As a veteran auto mechanic with over 20 years of experience, I know firsthand how critical VIN checks are when buying a used car. Skipping this step can lead to expensive surprises or even danger on the road.
That’s why I created this comprehensive guide to empower used car buyers in Missouri with the vehicle history knowledge needed to make smart purchases. By learning how to find the VIN, decode it, and use free and paid VIN reports, you can uncover any hidden issues and avoid buying a lemon.
With my expertise inspecting hundreds of used cars, I’ll explain exactly what to look for in a VIN report. You’ll know how to spot odometer rollbacks, salvage titles, accident damage, and other dealbreakers. By the end, you’ll have the confidence to navigate the used car market in Missouri safely. Let’s get started!
What is a VIN Number?
VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number. It is a unique 17-digit code assigned to every vehicle by the manufacturer. The VIN serves as the car’s fingerprint, allowing you to unlock its history.
In Missouri, the VIN is located in several places on the vehicle:
- On the driver’s side of the dashboard (visible through the windshield)
- Inside the driver’s side door jamb
- On the vehicle title and registration paperwork
- Under the spare tire or in the engine bay
How to Perform a VIN Check in Missouri
Conducting a VIN lookup in Missouri is easy with the right online tool. Here are the steps:
- Locate the VIN number on the car by checking the common locations.
- Go to a VIN check website like ours and enter the VIN in the search bar.
- The tool will instantly a free vehicle history report by vin number. Review it carefully.
- After you instantly receive this free VIN check, you will have the opportunity to purchase an even more detailed paid VIN report.
- Look for any red flags like accidents, odometer rollbacks, title issues, etc. This data allows you to verify what the seller claims about the car.
- Use the VIN report to negotiate a fair price or walk away from any deal-breakers.
Online VIN lookups are instant, inexpensive and give you peace of mind before buying a used vehicle. No need to call the Missouri DMV or wait for snail mail reports.
Critical Information in a Missouri VIN Lookup Report
A comprehensive VIN report from a reputable source like Mechanic Answer provides an unfiltered view of a vehicle’s past in Missouri and beyond.
Here are some of the most valuable data points to look for:
- Accident history: Any incidents involving the VIN are listed, including date, location, extent of damage, police reports, and more. This allows you to avoid cars with undisclosed accident damage.
- Title records: Check for salvage/rebuilt titles, flood damage, out-of-state titles, and other red flags. Make sure the title is clean.
- Ownership history: Verify the seller’s claims against the number of owners, locations, and length of ownership. More owners may indicate wear and tear.
- Mileage history: Cross-check the odometer reading against records to catch rollbacks. Abnormally low mileage for the car’s age is a red flag.
- Maintenance and repairs: Major fixes are logged to assess reliability. Gaps in service history can hint at neglect.
- Recall information: Open safety recalls must be addressed before buying the car. The VIN report lists all issued recalls.
- Vehicle specifications: Useful for comparing advertised features vs actual factory equipment.
- Estimated value: Handy for price negotiation, especially if the seller is overcharging.
This data helps uncover any hidden issues before you finalize a purchase. Running a VIN check is absolutely essential for buying a used car in Missouri.
Reasons to Use Mechanic Answer To Check a VIN
Mechanic Answer is a trusted source for instant and affordable Missouri vin checks and lookups. Here are the key benefits:
- Fast results – Reports are generated in seconds once the VIN is entered
- Low cost – Basic VIN code checks are totally free on Mechanic Answer but cost a small fee for the full detailed VIN report
- User friendly – The reports are easy to understand for car shopping novices
- Mobile app – Run VIN checks anytime from your smartphone
- Unlimited checks – No caps on how many VINs you can lookup
- Dependable data – Reports are sourced from DMVs, auctions, insurance companies
- Sample reports – View examples on the website to know what to expect
Mechanic Answer makes VIN decoding quick, transparent, and budget-friendly. Use it to uncover any deal-breaking issues before you buy.
When Should You Run a VIN Check in Missouri?
VIN checks should be a standard part of any used car purchase in Missouri. Here are some common situations when you must run a vehicle history report:
- Buying a used car – Run a VIN check before negotiating the price or signing paperwork. It gives you leverage to bargain if issues are found.
- Online car listings – Insist on a VIN report before going to see the car. Pre-qualify vehicles and avoid waste of time.
- Private sales – Used cars from individuals have a higher risk of hidden problems. VIN checks add protection.
- Out-of-state cars – Vehicles shipped from other states may have undiscovered baggage. Cross-check VIN to be certain.
- Floor model cars – Demo and test drive vehicles tend to have more wear. Review VIN history to learn their usage.
- Cars after an accident – Even fender-benders can total a vehicle. VIN reports have all accident data.
- Insurance purchase – Insurance providers may pull the VIN report. Check it yourself first to avoid surprises.
Think of the small VIN check fee as an insurance premium that can save you from buying a problematic used car.
Beware: VIN Tampering in Missouri
Unfortunately, VIN tampering does occur in some cases in Missouri. This is when sellers alter or cover up the VIN plates when hiding a vehicle’s troubled history.
Warning signs of VIN tampering include:
- VIN plates that are loose, damaged, or have irregular font sizes
- Mismatched VINs on the dashboard/door jambs and title paperwork
- Fresh paint or bodywork on VIN locations
- Reluctance by the seller to allow VIN checks
Run the VIN anyway on websites like ours at Mechanic Answer to determine if the vehicle history matches the visible VIN. If not, walk away.
VIN Checks for Missouri Salvage Titles
Has the used car you’re interested in ever had a salvage title in Missouri? This indicates it was severely damaged and deemed a total loss by insurance.
While salvage title cars are legal to drive after repairs and inspection, they should be priced much lower than clean-title cars. Their history means they are riskier buys.
Always run a VIN check on a Missouri salvage title vehicle before buying. The Missouri vin check history provides details like:
- Cause of salvage title – accident, flood damage, etc.
- Extent of damage – was the frame/structure compromised?
- Was proper post-salvage inspection done?
- How much was spent on repairs?
Use this intel to negotiate the fair market price for a salvage-title car. And get a trusted mechanic to inspect it before purchase.
Can I Get a Vehicle History Report For Free in Missouri?
Many leading VIN lookup sites like ours provide simple VIN searches in Missouri. You can get started without paying anything.
A free VIN check delivers key basics like:
- Number of previous owners
- Odometer readings
- Last reported location
- Any salvage title records
While helpful, free VIN checks lack the comprehensive details needed to make a smart used car purchase. Minor accidents or out-of-state history can be missed.
For full transparency, opt for the low-cost VIN report after you receive the simple free VIN check. The detailed paid VIN report after, is only a few bucks and will give you peace of mind before buying a used car.
How Mechanic Answer Helps Missouri Drivers
Mechanic Answer’s VIN reports are every Missouri car shopper’s trusted partner for used car research. Our fast and affordable VIN decoder reveals a vehicle’s complete history so you can detect issues and avoid headaches.
As local experts, we understand the challenges Missouri drivers face:
- High accident rate – VIN checks help uncover crash damage the owner may hide.
- Vehicle theft – Run VIN checks to confirm the car you’re buying is not stolen.
- Severe weather – Look for flood records and hail damage history with a VIN lookup.
- Uninsured drivers – Our reports provide insurance data and police reports of accidents.
Get the vehicle insights you need to buy smart when shopping for your next car in the Show Me State. Reliable VIN checks help eliminate surprises and keep Missouri drivers safe.
Hopefully, this guide has shown the importance of VIN checks for used car buyers in Missouri. VIN lookup reports reveal plenty of information that sellers won’t voluntarily disclose.
Running a VIN history check using a trusted site like ours, is your best protection against buying a problematic vehicle. Spend the small fee for unlimited reports and gain peace of mind.
The few minutes it takes to perform a VIN search could save you from expensive headaches down the road. For a smoother, safer used car buying experience in Missouri.
Vin Search Missouri Frequently Asked Questions
How do I verify a VIN number in Missouri?
You can verify a VIN number in Missouri for free using the National Insurance Crime Bureau's VINCheck tool. Simply enter the vehicle's 17-digit VIN and it will pull up information including whether the VIN is valid and whether the vehicle has been reported stolen. A free report will show basic information, a paid report will unlock a motor vehicles full history.
How can I search a VIN number for free?
Mechanic Answer offers a free Missouri vehicle VIN lookup, however free VIN check will only show basic information while the paid report will unlock the full history of the car you are searching. Both allow you to input a VIN and get a free basic report on that vehicle's history including title information, some repair records, and stolen vehicle checks.
How do I find out who owns a vehicle in Missouri?
To find the vehicle registration and who owns a vehicle registered in Missouri, you can request an owner search from the Missouri Department of Revenue. You'll need to provide the vehicle's VIN, make, model and year. The report will show the registered owner's name and address.
How can I search for my VIN?
The easiest way to find your VIN is to look on your vehicle's dashboard, driver's side door jamb or insurance documents. You can also search online using your license plate number and state through services like Mechanic Answer. This will provide your 17-digit VIN.
What is the most reliable car history check?
Mechanic Answer and VinCheckUp are two of the most thorough and reliable paid car history report services. They compile records from the DMV offices, auctions, police, manufacturers and repair shops. However, no report is 100% complete. So it's always smart to have a mechanic inspect any used vehicle before purchasing a used car.