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Tip #4 - Maintain Complete Vehicle Maintenance Records

Documenting the work that has done on your car is extremely important. You should never leave the car dealer without a detailed statement of what was done to your car. This written proof is integral towards keeping a well documented history of your car for future reference. Therefore, always insist on receiving a copy of the work orders for your records. Having these records on hand will make selling or trading in your car much easier later on.


FAQ #3 - What is a "Lemon?":

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a lemon as: "One that is or proves to be unsatisfactory…" (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 2nd College Ed., © 1985). However, in an attemptt to further define such a broad definition, the Lemon Law defines certain situations which entitles car buyers to their money back or a replacement car. Simple said, any defect or nonconformity, or combination of defects, which is not repaired within a reasonable number of attempts or a reasonable amount of time, may entitle the car buyer to lemon law relief.

vin check note

Tip #3 - When buying or selling a used car:

When selling a vehicle, don't let a stranger take it for a test drive alone. If a prospective buyer wants to take the car to a mechanic for an appraisal, volunteer to deliver and pick up the car to a known mechanic shop. When buying a used car, be certain that the seller's name and address are verified, and be sure that the VIN on the registration is the same as the one on the car. Also make sure there is not a lien (loan) on the vehicle.

 


FAQ #5 - Online Car Buying

A few websites allow you to actually purchase a new or used car without leaving your home except for a trip to a dealership to pick up the car after the sale is finalized. Most of the sites that offer online car buying can quote you a price upfront - there is no waiting for a dealer to get back to you. Some sites allow you to complete financing documents at home before going to the dealer. The best part is that many car prices listed online are lower than the posted prices at the car dealership. The dealership will honor the lower price, giving you a much better deal without negociating.

 

US VIN Code Law (Courtesy of NHTSA)


Get a free VIN Numbers Check or learn more about VIN law below.

CHAPTER V--NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
PART 565--VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER REQUIREMENTS

Purpose and scope

Applicability

Definitions

General requirements

Motor vehicles imported into the United States

Content requirements

Reporting requirements

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Purpose and scope. Vehicle Identification Numbers VIN: Purpose and scope.
Code of Federal Regulations
Title 49, Volume 5, Parts 400 to 999
Revised as of October 1, 2000
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
CITE: 49CFR565.1

TITLE 49--TRANSPORTATION

CHAPTER V--
NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

PART 565--VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER REQUIREMENTS--Table of Contents

Sec. 565.1 Purpose and scope.

This part specifies the format, content and physical requirements for a vehicle identification number (VIN) system and its installation to simplify vehicle identification information retrieval and to increase the accuracy and efficiency of vehicle recall campaigns.


565.2 Applicability. Vehicle Identification Numbers VIN: Applicability.
Code of Federal Regulations
Title 49, Volume 5, Parts 400 to 999
Revised as of October 1, 2000
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
CITE: 49CFR565.2

Page 158

TITLE 49--TRANSPORTATION

CHAPTER V--
NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

PART 565--VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER REQUIREMENTS--Table of Contents

Sec. 565.2 Applicability.

This part applies to passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, trailers (including trailer kits), incomplete vehicles, and motorcycles. Vehicles imported into the United States under 49 CFR 591.5(f), other than by the corporation responsible for the assembly of that vehicle or a subsidiary of such a corporation, are excluded from requirements of Sec. 565.4(b), Sec. 565.4(c), Sec. 565.4(g), Sec. 565.4(h), Sec. 565.5 and Sec. 565.6.

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565.3 Definitions. Vehicle Identification Numbers VIN: Definitions.
Code of Federal Regulations
Title 49, Volume 5, Parts 400 to 999
Revised as of October 1, 2000
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
CITE: 49CFR565.3

[Page 159]

TITLE 49--TRANSPORTATION

CHAPTER V--NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

PART 565--VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER REQUIREMENTS--Table of Contents

Sec. 565.3 Definitions.

(a) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards Definitions. Unless otherwise indicated, all terms used in this part that are defined in 49 CFR 571.3 are used as defined in 49 CFR 571.3.

(b) Body type means the general configuration or shape of a vehicle distinguished by such characteristics as the number of doors or windows, cargo-carrying features and the roofline (e.g., sedan, fastback, hatchback).

(c) Check digit means a single number or the letter X used to verify the accuracy of the transcription of the vehicle identification number.

(d) Engine type means a power source with defined characteristics such as fuel utilized, number of cylinders, displacement, and net brake horsepower. The specific manufacturer and make shall be represented if the engine powers a passenger car or a multipurpose passenger vehicle, or truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or less.

(e) Incomplete vehicle means an assemblage consisting, as a minimum, of frame and chassis structure, power train, steering system, suspension system and braking system, to the extent that those systems are to be part of the completed vehicle, that requires further manufacturing operations, other than the addition of readily attachable components, such as mirrors or tire and rim assemblies, or minor finishing operations such as painting, to become a completed vehicle.

(f) Line means a name that a manufacturer applies to a family of vehicles within a make which have a degree of commonality in construction, such as body, chassis or cab type.

(g) Make means a name that a manufacturer applies to a group of vehicles or engines.

(h) Manufacturer means a person-- (1) Manufacturing or assembling motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment; or (2) Importing motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment for resale.

(i) Model means a name that a manufacturer applies to a family of vehicles of the same type, make, line, series and body type.

(j) Model Year means the year used to designate a discrete vehicle model, irrespective of the calendar year in which the vehicle was actually produced, so long as the actual period is less than two calendar years.

(k) Plant of manufacture means the plant where the manufacturer affixes the VIN.

(l) Series means a name that a manufacturer applies to a subdivision of a ``line'' denoting price, size or weight identification and that is used by the manufacturer for marketing purposes.

(m) Trailer kit means a trailer that is fabricated and delivered in complete but unassembled form and that is designed to be assembled without special machinery or tools.

(n) Type means a class of vehicle distinguished by common traits, including design and purpose. Passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, trailers, incomplete vehicles and motorcycles are separate types.

(o) VIN means a series of Arabic numbers and Roman letters that is assigned to a motor vehicle for identification purposes.

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General requirements. Vehicle Identification Numbers VIN:
General requirements
Code of Federal Regulations
Title 49, Volume 5, Parts 400 to 999
Revised as of October 1, 2000
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
CITE: 49CFR565.4

[Page 159-160]

TITLE 49--TRANSPORTATION

CHAPTER V--
NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

PART 565--VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER REQUIREMENTS--Table of Contents

Sec. 565.4 General requirements.

(a) Each vehicle manufactured in one stage shall have a VIN that is assigned by the manufacturer. Each vehicle manufactured in more than one stage shall have a VIN assigned by the incomplete vehicle manufacturer. Vehicle alterers, as specified in 49 CFR 567.7, shall utilize the VIN assigned by the original manufacturer of the vehicle.

(b) Each VIN shall consist of seventeen (17) characters.

(c) A check digit shall be part of each VIN. The check digit shall appear in position nine (9) of the VIN, on the vehicle and on any transfer documents containing the VIN prepared by the manufacturer to be given to the first owner for purposes other than resale.

(d) The VINs of any two vehicles manufactured within a 30-year period shall not be identical.

(e) The VIN of each vehicle shall appear clearly and indelibly upon either a part of the vehicle, other than the glazing, that is not designed to be removed except for repair or upon a separate plate or label that is permanently affixed to such a part.

[Page 160]

(f) The VIN for passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks of 4536 kg or less GVWR shall be located inside the passenger compartment. It shall be readable, without moving any part of the vehicle, through the vehicle glazing under daylight lighting conditions by an observer having 20/20 vision (Snellen) whose eye-point is located outside the vehicle adjacent to the left windshield pillar. Each character in the VIN subject to this paragraph shall have a minimum height of 4 mm.

(g) Each character in each VIN shall be one of the letters in the set: [ABCDEFGHJKLMNPRSTUVWXYZ] or a numeral in the set: [0123456789] assigned according to the method given in Sec. 565.5.

(h) All spaces provided for in the VIN must be occupied by a character specified in paragraph (g) of this section.

(i) The type face utilized for each VIN shall consist of capital, san-serif characters.

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Motor vehicles imported into the United States. Vehicle Identification Numbers VIN: Motor vehicles imported into the United States
Code of Federal Regulations
Title 49, Volume 5, Parts 400 to 999
Revised as of October 1, 2000
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
CITE: 49CFR565.5

[Page 160]

TITLE 49--TRANSPORTATION

CHAPTER V--NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

PART 565--VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER REQUIREMENTS--Table of Contents

Sec. 565.5 Motor vehicles imported into the United States.

(a) Importers shall utilize the VIN assigned by the original manufacturer of the motor vehicle.

(b) A passenger car certified by a Registered Importer under 49 CFR part 592 shall have a plate or label that contains the following statement, in characters with a minimum height of 4 mm, with the identification number assigned by the original manufacturer provided in the blank: SUBSTITUTE FOR U.S. VIN: ____________ SEE PART 565. The plate or label shall conform to Sec. 565.4 (h) and (i). The plate or label shall be permanently affixed inside the passenger compartment. The plate or label shall be readable, without moving any part of the vehicle, through the vehicle glazing under daylight lighting conditions by an observer having 20/20 vision (Snellen) whose eye-point is located outside the vehicle adjacent to the left windshield pillar. It shall be located in such a manner as not to cover, obscure, or overlay any part of any identification number affixed by the original manufacturer. Passenger cars conforming to Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 115 are exempt from this paragraph.

Courtesy of NHTSA

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Content requirements. Vehicle Identification Numbers VIN:
Content requirements
Code of Federal Regulations
Title 49, Volume 5, Parts 400 to 999
Revised as of October 1, 2000
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
CITE: 49CFR565.6

[Page 160-162]

TITLE 49--TRANSPORTATION

CHAPTER V--
NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

PART 565--VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER REQUIREMENTS--Table of Contents

Sec. 565.6 Content requirements.

The VIN shall consist of four sections of characters which shall be grouped accordingly:

(a) The first section shall consist of three characters that occupy positions one through three (1-3) in the VIN. This section shall uniquely identify the manufacturer, make and type of the motor vehicle if its manufacturer produces 500 or more motor vehicles of its type annually. If the manufacturer produces less than 500 motor vehicles of its type annually, these characters along with the third, fourth and fifth characters of the fourth section shall uniquely identify the manufacturer, make and type of the motor vehicle. These characters are assigned in accordance with Sec. 565.7(a).

(b) The second section shall consist of five characters, which occupy positions four through eight (4-8) in the VIN. This section shall uniquely identify the attributes of the vehicle as specified in Table I. For passenger cars, and for multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or less, the first and second characters shall be alphabetic and the third and fourth characters shall be numeric. The fifth character may be either alphabetic or numeric. The characters utilized and their placement within the section may be determined by the manufacturer, but the specified attributes must be decipherable with information supplied by the manufacturer in accordance with Sec. 565.7

(c). In submitting the required information to NHTSA relating to gross vehicle weight rating, the designations in Table II shall be used. The use of these designations within the VIN itself is not required.

Tables I and II follow:

Table I--Type of Vehicle and Information Decipherable

Passenger car: Line, series, body type, engine type and restraint system type.

Multipurpose passenger vehicle: Line, series, body type, engine type, gross vehicle weight rating.

[Page 161]

Truck: Model or line, series, chassis, cab type, engine type, brake system and gross vehicle weight rating.

Bus: Model or line, series, body type, engine type, and brake system

Trailer, including trailer kits and incomplete trailer: Type of trailer, body type, length and axle configuration.

Motorcycle: Type of motorcycle, line, engine type, and net brake horsepower.

Incomplete Vehicle other than a trailer: Model or line, series, cab type, engine type and brake system.

Note to Table I: Engine net brake horsepower when encoded in the VIN shall differ by no more than 10 percent from the actual net brake horsepower; shall in the case of motorcycle with an actual net brake horsepower of 2 or less, be not more than 2; and shall be greater than 2 in the case of a motorcycle with an actual brake horsepower greater than

2. Table II--Gross Vehicle Weight Rating Classes

Class A--Not greater than 1360 kg. (3,000 lbs.)
Class B--Greater than 1360 kg. to 1814 kg. (3,001-4,000 lbs.)
Class C--Greater than 1814 kg. to 2268 kg. (4,001-5,000 lbs.)
Class D--Greater than 2268 kg. to 2722 kg. (5,001-6,000 lbs.)
Class E--Greater than 2722 kg. to 3175 kg. (6,001-7,000 lbs.)
Class F--Greater than 3175 kg. to 3629 kg. (7,001-8,000 lbs.)
Class G--Greater than 3629 kg. to 4082 kg. (8,001-9,000 lbs.)
Class H--Greater than 4082 kg. to 4536 kg. (9,001-10,000 lbs.)
Class 3--Greater than 4536 kg. to 6350 kg. (10,001-14,000 lbs.)
Class 4--Greater than 6350 kg. to 7257 kg. (14,001-16,000 lbs.)
Class 5--Greater than 7257 kg. to 8845 kg. (16,001-19,500 lbs.)
Class 6--Greater than 8845 kg. to 11793 kg. (19,501-26,000 lbs.)
Class 7--Greater than 11793 kg. to 14968 kg.(26,001-33,000 lbs.)
Class 8--Greater than 14968 kg. (33,001 lbs. and over)

(c) The third section shall consist of one character, which occupies position nine (9) in the VIN. This section shall be the check digit whose purpose is to provide a means for verifying the accuracy of any VIN transcription. After all other characters in VIN have been determined by the manufacturer, the check digit shall be calculated by carrying out the mathematical computation specified in paragraphs (c) (1) through (4) of this section.

(1) Assign to each number in the VIN its actual mathematical value and assign to each letter the value specified for it in Table III, as follows:
Table III--Assigned Values

A = 1
B = 2
C = 3
D = 4
E = 5 F = 6
G = 7H = 8
J = 1
K = 2
L = 3 M = 4
N = 5P = 7
R = 9
S = 2
T = 3 U = 4
V = 5W = 6
X = 7
Y = 8
Z = 9

(2) Multiply the assigned value for each character in the VIN by the position weight factor specified in Table IV, as follows:

Table IV-- VIN Position and Weight Factor

VIN Position 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
Weight Factor 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 10

VIN Position 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th
Weight Factor check
digit 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

(3) Add the resulting products and divide the total by 11.
(4) The numerical remainder is the check digit. If the remainder is 10 the letter ``X'' shall be used to designate the check digit. The correct numeric remainder, zero through nine (0-9) or the letter ``X,'' shall appear in VIN position nine (9).

(5) A sample check digit calculation is shown in Table V as follows:

Table V--Calculation of a Check Digit
VIN Position................................ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Sample VIN.................................. 1 G 4 A H 5 9 H .. 5 G 1 1 8 3 4 1.
Assigned Value.............................. 1 7 4 1 8 5 9 8 .. 5 7 1 1 8 3 4 1.
Weight Factor............................... 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 10 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Multiply Assigned value times weight factor. 8 49 24 5 32 15 18 80 0 45 56 7 6 40 12 12 2

Add products: 8+49+24+5+32+15+18+80+0+45+56+7+6+40+12+12+2 = 411
Divide by 11: 411/11 = 37 4/11
The remainder is 4; this is the check digit to be inserted in position nine (9) of the VIN

(d) The fourth section shall consist of eight characters, which occupy positions ten through seventeen (10-17) of the VIN. The last five

(5) characters of this section shall be numeric for passenger cars and for multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kg. (10,000 lbs.) or less, and the last four (4) characters shall be numeric for all other vehicles. (1) The first character of the fourth section shall represent the vehicle model year. The year shall be designated as indicated in Table VI as follows:

Table VI--Year Codes for VIN

Year Code

1980 A 1981 B 1982 C 1983 D 1984 E 1985 F
1986 G 1987 H 1988 J 1989 K 1990 L 1991 M
1992 N 1993 P 1994 R 1995 S 1996 T 1997 V
1998 W 1999 X 2000 Y 2001 1 2002 2 2003 3
2004 4 2005 5 2006 6 2007 7 2008 8 2009 9
2010 A 2011 B 2012 C 2013 D

(2) The second character of the fourth section shall represent the plant of manufacture.

(3) The third through the eighth characters of the fourth section shall represent the number sequentially assigned by the manufacturer in the production process if the manufacturer produces 500 or more vehicles of its type annually. If the manufacturer produces less than 500 motor vehicles of its type annually, the third, fourth and fifth characters of the fourth section, combined with the three characters of the first section, shall uniquely identify the manufacturer, make and type of the motor vehicle and the sixth, seventh, and eighth characters of the fourth section shall represent the number sequentially assigned by the manufacturer in the production process.

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Reporting requirements. Vehicle Identification Numbers VIN:
Reporting requirements
Code of Federal Regulations
Title 49, Volume 5, Parts 400 to 999
Revised as of October 1, 2000
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
CITE: 49CFR565.6

[Page 162-163]

TITLE 49--TRANSPORTATION

CHAPTER V--
NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

PART 565--VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER REQUIREMENTS--Table of Contents

Sec. 565.7 Reporting requirements.

The information collection requirements contained in this part have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) and have been assigned OMB Control Number 2127-0510.

(a) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has contracted with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to coordinate the assignment of manufacturer identifiers. Manufacturer identifiers will be supplied by SAE at no charge. All requests for assignments of manufacturer identifiers should be forwarded directly to: Society of Automotive Engineers, 400 Commonwealth Avenue, Warrendale, Pennsylvania 15096, Attention: WMI Coordinator. Any requests for identifiers submitted to NHTSA will be forwarded to SAE. Manufacturers may request a specific identifier or may request only assignment of an identifier(s). SAE will review requests for specific identifiers to determine that they do not conflict with an identifier already assigned or block of identifiers already reserved. SAE will confirm the assignments in writing to the requester. Once confirmed by SAE, the identifier need not be resubmitted to NHTSA.

(b) Manufacturers of vehicles subject to this part shall submit, either directly or through an agent, the unique identifier for each make and type of vehicle it manufactures at least 60 days before affixing the first VIN using the identifier. Manufacturers whose unique identifier appears in the fourth section of the VIN shall also submit the three characters of the first section that constitutes a part of their identifier. (c) Manufacturers of vehicles subject to the requirements of this part shall submit to NHTSA the information necessary to decipher the characters contained in its VINs. Amendments to this information shall be submitted to the agency for VINs containing an amended coding. The agency will not routinely provide written approvals of these submissions, but will contact the manufacturer should any corrections to these submissions be necessary. (d) The information required under paragraph

(c) of this section shall be submitted at least 60 days prior to offering for sale the first vehicle identified by a VIN containing that information, or if information concerning vehicle characteristics sufficient to specify the VIN code is unavailable to the manufacturer by that date, then within one week after that information first becomes available. The information shall be addressed to: Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590, Attention: VIN Coordinator.

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