How to Get a Free VIN Check in Canada

How to Get a Free VIN Check in Canada

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique code assigned to every vehicle. This code is used to identify the vehicle and its history. In Canada, the VIN is usually located on the dashboard, around the driver’s side door, or on the engine.

If you are buying a used car, getting a free VIN check before purchasing is possible. This will help you to learn about the vehicle’s history and to make sure that it is not a stolen one.

There are different ways to get a free VIN check in Canada. You can contact the Canadian Police Information Centre, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, or you can use an online VIN checker tool.

Keep reading to learn more about how to get a free VIN check in Canada!

What is a Vehicle Identification Number?

A Vehicle Identification Number commonly referred to as VIN, is a one-of-a-kind code given to a car by the manufacturer. This number reveals a variety of information about the vehicle, such as the model year, the country of origin, the serial number, and even the location where it was assembled.

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a great starting point if you want to research the background of a used car you are considering buying or if you want to find out whether your vehicle has been the subject of any recalls.

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How to decode your VIN

You can decode a VIN to get part of the vehicle’s history through the use of a VIN decoding site, or you can try to decode it yourself by following this method;

The first character of the VIN

The first character gives you information about the location where the car was manufactured. For instance, the number 2 stands for Canada, and then the United States is represented by the numbers 1, 4, and 5.

The first character is part of the first three characters representing the World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI). The society responsible for distributing WMIs to various nations and automakers is the Society of Automotive Engineers.

The second and third character

While the first three characters denote the WMI, the main manufacturer is denoted by the second character. Then the third character represents the kind of vehicle the automobile is.

The fourth to eighth character

The fourth character through to the eighth one represents the vehicle descriptor. The vehicle descriptor provides information such as the kind of model, the types of restraints, the body type, the series, and the engine.

The Ninth character

The ninth character of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a security code that verifies that the manufacturer has approved the vehicle in question.

The ninth character is typically referred to as the check digit. This is because the ninth character is a code number or letter that the manufacturer creates to validate the legitimacy of the whole number.

Characters 10 through 17

The Vehicle Identification section is from the tenth to the seventeenth characters of the car VIN. The tenth digit of the VIN represents the model year of the vehicle.

The eleventh digit indicates the factory plant where the product was made. Every vehicle has a unique code that indicates at which plant it was assembled. To find out where your automobile was built, look at the eleventh digit.

Characters from the 12th through the 17th position on the VIN are assigned to the car as it moves down the assembly line. Often, these numerals are arranged in consecutive order.

How to Get a Free VIN Check in Canada - comparewise

How to get a free VIN check in Canada

Doing a VIN check is one of the best ways to verify the legitimacy of a vehicle’s ownership and prevent fraud. Buying a pre-owned automobile is a smart financial move, but it is particularly prudent when dealing with a private party.

Without proper preparation, you risk spending more on repairs than your vehicle is worth. You also have to deal with difficulties that may have occurred due to damage or neglect.

The following are ways you can get a free VIN check in Canada;

Institute Bureau of Canada (VIN Verify)

VIN Verify is a tool that is made available for free by the Insurance Bureau of Canada. Its purpose is to locate vehicles branded with the salvage title or that have gone through accidents such as Flood and Fire.

Even though you won’t get a thorough report from VIN Verify, utilizing it might help you avoid purchasing a car that is in poor condition.


Your vehicle’s history report (VHR) can be researched through a free VIN check provided by Carfax. This check provides only limited but up-to-date vehicle history information.

After seeing the comprehensive history report, you should be able to decide whether or not you are interested in buying the car.

In addition to the information present in basic VIN checks, VHR also contains information on car accidents, title status checks, Canadian lien checks, theft records, and outstanding recalls.

From a dealership or online retailer

Whether you are buying a pre-owned car from a dealership or an online vendor, you should always ask the seller for a copy of the vehicle’s history record.

Because of the additional cost, it is less likely that a private seller would give a car history record. Nevertheless, reliable car dealers and merchants will mostly do so as part of the service and in an attempt to be transparent.

What is a vehicle history report?

A vehicle history report is the major way to unlock the history of a used car. A car history report may supply you with information on the past owners of a vehicle as well as any accidents that may have occurred with that vehicle.

The report provides information such as who owned the automobile at the time of the incident, what kind of work they did with the vehicle, and whether or not the vehicle was involved in any accidents.

If you’re looking to purchase a used car, this information may assist you in determining whether or not the automobile has any hidden problems.

How to get the history report of a vehicle

The vehicle identification number, often known as the VIN, is usually required in order to get a report on the history of a vehicle.

After you have the VIN in hand, you may utilize any VIN check websites, such as Carfax, to acquire a report on the car’s history. You can also get a free vehicle history report if you buy a used car from a dealership or shop through an online marketplace.

Content of a vehicle history report

A car history report will typically include the following information:

1. Previous car owners

While looking into the history of the car’s former usage, it is advisable to have information on the car’s previous owners.

Although, it is comforting to imagine that the automobile you are considering saw little use from its former owners. You need to check the history to be sure about it.

2. An account of past accidents

You may use this information to assess whether or not it is still safe for you to drive the automobile. An insurance company would typically include on a vehicle’s history record any severe incidents (and rarely, any minor accidents) reported to them by the vehicle’s owner.

It is also possible that this will provide you with a more comprehensive understanding of how a car reacts in the case of an accident.

3. Mileage (odometer readings)

Requesting a report on the car’s history enables you to verify the readings on the odometer of the vehicle. The most recent reading taken from the odometer of the vehicle should be present in the history report.

If the number doesn’t match what’s shown on the odometer when you look at the car, the seller may have rolled back the odometer, which is a red flag.

4. History of vehicle recall

A manufacturer may decide to issue a recall for a vehicle or component of the vehicle if they decide that the vehicle or component does not comply with the required minimum level of safety requirements.

This report will be present in a vehicle report history. As a result, you will be made aware of any potential problems the automobile may have.

5. Salvage title

An insurance company may declare an automobile “totaled” after a major accident, fire, or flood, yet the car may still be drivable. To warn prospective purchasers, the insurance firm will issue a “salvage title” on the car.

Most salvage-titled autos have hidden issues and lower resale value. Checking through the history of a vehicle before buying may save you from buying a salvage-titled car.

6. Canadian lien

If a car is shown as having a registered lien, this indicates that there is an outstanding balance on the debt tied to the vehicle.

If you acquire a vehicle that still has a lien on it from the previous owner, you run the risk of being financially accountable for the debt.

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Difference between VIN check and vehicle history report

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) check is a simple but valuable free tool that can verify whether or not a vehicle is what the seller claims it is. This can assist you in avoiding deception and fraud.

Compared to a VIN check, a vehicle history report provides a wealth of information but may come at an additional fee, depending on the dealership from where you purchase your vehicle.

A vehicle history report contains the same information as a check of the vehicle identification number (VIN), in addition to the following: the condition of the vehicle’s title, major accidents and claims, ownership transfers and import records, service records and inconsistencies in the odometer.

The majority of car dealerships and internet merchants provide a complimentary vehicle history report with every vehicle they sell in the interest of full disclosure.

Due to the additional expense involved, private dealers are less likely to provide a car history record to their customers. If you wish to acquire the report from a private seller, you should be aware that you may be asked to pay a particular price to download it.

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FAQs about how to get a free VIN check in Canada

Where can I locate my car's VIN?

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of your car can be found in various parts of a car, such as;

  • on the inside of the door jamb, exactly next to the spot where the driver's side door latches.
  • on the dashboard of the motor vehicle
  • you may also discover it on the paperwork pertaining to the ownership of the car, as well as insurance and servicing records.

Why is it so important to do a VIN check?

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is required in many situations.

  • In the event that you are interested in purchasing a pre-owned automobile
  • If you are interested in determining whether or not a certain car has been the subject of a recall.
  • In a situation whereby your automobile is stolen.
It is highly recommended that you keep your vehicle identification number (VIN) close at hand in the event that your vehicle or any of its components are stolen. The VIN may be entered into local and national databases; law enforcement can utilize it to assist in identifying and recovering stolen vehicles or components of vehicles.

What should I do if the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on my automobile does not match the title?

Contacting the dealership is the appropriate first action to take in the event that you have just purchased a brand-new vehicle and discovered that the title displays an incorrect VIN. They may need to redo the paperwork and submit a revised title application to the appropriate bodies in order to solve the situation.

Can I check my VIN history for free?

You certainly can; all you need to do is look for a website that offers a free VIN check. You may also get a history report for a used car from the dealership or third party from whom you purchased it.


April 3, 2023
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