How to Tell if You Have an Incorrect VIN Number


Experts always advise used car buyers to get comprehensive car history reports online to know more about their vehicles of choice before they make any deal. To generate a report, you need to run a car VIN check on the vehicle you plan to purchase, which will require you to read and copy out its vehicle identification number correctly, because if you use an invalid VIN for the check, you will get an error message. There are, however, a number of ways to know that the VIN number copied out is correct. You can also use these methods to discover the wrong characters or the omitted letters or numbers and correct them. Read on to know more.

Ensure 17 alphanumerical characters

Every car has a VIN which consists of 17 alphanumeric characters. Any VIN that does not have 17 characters cannot be correct, regardless of the state or market where you are carrying out the check. The 17 digits norm is the universally accepted ISO standard for all vehicles produced since 1981. So, when you copy out a vehicle’s VIN, count the characters to ensure that they are complete. If the letters and numbers are more or less than 17, there is an error somewhere, unless you are checking the VIN of a classic car produced before 1981.

Check for invalid letters

VIN numbers can include any digit from 0 to 9 and any letter of alphabet from A to Z, except I, O and Q. The VIN standards exclude these letters in order to forestall the possibility of confusing them with one and zero. So, when you want to run a car VIN check, don’t mistake 1 for I or 0 for O and Q as there are no I, O and Q in any car VIN. In other words, if your VIN contains I, O or Q, simply replace O and Q with 0 and I with 1. Another digit of the VIN that will help you discover an invalid VIN anytime you are using the services of a car VIN decoder online is the 9th digit of your VIN. The 9th digit of a VIN can either be the letter X or any numeric digit ranging from Zero to Nine. If you have any other number or letter in that position, you have an incorrect VIN.

Use the checksum of your VIN

The VIN checksum for the US and Canadian market is the 9th digit. Many car buyers in these countries do not know that this particular digit does not provide any information about the vehicle. It is a unique character which shows an incorrect VIN when it is compared with an error checking algorithm’s result. Before you do a Car VIN check, take the time to learn how to use this checksum to identify an invalid VIN.

Final Advice

The strategies explained above are the tools you need to find out and correct an incorrect VIN. The invalid message will disappear and the VINs will decode once you are able to correct the mistakes. Armed with an accurate VIN, You can obtain detailed and accurate information on any used car from ClearVIN’s free car VIN check tool. To find out more about how we can assist you make informed buying decisions, reach us at +(844) 268 – 5991.

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