With over 20 years as a professional auto mechanic, I’ve bought and sold countless used cars, and I know first-hand the importance of running a comprehensive VIN check before any purchase. Decoding a vehicle’s unique VIN reveals key details about its history that will help avoid expensive problems down the road.
Hi, I’m Robby and in this detailed guide, I’ll draw on my expertise to explain exactly how to locate the VIN, decipher the different characters, and use free and paid vehicle history reports in Wyoming to access vital information before you buy. By following my advice on performing thorough VIN checks, you can gain peace of mind and assurance that your next pre-owned car purchase in the Cowboy State will be a wise investment. Let’s get started!
What is a VIN Number?
VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number. The VIN is a unique 17-character serial number assigned to every motor vehicle on the road in the United States.
The VIN serves as the car’s fingerprint and allows you to gather valuable information about the vehicle’s history. This number can be used to check for recalls, thefts, title issues, accidents, previous owners and more.
Knowing how to locate and decode a VIN is the first step in running an effective VIN search for a used car history check in Wyoming.
How to Find the VIN Number
The VIN can be found in several locations on the vehicle:
- On the lower left corner of the dashboard, visible through the windshield
- On the driver’s side door jamb
- On the front of the engine block
- On the chassis just behind the front wheel
- On the rear wheel wells
- Underneath the spare tire
When viewing a used car, double check that the VIN listed on the title matches the number plates on the car itself. VIN cloning is one way dishonest sellers try to hide a car’s history, so verifying the number is legitimate is key.
Decoding a Wyoming VIN
Once you locate the VIN, you can decode each character to learn about the vehicle’s technical specifications:
The first character identifies the country of origin. American-made vehicles will start with 1, 4 or 5.
The next five digits are the manufacturer, make and model codes. This allows you to confirm the seller has accurately described the vehicle.
The eighth digit relays the engine type. This is useful for identifying specialized models and ensuring the car has the expected powertrain.
The remaining characters communicate the model year, manufacturing plant, and serial number. While less relevant for a history check, this can provide extra confirmation you have the right VIN.
Why Check a Wyoming VIN?
There are several important reasons to verify any used car’s VIN history in Wyoming:
Check for Accidents: When you check vehicle history by VIN, it will reveal if the vehicle has been involved in any accidents in Wyoming or out of state. With over 13,885 accidents being reported in Wyoming in 2021, you never know what you are getting. Accident history is crucial, as even fender-benders can cause hidden mechanical issues.
Check for Thefts: You’ll want to ensure the vehicle has not been reported stolen. Running a VIN check lets you avoid potentially buying stolen property.
Check Title History: The report will uncover salvage, flood or other branded title issues that could make the car difficult to register, insure and resell.
Check for Open Recalls: Any outstanding safety recalls that have not yet been fixed will appear on a VIN lookup. This gives you negotiation leverage with the seller.
Check Previous Owners: Knowing how many previous owners the car has had can offer insight into its condition and care.
Estimated Value: With full VIN details, you can compare the asking price to fair market value to spot good deals.
Maintenance History: Some free VIN checks provide verified service records that help assess how well the car was maintained.
How to Run a Free Wyoming VIN Check
Many leading providers offer free basic Wyoming VIN lookups online or through mobile apps. You simply enter the vehicle’s 17-digit VIN and make/model details to instantly receive a summary report.
Here are some top sites for free VIN checks in Wyoming:
- Mechanic Answer – Offers a fully comprehensive VIN Lookup report
- Carfax – Provides one free report per vehicle
- CARFAX – One free report option
- NICB – Free VIN check from National Insurance Crime Bureau
- DMV.org – Basic check through state DMV
Free VIN reports typically include:
- Number of previous owners
- Odometer readings
- Last reported mileage
- Title history flags
- Total loss events
- Recall information
However, free reports may not provide full accident history details or maintenance records. For a more comprehensive vehicle history picture, purchasing an affordable full report is recommended.
Paid Wyoming VIN Check Options
Full VIN history reports from providers like Mechanic Answer and AutoCheck offer valuable additional insights for a small fee.
Expanded paid reports can include:
- Comprehensive accident history across all states
- Lemon/manufacturer buyback records
- Verified odometer readings
- Detailed title records
- Service and repair history
- Open safety recalls requiring fix
- Owner names/addresses scrubbed
- Estimated market value
- Plenty of tips for evaluating VIN report results
Paid reports provide peace of mind and are well worth the small investment when buying a used car. Think of it as purchasing insurance to protect against buying a headache-prone lemon.
How to Perform a Free Wyoming License Plate Lookup
Running a license plate search is another fast, simple way to gather vehicle history. Here’s how it works:
Visit sites like Mechanic Answer or DMV.org and enter the license plate number along with the issuing state (WY in this case).
This instantly returns information connected to those license plates, which could reveal accidents, thefts and other title problems.
While not as comprehensive as a VIN check, a free plate lookup offers an additional layer of visibility into a used car’s past. Cross-checking the license plate against the VIN is recommended.
Reviewing Your Wyoming VIN Report
When you obtain a vehicle history report for a used car purchase, be sure to carefully review all details, watching for:
- Major Accidents – Especially those labeled “severe” or “vehicle totaled”. Frame damage can lead to ongoing issues.
- Salvage or Junk Titles – Indicates the car was deemed a total loss. May be unsafe and tough to insure/register.
- Flood damage – Can cause mold, electrical gremlins and long-lasting moisture issues.
- High owner count – This could mean poor care, abuse, or other troubles.
- Odometer discrepancies or rollbacks – Illegal tampering that hides true mileage.
- Lengthy gaps between ownership – Raises questions about car’s condition and use during that time.
- Make/model/VIN mismatches – Double check for VIN cloning or fraud.
Discuss any red flags with the seller and use them to negotiate the fairest price. Know you can walk away if anything seems too questionable.
Using the VIN Report to Negotiate
The used car history gathered from a VIN lookup can provide leverage when negotiating price. Here are some examples of how:
- Minor accident history gives reason to talk the seller down to account for potential hidden issues.
- Open safety recalls mean the seller should have work done before purchase or lower the cost.
- Evidence the car was a short-term rental justifies a lower offer.
- If market value appears higher than list price, mention this to aim even lower.
- Major mechanical work performed could indicate problems; use it to negotiate.
Referencing the VIN report details strengthens your bargaining position. Most sellers will lower the price to avoid losing the sale.
Wyoming VIN Checks Protect Used Car Shoppers
While no car history report is 100% foolproof, conducting a thorough VIN lookup before buying any used vehicle in Wyoming provides vital insights that can save you from expensive headaches down the road.
Checking both the VIN number and license plate should be standard operating procedure. For your best protection, invest in a small fee for a premium vehicle history report before finalizing a used auto purchase in WY. Being an informed buyer is the key to finding a quality pre-owned car that will provide years of trouble-free driving.
Why Mechanic Answer is the Best VIN Lookup Service
Mechanic Answer stands out as the most trusted and comprehensive VIN check provider online. Here’s why:
- Unlimited VIN look ups with full reports for a paid fee
- Data from over 5 billion vehicle records
- Information on US, Canadian and imported cars
- Digs deeper than competitors to deliver full vehicle insights
- Easy and instant full-detail reports in 2 clicks
- Mobile friendly VIN decoder site and apps
- Purchase with confidence from an industry leader
When you need to check out a used car, rely on Mechanic Answer for the most thorough vehicle history information to protect your purchase.
Running a comprehensive VIN check is a must for smart used car buying in Wyoming. Follow this guide to perform essential research before purchase. Focus extra attention on any red flags uncovered. Consider paying for an expanded report from a trusted source like Mechanic Answer to get the deepest insights. Being an informed buyer is key to finding a quality used vehicle that suits your needs and budget.
Wyoming VIN Check Frequently Asked Questions
What is a VIN inspection in Wyoming?
A VIN inspection in Wyoming involves physically examining the vehicle identification number (VIN) plates and verifying that the VIN matches the number printed on the vehicle's paperwork. This helps determine the car is not stolen and the VIN has not been tampered with. Many mechanics and auto shops in WY offer VIN verification services.
Does Wyoming do vehicle inspections?
No, Wyoming does not have any kind of required annual vehicle safety or emissions inspection program. However, the state strongly recommends getting regular preventative maintenance and inspections to keep your car safe. When buying a used vehicle, a voluntary pre-purchase inspection by a mechanic is highly advised.
How do I get a VIN inspection in Cheyenne, Wyoming?
Most auto repair shops and dealerships in Cheyenne offer VIN inspections. Call around to compare pricing and make an appointment. Some options are Precision Tune Auto Care, Jiffy Lube, Grease Monkey, Sid's Auto Repair or any reputable mechanic. Ask them to physically verify the VIN while doing a comprehensive vehicle inspection.
How do I get a VIN inspection in Laramie County, Wyoming?
Auto shops like Grease Monkey Laramie, Anna's Auto Clinic and Cheyenne Automotive all provide VIN verifications and inspections in Laramie County.
How much does a VIN inspection cost in Wyoming?
The cost for a VIN verification and basic inspection at most shops across Wyoming ranges from $50-$100 on average, Mechanic Answer offers a comprehensive VIN Lookup for a more affordable fee.