A Pennsylvania VIN is the key to understanding a vehicle’s history. VIN lookup services are available through the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or more conveniently so, through an online provider. Vehicle history records are important when buying a used car. With access to this type of report, you can review the vehicle’s damage history, title history and odometer settings, among other items.

Knowing the history of a used vehicle that you already own can alert you to vehicle safety issues or previous damage. You can order a VIN number lookup online or by mail and in-person. Review the different types of reports available and how to request them in the sections below.

How to Conduct a Pennsylvania VIN Number Lookup Online

An online VIN code lookup service provides you with a record of your vehicle that includes information from multiple databases and resources. All that is required is the VIN number for the car. On this report you will receive:

  • DMV records for the vehicle – including title transfers, event records, odometer rollbacks, and any recorded DMV information in the country.
  • Insurance information – with records of past damage reports and minor accidents and total loss.
  • Manufacturer information – from original factory specification to recall and safety notices

How to Request a Pennsylvania VIN Code Lookup in Person

Pennsylvania state DMV services provide VIN history reports on title history, odometer readings and insurance information. These reports are available when an in-person request is made at any state DMV office. To file a request, motorists must complete an application form. This form is available at any DMV office or can be downloaded from the PA DMV website.

Bring the completed forms and appropriate payment for fees to the DMV office. This type of Pennsylvania VIN code lookup service provided through the DMV office includes:

  • Current title record.
  • Previous title record.
  • Current odometer record.
  • Previous odometer record.
  • Insurance information record.
  • Encumbrance record with lienholder information.

After filing your request at the DMV office, you must wait for the report result to be mailed to you. Be sure to allow an adequate amount of time for mail service.

How to Request a Pennsylvania VIN Lookup by Mail

Additionally, certain VIN records can be ordered by mail. Similar to the in-person method, motorists requesting vehicle records by mail must complete a request form. Send the form and appropriate payment to the Pennsylvania DMV.

The types of Pennsylvania VIN number lookup reports available through the state DMV, both by mail and in person, are:

  • Current and previous title record.
  • Current and previous odometer record.
  • Insurance information record.
  • Encumbrance record with lienholder information.

What info is in a Pennsylvania VIN history report?

VIN lookup reports available from the Pennsylvania DMV are limited in scope. See the list above for the types of reports you can order and the data provided. A PA VIN history report includes all the information available from the state DMV reports as well as a full detailed history of the vehicle from multiple other sources. A VIN code check includes the following:

  • Original vehicle specifications from the manufacturer
  • Salvage auction information, recycler and junkyard reports
  • Total loss insurance events
  • DMV full title history
  • Theft status for current and recovered vehicles
  • Safety recall information from the manufacturer and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association
  • Odometer readings from multiple sources
  • Impound and towing events
  • Sales and sales listing history

Why would I need to perform a VIN check in Pennsylvania?

Checking VIN numbers is crucial for used car shoppers. Even current owners of used cars can benefit from the information found in a comprehensive vehicle history report. Shopping for vehicles that were previously owned is challenging because you cannot be sure of the full vehicle history. As an example, consider the following questions:

  • Was the odometer ever tampered with?
  • Was this vehicle ever involved in a crime?
  • Has this vehicle ever been salvaged or declared a total loss?

Motorists who already own a used vehicle will find that looking up the VIN number is helpful for determining if there are recalls on the car or lemon law issues. This can be especially helpful for car owners with recurring repair issues.

How do I locate my vehicle’s VIN number?

VIN code lookup services are only possible because of the VIN system. A VIN is a 17-digit number posted in various places on your car that is used to record everything that happens to a specific car, such as every time it is sold, in an accident, involved in a crime, inspected, etc. You can find the VIN number on your car in the some or all of the following locations:

  • Near the windshield on the dashboard
  • Pad on the front of the engine
  • Vehicle firewall
  • Radiator support bracket
  • Driver’s door
  • Passenger side door post
  • Steering column
  • Written on the guarantee, maintenance book and component parts list
  • Left instrumentation panel

Every car owner can perform a simple VIN number check by making sure every VIN number they can find matches. If you are considering purchasing a used vehicle, make sure you research the vehicle history first with a VIN code search. If you already drive a used car, consider getting an online VIN history report to make sure there are no safety recalls on your vehicle.

Vehicle History Report Fees in Pennsylvania

In general, a non-certified record costs $10 and a certified record costs $34.

Last updated on Wednesday, March 4 2020.