With over 20 years under the hood, I’ve seen the costly mistakes too many used car buyers in Michigan make by not running a vehicle history report. As a seasoned auto mechanic, I know a VIN check is essential to avoid buying a lemon.
In this guide, I’ll demystify VIN numbers, show you where to find them on a vehicle, and explain how to use free and paid VIN lookup services to access critical history before you purchase. Decoding a VIN and reviewing vehicle history eliminates risk and empowers you to negotiate fairly and buy smart. You’ll learn how to spot odometer rollbacks, title brands, open recalls and other issues that VIN reports expose. So let’s pop the hood and dig in!
What is a VIN Number?
The VIN is like a vehicle’s social security number. No two VINs are alike, even for identical year, make and model vehicles.
Manufacturers assign each vehicle a VIN during production. The code consists of 17 letters and numbers that denote specific vehicle details including:
– Year, make, model, trim level
– Engine type and specifications
– Safety and emissions features
– Manufacturing plant
– Production sequence number
VINs have been mandatory for vehicles sold in the U.S. since 1981. Motorcycles have used VINs since the 1980s and trailers and heavy trucks began using them in the 2000s. Older vehicles likely won’t have a Vehicle Identification Number.
We can also get a license plate lookup if you don’t have the VIN handy, through our partnership with Bumper here. Search Michigan plates to pull the detailed vehicle history report with just a vehicle license plate.
Where to Find the VIN on a Vehicle
The vehicle identification number is printed on a sticker or metal plate attached to various locations on the vehicle:
– Dashboard (lower left corner on driver side)
– Driver’s side door jamb
– Front of the car frame
– Under spare tire
You can also find the VIN on the vehicle title, registration card and insurance documents.
When inspecting a VIN, use a flashlight to check for signs of tampering. Each character relays important info, so the VIN must be valid.
How to Do a Free Michigan VIN Lookup
A free online VIN check instantly retrieves a vehicle history report from databases containing over 500 million VINs. A free VIN report will show only basic information, to get the full report you will need to purchase it, it is a small fee but it will save you thousands when buying or selling a car. The report exposes critical details that can influence a purchase.
Follow these simple steps:
1. Locate the 17-digit VIN on the vehicle.
2. Go to a VIN lookup/ VIN decoder service like ours and enter the VIN.
3. The free vehicle history report is generated quickly. Review it carefully before buying the vehicle.
4. Optional – Enter your email to receive a copy of the report.
5. Choose if you want to purchase an even more detailed VIN report with more information, a paid-for Michigan VIN lookup typically provides a wealth of information including:
- Number of previous owners
- Odometer readings
- Total loss history
- Lienholder/loan data
- Accident history
- Title brands indicating salvage, rebuilt status
- Last reported mileage date
- Recall information
- Theft records
- Registration History
- Estimated market value
- List price when new
This data helps determine fair negotiation price, spot odometer rollbacks, verify mechanical condition, uncover salvage/rebuilt titles, and avoid purchasing a stolen vehicle. A free VIN report will show basic information on a vehicle, the paid report will show everything there is to know about a vehicle. The small fee for a paid report is more than worth it when buying or selling a vehicle.
Why Run a Michigan VIN Report?
1. Avoid Buying a Stolen or Salvaged Vehicle – VIN reports reveal title brands, theft records and other red flags, around 20,000 vehicles are reported stolen annually in Michigan.
2. Detect Odometer Rollbacks – Odometer tampering is on the rise, costing consumers. VIN reports list odometer readings over time to catch discrepancies.
3. Verify Condition & Value – Accident history, number of owners, title brands and market value help assess the condition and determine fair price.
4. Check for Open Recalls – Unfixed recalls are safety hazards. VIN reports list manufacturer recalls requiring repair.
5. Uncover Hidden Problems – With used vehicles, history matters more than mileage. VIN checks expose blemishes like salvage titles, major accidents, and flood damage.
Why we are the Best VIN Lookup in Michigan
We are a market leader in vehicle history reports, and through our partnerships have the largest VIN database updated daily from thousands of data sources. Our fully-certified reports comply with NMVTIS federal standards and FCRA regulations. Customer service agents are available to answer any questions 7 days a week.
Shop confidently for your next car or motorcycle knowing you have a comprehensive vehicle history from Mechanicanswer.com. The small investment in a VIN check can prevent thousands lost to buying a lemon.
The VIN number is the key to unlocking a vehicle’s history and can help avoid expensive problems down the road. Always run a thorough VIN check with us before purchasing any used vehicle in Michigan. Taking this simple step protects your investment and provides peace of mind.
If you have any questions about Vin reports, the car you are buying or selling, feel free to also make use of our 24/7 ask a mechanic service.
VIN Check Michigan Frequently Asked Questions
Can I check my VIN history for free?
Yes, you can access full vehicle history reports 100% free by entering the VIN at mechanicanswer.com. The free VIN check includes title information, odometer readings, total loss records, accident history, open recalls, and more.
Can I drive an unregistered car in Michigan?
No, it is illegal to operate an unregistered vehicle on public roads in Michigan. All vehicles driven on public roadways must be properly registered with the Secretary of State. Exceptions may apply for recently purchased vehicles if temporary registration is displayed. Driving an unregistered vehicle can result in fines, vehicle impoundment or jail time.
Can anyone request vehicle records?
Yes, Michigan vehicle records are public information. Any individual or company can request a vehicle history report through the Michigan Department of State. Online services like Mechanic Answers Vin Lookup provides instant access to VIN reports. However, only vehicle owners can request their title record free of charge from the state once per calendar year.
How Do I Check a VIN Number in Michigan?
You can instantly check any VIN number online. Simply enter the 17-digit VIN into our decoder to retrieve a full vehicle history report within seconds. For additional individual vehicle records, contact the Michigan Department of State. Checking a VIN is fast, free, and helps avoid purchasing a lemon.
Can you sell a car without a title in Michigan?
No, it is illegal to sell a vehicle in Michigan without providing a valid title to the buyer. The title formally transfers ownership. Some exceptions exist, like selling to a scrap yard. Without a title, buyers risk purchasing a stolen or salvaged vehicle. Only buy used cars accompanied by a title. Perform a VIN check for extra protection.