A Washington Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) can provide you with key details about a vehicle that you intend to purchase, sell or would like to review the history of. Many Washington state drivers license holders could benefit from obtaining a vehicle record, whether for a car they own or for one they plan to purchase. Fortunately, you can obtain a vehicle history report online or by mail.

An online VIN number lookup service such as the one provided by DMV.com will instantly generate a comprehensive vehicle record for you. All you have to do is input your vehicle’s identification number to get started. In the sections below, you will learn more about the benefits of a VIN number check in WA.

How to Conduct a VIN Lookup Online in Washington

Performing a VIN number lookup online is by far the fastest method of obtaining a vehicle history report. By submitting your request online, you will receive an instant report, no matter what time it is or where you are. To take advantage of a more convenient way to request a vehicle history report whenever you may need one.

How to Lookup VIN Numbers in Washington by Mail

You can look up a VIN by mail by downloading and completing a vehicle record request form. This is a viable method of obtaining a vehicle’s history. However, it can take between seven and 10 business days from the date that the Washington Department of Licensing processes your request to receive the vehicle’s report.

What info is in a Washington VIN history report?

A VIN code lookup provides a wide variety of important information regarding a vehicle’s history. By checking VIN numbers in Washington, you will learn more about how many owners a vehicle has had, how the vehicle has been used, odometer records and whether or not a vehicle currently has a lender. This is important information, especially if you are considering a purchase from a private seller.

While illegal, there are individuals who attempt to tamper with a vehicle’s odometer reading. This is done in order to increase the value of the car as well as attempt to sell vehicles that still have liens listed on the title. Buying a car that already has a lien on it could result in the vehicle being reposed from you. Therefore, a VIN number check is the most important way that you can protect yourself from any sort of scam or fraud.

Looking up a VIN number is also the best way to learn about accidents that a vehicle has been involved in as well as whether or not a vehicle has ever been declared a total loss by an insurance provider. A vehicle is declared a total loss if it has sustained enough damage that it would be considered uneconomical to repair, if it has sustained flood damage or if it has been a part of an unrecoverable theft. Total loss vehicles are issued a salvage title to reflect the damage or theft that has occurred and once a vehicle has received a salvage title, there is no way to obtain a traditional title. It is important to be aware of this type of titling up front as salvage vehicles are far more difficult to insure or sell.

A VIN report will also provide you with any notices for safety recalls from the NHTSA and vehicle manufacturers, as well as the severity of the recall and the options available for repair.

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

After learning how to check a VIN number in Washington, it is important to understand why you may want to review a vehicle’s history report. While vehicle history reports are commonly requested for a number of reasons, they are most sought after when considering the purchase or sale of a vehicle.

A VIN number report can help you to make an informed decision on the potential purchase of a vehicle as well as negotiate price if there are derogatory marks on the report. With the guesswork out of the picture, you will have a better idea of how a vehicle will run and the vehicle’s life expectancy.

The VIN history is also incredibly valuable if you are considering the sale of your vehicle or trade-in to a dealership. A good vehicle history can be a tool for price negotiations. If you are selling a vehicle to private buyers, the history report can raise your credibility as well as relay an act of good faith to prospective buyers.

How do I locate my vehicle’s VIN number?

The vehicle identification number (VIN) of a vehicle will be required in any sort of vehicle history request. Therefore, it is important to know where this number can be found. In vehicles with a model year of 1981 or newer, the identification number will be 17 characters made up of both letters and numerals. The vehicle identification number varies greatly for vehicles with model years older than 1981.

The VIN number of a vehicle can be found on the vehicle’s title and owner’s manual as well as associated documents such as insurance and registration cards. Alternatively, you can find this number on the vehicle itself in a number of places, including:

  • The lower-left corner of the dashboard, read through the windshield.
  • The front of the engine block.
  • Beneath the spare tire in the vehicle’s trunk.
  • Inside the driver side doorjamb while the door remains open.
  • The rear wheel well of the vehicle, directly above the tire.

While each vehicle may have several or all of these locations, not every vehicle will have its VIN listed in all of these locations. Therefore, it is important to check the various spots until the number is found.

Vehicle History Report Fees in Washington

Residents may request a vehicle history report for free in Washington. On the other hand, businesses must pay $2 per record.

Last updated on Wednesday, March 4 2020.