A vehicle identification number, or VIN, acts as the fingerprint or the DNA of a vehicle. Each VIN is unique, and can help you figure out many different things, such as where and when a car was built, and whether new parts or accessories were added to it.

If you are wondering where you can find the vehicle identification number of your vehicle, or of that beautiful used car you are thinking about buying, here are 8 places where you can find a VIN.

1. In the vehicle’s documentation

The vehicle identification number of a vehicle should figure in the documents related to the vehicle in question. Check the vehicle title, the registration card, the owner’s manual, body shop repair records, and any car insurance documents. If you can’t find any of these documents, don’t despair.

2. In the records of the vehicle’s owner

If you need the VIN of a used car you would like to buy, the current owner of the vehicle might have noted it somewhere in their records. This is a good idea, as you never know when you might need your car’s VIN. If your car gets stolen, for example, you will need to have the VIN in your possession.

3. Look at the front windshield

If you can’t find the VIN you need in any documents or personal records, your other option is to take a look at the vehicle. The vehicle identification number will probably be displayed on the interior dash on the driver side, by the windshield.

4. Look at the front of the engine block

If you can’t find the VIN on the front windshield, you can take a look under the hood of the car, at the front of the engine block. This is one of the most common places where a VIN can appear.

5. Take a close look at the engine frame

While you are looking under the hood of the car, take a close look at the engine frame. You might find that the vehicle identification number you are searching for has been stamped there, right on the engine frame.

6. Look inside the doorjamb on the driver side

Open the door on the driver side of the car, and inspect the doorjamb. You might find the VIN, and maybe some additional information, where the side-view mirror would be located if the door was still shut.

7. Look at the driver side door jam

If you can’t find the VIN inside the door jam, don’t shut the door right away. Take a close look at the spot where the door latches. You should be able to find a sticker with the vehicle identification number.

8. Check underneath the spare tire

Finally, you can check underneath the spare tire, if the car has one, to see if the VIN is hiding there. If you find different vehicle identification numbers on different parts of the same car, you should ask yourself some serious questions.

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