, looking up a VIN by license plate requires extra steps and approval compared to a standard VIN check. But it can provide VIN info if the physical VIN is unavailable on a vehicle. You can also use the paid license plate lookup service at Bumper.
Benefits of Conducting a VIN Check in Colorado
Running a paid VIN check is highly recommended for all vehicle owners and buyers in Colorado. Potential benefits include:
- Accident History – Learn if a vehicle was in collisions along with repair and damage details.
- Title Brands – Discover if a vehicle has any restrictive statuses like salvage, rebuilt, or lemon brands.
- Stolen Status – Check if a VIN has been reported or flagged as stolen.
- Open Recalls – Identify any outstanding safety recalls on the vehicle issued by manufacturers.
- True Mileage – Confirm odometer readings have not been tampered with or rolled back.
- Ownership Tracing – Review every previous owner and utilization like rentals, taxis, etc.
- Maintenance Records – Check for any reported maintenance, repairs, and problems.
- Verification – Match VIN details between the physical vehicle and related paperwork.
These insights paint a full picture of a vehicle’s history and can uncover issues, greatly reducing purchase risks. Know your vehicle’s VIN story before buying or selling.
Why VIN Verification is Crucial in Colorado
Thorough VIN verification and checks in Colorado are absolutely vital when buying or selling a used vehicle for several key reasons:
- Prevent Fraud – VIN manipulation, cloning, and tampering are risks with unverified vehicles. Matching VINs on vehicles and paperwork verifies authenticity.
- Avoid Stolen Cars – Colorado requires VIN inspection to check stolen vehicle databases before titling. A full VIN check provides further assurance.
- Uncover Damage – From minor collisions to complete write-offs, critical damage issues can be detected from the VIN history. This also includes flood damage claims and repair records.
- Verify Specs – Decoding the VIN and cross-referencing vehicle data ensures you receive the exact year, make, model and features advertised.
Don’t take risks on vehicles with unverified VIN backgrounds. A thorough VIN inspection, verification and history check keeps buyers fully informed and protected in Colorado’s used auto marketplace.
Why Mechanic Answer is the Best for a Colorado VIN Check
With the myriad of VIN check and vehicle history report services available online, choosing the best one tailored to check the VIN in Colorado can be tricky.
We of course recommend our service as your go-to VIN and vehicle history search site, and for these key reasons:
- Colorado-Optimized Data – Mechanic Answer taps into an extensive range of Colorado-specific record sources including the Department of Revenue, law enforcement databases, and more to deliver relevant results for local vehicles.
- User-Friendly Interface – Our VIN search is intuitive and easy to use on both desktop and mobile. Just enter the VIN and hit search for instant results.
- Affordable Pricing – Lower cost than many competitors while still delivering thorough information.
- Fast Reports – Reports load lighting quick, usually in under 2 seconds. Plus they focus on clear and concise reporting without clutter.
- Insights – Colorado VIN check reports highlight the most relevant details like title issues, accidents, ownership history, and odometer readings instead of generic filler.
- Local Support – Their customer service team is based in Colorado for direct support to regional users if any issues arise.
We hope this complete guide has shown the importance and value of checking VIN numbers for Colorado vehicles.
To make the most informed used vehicle purchase decisions in Colorado, Mechanic Answer is the top recommendation for instant and affordable VIN checks that deliver targeted insights. Perform a quick free preview search to evaluate the user-friendly interface and comprehensive reporting yourself, and if you’re happy go ahead and purchase the much more detailed paid-for VIN report.
Have a great day!
VIN Check Colorado Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I check a VIN number in Colorado?
The easiest way to perform a VIN check in Colorado is by using an online VIN decoding and vehicle history report service. Simply enter the 17-digit VIN into the search bar on sites like EpicVin or Mechanic Answer. In seconds, you will get a comprehensive report on that vehicle's background pulled from various Colorado data sources. You can also request VIN record searches directly through the Colorado DMV, usually requiring proof of ownership. Checking a VIN is highly recommended before purchasing any used vehicle in Colorado.
Can I run a VIN number for free?
Yes, there are some limited options to run a free VIN check in Colorado. The National Insurance Crime Bureau offers a free VIN search to check for theft and insurance records. Some vehicle history sites like VinCheckup also provide free preview VIN checks, but full reports require a paid subscription. Free VIN checks usually have minimal data compared to paid services, so are less comprehensive. But they can provide a baseline glimpse into a vehicle’s history.
How much is VIN verification Colorado?
The cost for mandatory VIN verification in Colorado typically ranges from $20 to $25 when performed by authorized entities like law enforcement, emissions stations, or licensed dealers. This standard VIN inspection fee applies for bonded, rebuilt, reconstructed and specially assembled vehicles that require verification. Some agencies may charge slightly more or less. VIN verification must be renewed annually in Colorado.
Can you look up owner by license plate number in Colorado?
Looking up a vehicle owner by license plate in Colorado is restricted under DPPA privacy laws. The registered owner can request their own record including VIN from the DMV. For 3rd parties, owner consent or a court order is required to access license plate owner records. Vehicle owners can provide consent by signing the DMV's License Plate Record Request Authorization form.
How do I find out who owns a car in Colorado?
To find out who owns a car in Colorado, you can request an official motor vehicle title search by VIN through the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles. This will list the current legal owner of record. Be prepared to prove your permitted purpose for seeking the ownership information under privacy laws. Online vehicle history reports accessed by VIN can also list previous owners of a car in Colorado, but current data requires going through the DMV.