With over 20 years as an auto mechanic, repairing, buying and selling vehicles, I’ve seen the value of VIN checks firsthand. Verifying a used car’s VIN can uncover hidden issues and help avoid expensive lemons.
Hi, my name is Robbys, and in this guide, I’ll explain how to locate, decode, and check VINs in Maine. You’ll learn where to find the VIN, what the numbers and letters mean, and how to use free and paid VIN reports to access key details about a vehicle’s history. Having this information allows buyers to shop for used cars confidently and make wise investment decisions. So let’s get started!
What is a VIN?
- Year produced
- Engine type
- Assembly plant
VINs have been used in vehicles in the US since the 1950s. They play an important role in tracking vehicles for registration, taxation, and safety recall purposes.
How to Find the VIN
Locating a vehicle’s VIN is quick and easy. It is printed on a metal plate or sticker affixed in several locations:
- Driver’s side dashboard (visible through windshield)
- Driver’s side door jamb
- Vehicle registration and insurance paperwork
- Engine block or transmission
If you’re unable to visually locate the VIN, it can also be found electronically through the vehicle’s computer system.
What a VIN Report Shows
A VIN check or VIN report provides a comprehensive vehicle history summary using the unique VIN as an identifier. Information contained in a VIN report includes:
- Title records including salvage/rebuilt titles
- Accident and damage history
- Mileage discrepancies
- Ownership History
- Liens and loans
- Service and repair records
- Recall issues
- Registration details
These insights help used car buyers make informed decisions and avoid purchasing unsafe or unreliable vehicles.
Free vs. Paid VIN Reports
Free VIN checks from sources like the National Insurance Crime Bureau provide basic details including theft records and salvage titles. However, paid VIN reports offer more comprehensive histories from additional data sources.
- Auction sales data
- Police accident reports
- Insurance loss records
- Service and repair shops
The small fee for these detailed VIN check services is worthwhile to buyers seeking a complete used vehicle history before purchasing.
When is a VIN Inspection Needed in Maine?
Maine requires a VIN inspection when titling most vehicles. This verifies the VIN on the vehicle matches title and registration documents and has not been altered.
Specific vehicles requiring VIN verification in Maine:
- All passenger vehicles and light trucks model year 1995 or newer
- Salvage vehicles
- Motorcycles with 300cc engines or larger
- Trailers over 3,000 pounds
Inspections are done by law enforcement, licensed dealers, authorized inspection stations, or BMV offices.
How to Run a Maine VIN Number Lookup
Checking a VIN is easy and can be done online or at BMV office.
- Visit the Maine BMV website and use the Motor Vehicle Title & Registration Inquiry tool. Input the VIN and plate number to get registration info and title records.
- Paid services like Mechanic Answer provide full vehicle history reports for a small paid fee, a free report is available but information is limited.
- Visit any Maine BMV office. Provide the VIN when applying for a new title. The BMV will check the VIN in databases.
- Ask the seller to provide a vehicle history report. Review it carefully.
VIN Decoder Check vs. Maine License Plate Search
A VIN check and license plate search provide overlapping but different information:
- VIN checks access vehicle history like accident reports, ownership records, liens, theft reports.
- A license plate search provides current registration details including owner name and address.
For a complete picture, it’s wise to do both a VIN check and a license plate search before buying a used vehicle in Maine.
Spotting VIN Fraud
Though rare, VIN fraud does happen. Here are signs of a scam:
- VIN has fewer or more than 17 characters
- VIN belongs to a different make/model vehicle
- VIN check shows an undisclosed accident history
- Registration History doesn’t match the seller’s story
If you suspect VIN fraud, contact the Maine BMV for guidance. Don’t proceed with the purchase until the issue is resolved.
How Dealerships Use VINs
Reputable car dealers use VIN history lookup services like ours on their used inventory. This allows them to:
- Accurately list the vehicle’s history and specifications
- Identify any open recalls that need to be addressed
- Determine the vehicle’s value for pricing
- Disclose issues like accident damage to buyers
Always ask the dealer for a copy of the VIN check report before purchasing a used vehicle.
Why Mechanic Answer is the Best VIN Lookup Service
Mechanic Answer stands out as the most thorough and user-friendly paid VIN check service available online. Benefits include:
- Comprehensive Reports – Mechanic Answer compiles data from over 3.5 billion records to create the most complete vehicle histories.
- Easy-to-Use Interface – Just enter the VIN on their website to instantly access a detailed report. No lengthy sign-up process is required.
- Affordable Pricing – Full reports cost a small paid fee, making comprehensive VIN checks accessible to every used car buyer.
- Mobile Access – Mechanic Answer also offers iOS and Android apps so you can check VINs on-the-go.
- Unlimited Reports – Run as many VIN checks as you need at no extra cost.
With Mechanic Answer, used car buyers in Maine get the detailed insights they need to avoid “lemon” vehicles and shop for cars with confidence.
Protect Yourself with a VIN Check
Given what you can learn from a VIN check, it’s clearly an essential step before buying any used vehicle in Maine. Taking a few minutes to verify the VIN can help you avoid safety issues, expensive repairs, legal problems, and other headaches.
For peace of mind, partner with a reputable company like Mechanic Answer to uncover the real history of a used vehicle. With the facts in hand, you can determine if the car is a wise purchase or one to walk away from.
Whether you’re buying from a dealer or private owner, a VIN check helps ensure you don’t end up with a lemon. Conduct your VIN search today so you can make an informed decision and buy your next car with confidence.
VIN Checks in Maine Frequently Asked Questions
Is Maine a no title state?
No, Maine is not a no title state. All motor vehicles operated on public roads in Maine must have a valid title. Some exceptions exist for vehicles that are 15 years old or older and some agricultural equipment. But for most passenger vehicles, including cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, RVs, and trailers, a title is required. The title shows legal ownership and enables the vehicle to be registered.
What vehicles are exempt from inspection in Maine?
In Maine, the following vehicles are exempt from annual motor vehicle inspections:
Vehicles 10 model years old or newer (based on model year)
Motorcycles and mopeds
Trailers up to 2,000 lbs gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)
Antique autos - vehicles over 25 years old
Farm trucks up to 26,000 lbs used within 150 miles of owner's farm
Construction equipment not operated on public roads/highways
How do I check for my VIN?
You can find your vehicle's unique 17-digit VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) in several places:
Printed on a metal plate on the dashboard near the windshield
On your vehicle registration and insurance documents
On the driver's side door jamb or front end of the frame
Engraved on the engine block
Printed on the vehicle title
Run your hand along the bottom of the windshield on the driver's side to feel for the VIN plate if you can't easily locate it.
What information does a VIN check provide?
A VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) check provides detailed information about a vehicle's history and specifications. By decoding the VIN, you can find out:
Manufacturer, make, model, trim level
Year, production date, age
Original MSRP, installed features/options
Engine type, horsepower, transmission
Safety ratings, recalls, and service bulletins
Accident history, flood/storm damage, mileage discrepancies
Stolen vehicle status and title issues
Running a VIN check is crucial before buying a used vehicle to check its background.
What year vehicle doesn't need a title in Maine?
In Maine, vehicles that are 15 years old or older do not need a title. Instead of obtaining a title, owners of these vehicles only need to have a valid bill of sale.
So in Maine, vehicles from 2008 or earlier do not require a title. The bill of sale serves as proof of ownership. However, owners can still obtain a title voluntarily for older vehicles if desired. But titling is not compulsory in Maine for vehicles 15 years old or more.