Checking old vehicle indentification number

You must get an MOT for your vehicle every year once it's 3 years old. You must have insurance before you can use your vehicle on the road. To help us improve GOV.

It will take only 2 minutes to fill in. Skip to main content. Accept cookies. Cookie settings. Part of Buy a vehicle: step by step.

Before you see the vehicle

Before you see the vehicle Ask the seller for the registration number, make and model and MOT test number. If you buy the vehicle Tax the vehicle immediately. Step 1 : Check the vehicle before you buy it. Check the details you've been given match DVLA's information Check the vehicle's MOT history Check if the vehicle has been recalled because of a safety issue You are currently viewing: Check the log book isn't for a stolen vehicle. Step 2 : Buy and register the vehicle.

Get a reminder when your MOT is due. Step 3 : Insure the vehicle.


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Check if your vehicle is insured on the Motor Insurance Database Read about vehicle insurance. Step 4 : Tax the vehicle. You need to tax the vehicle before you can use it on the road. Typically, it will be in the same place for all models produced in the same year. Make sure you have the paperwork to prove the car is legally yours. Be very careful when you write down your VIN. It is unique to your car and if you record an error, it can lead to a lot of paperwork if you need to register your car in a new state or want to sell your car.

Check a used vehicle you’re buying

Knowing how a VIN is created can help you accurately transcribe the number. These letters can easily be confused for a 1 or 0, so they are never used. If you see an I, it is probably a 1. Likewise, if you see an O or Q, it is probably a 0. Next, understand how a VIN is created. Each VIN is created in the same way. The first digit indicates the country where the car was manufactured, while the second represents the manufacturer and the third the type of vehicle. These three digits are followed by a five-digit sequence that will tell you specifics about the car including model, engine information, series, etc.

The 9th digit is a security check--it has no special meaning, but it does confirm that the manufacturer has authorized the VIN for a specific car.

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The 10th digit tells the year associated with the car model, and the 11th the plant where the car was assembled. Finally, the last six numbers of a VIN are a serial number for the car. This number will allow you to track exactly when your car was produced. This can be helpful if there were assembly errors between certain dates.


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  • Only cars manufactured between those dates will need to be fixed. Between and , VINs varied widely by manufacturer. If you have a car manufactured within this time frame, your VIN may look completely different from the standard we are used to today.