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California VIN Check

VIN Check A Vehicle Identification Number, also known as a VIN, is a serial number attached to each vehicle for identification purposes.
California VIN Check California VIN Check

How to Perform a VIN Lookup in California?

VIN searches in California are the best way to get vehicle histories without necessarily relying on individual sellers or dealers. From a due diligence perspective, it is highly effective because interested parties can use GoodCar to assess all historical aspects of a vehicle. That is a change of ownership, recalls, title issues, accident history, and sales records. This information can be useful as buyers may make informed decisions before proceeding with a purchase. It can also be used as leverage to negotiate pricing, especially if the seller is trying to oversell or hide certain issues. GoodCar's reports are also maintained at the highest industry standards since it is an approved NMVTIS data supplier.

How to Perform a VIN Lookup in California?

How to Find Your Car's VIN Number?

The Vehicle Identification Number, used to search records, is a 17-character code provided by the manufacturer. It is unique to every vehicle and may be viewed by every party. VINs can be found on the dashboard near the windshield and the driver's door jamb. It may also be viewed under the hood near the engine in some vehicles.

How to Perform a VIN Lookup in California?

Why Should I Run a CA VIN Check?

Why Should I Run a CA VIN Check?
Why Should I Run a CA VIN Check?

Vehicle History

VIN searches are great for determining a vehicle's complete history for due diligence. By navigating to the vehicle history report's Problem Checks section, for example, interested parties may be alerted if the vehicle has been in an accident, incurred fire or saltwater damage, and whether any clunkers repairs have been made. The Title Records segment shows parties when title changes were made, in what state, and what the vehicle mileage was for each change. Vehicle specifications are also available to the potential buyer, who may compare them against the proposition of the seller.

Why Should I Run a CA VIN Check?

Title Verification

The title is a sensitive subject regarding vehicle records as it applies to vehicle mileage, changes in ownership, and any title brands that demonstrate serious damages. If there is a problem with the title, it would indicate that the vehicle has been involved in suspicious activities or suffered from serious accidents or natural disasters, which could lead to liabilities for the buyer later on. The Ownership History shows how often the vehicle has changed hands and the locations where these transactions took place. Title brands concern significant accidents, natural disasters, theft, odometer tampering, and so many additional details that could indicate major problems with the vehicle.

Why Should I Run a CA VIN Check?

Accident History

Accident history checks are important because they illustrate if the vehicle has been in a collision within the state. With a GoodCar California VIN check you can see accident details within the Accidents section of the report. California is ranked second in the country, behind Texas, in the tendency for auto accidents annually. According to the State Highway Patrol, there were 216,366 traffic accidents in 2022. Similarly, the most common type of vehicle-related accidents are rear-end collisions, as they account for more than a quarter of the incidents. Considering this, it would be advisable to check accident histories under problem checks to verify the seller's claims. A visual inspection of the vehicle is also advised before committing to purchase. It saves buyers long-term liability that would be incurred due to repairs or rapid depreciation of the purchase.

Why Should I Run a CA VIN Check?

Mileage Verification

Unfortunately, it is also necessary to verify the mileage claims of the seller before committing to a purchase. The Mileage section of a GoodCar VIN report lists the last reported mileage as well as a mileage estimate, and the Title Records section shows the reported mileage of the vehicle each time a new title was issued. The Problem Checks section provides data about any known odometer discrepancies, as well as potential alteration, known tampering, or an odometer replacement. Mileage checks are important because California has the highest number of vehicles with tampered odometers, with nearly 440,000 in operation. With these kinds of numbers, it would be safe to check the mileage before proceeding with the sale agreement.

Why Should I Run a CA VIN Check?

Accurate Vehicle Specifications

The features and specifications of a vehicle are often a significant part of the negotiation process when deciding on a purchase price. It's common for buyers to intentionally or accidentally misrepresent features included in a used vehicle. A reliable California VIN check through a service like GoodCar.com lists each of the standard features and specific vehicle specifications under the Auto Specs section. These details make all the features of a vehicle clear, simplifying the negotiation process before making a purchase.

Why Should I Run a CA VIN Check?

California Emissions Standards Compliance

California has been at the forefront of emissions policy creation. The Advanced Clean Cars I was incorporated in 2012, and the second version in 2022. These regulations aimed to scale down the emissions levels of light-duty passenger vehicles, SUVs, trucks and increase the number of zero-emissions cars in use. In so doing, smog checks are required for every vehicle registered in the state. They are also subject to testing on every registration renewal. Diesel models that are 1998 or newer with a gross weight rating of 14,000 pounds or less have to be tested. Gas-powered vehicles that are model year 1975, or older are exempt. New vehicles for the most recent eight model years are exempt as well, but they must pay an abatement fee. By reviewing a GoodCar California VIN report you can learn the precise age of the vehicle you're considering and compare it to California laws to determine if emissions checks are required for that vehicle. Motorcycles and electric-powered vehicles are also exempt from emissions testing in California. Failure of the emissions test will result in not being renewed or registered to operate in the state. It could also lead to a registration suspension until the emissions issue has been resolved.

Why Should I Run a CA VIN Check?

Recalls and Safety Standards

The GoodCar VIN check allows requesters to check if a vehicle has significant defects that qualify as manufacturer recalls under the NHTSA Recalls section. These issues affect the safety and operation of the vehicle. Checking for potential open recalls can save the vehicle owner from further liability, especially since there are more than 200,000 vehicles with unrepaired urgent recalls in the state. Owners can also refer to the Auto Specs section under the Safety & Security heading for data about the safety and security features included as standard on the vehicle or as an optional upgrade.

Why Should I Run a CA VIN Check?

Theft Check

A theft check requires due diligence by the buyer to ensure the vehicle has not been involved in unscrupulous activities. With a California VIN check from GoodCar, it's possible to see if the vehicle has a Title Brand as a Recovered Theft, Salvage / Stolen, or for Vandalism. Title brand data is listed within the Problem Checks section of the report. This is relevant in California, considering there have been 202,685 motor vehicle thefts in 2022. It ranks as one of the highest in the nation. That said, it would be crucial to check the prospective vehicle so the buyer can protect themselves from criminal liability. Possessing stolen property in California is illegal, and if an individual is charged, it could lead to a misdemeanor finding. According to Cal. Penal Code 496 (2022), the offender could face upwards of a year in jail or up to three years, depending on the value of the vehicle.

Why Should I Run a CA VIN Check?

Previous Police, Taxi or Rental Vehicles

In California, commercial vehicles serving police departments, taxi services, and rental companies are eventually resold as used vehicles. The past use for these vehicles is sometimes disclosed during a sale, but not always. By using a California VIN check through GoodCar, you can look under the Problem Checks section to see if the vehicle was once a police vehicle, rental car, or taxi. When you know the vehicle was once a commercial vehicle you can use that information to negotiate for a lower purchase price or to avoid purchasing the vehicle in favor of another option.

Why Should I Run a CA VIN Check?

Natural Disaster-Related Reasons

The state is not a stranger to natural disasters, considering it frequently experiences wildfires, floods, and earthquakes. Similarly, the vehicles that operate within California state limits are also prone to the same wear over time. Used vehicles on offer should be checked for flood, saltwater, or flood-related damage, which is possible via the Problem Checks segment.

California Lemon Lawsand How They Relate to VIN Checks

California Lemon Laws
and How They Relate to VIN Checks

California Lemon laws, as outlined in Civ. Code, 1793.2, protect the vehicle owner or buyer if a purchased vehicle has defects. Should these defects not be repairable, the vehicle owner has the right to request repurchasing or replacement. This regulation applies to new vehicles bought or leased in California but remains under the manufacturer's new vehicle warranty if the problem becomes apparent in the first 18 months or 18,000 miles following purchase. Active duty members of the Armed Forces living in California at the time of purchase are protected by the regulation even if the vehicle has been purchased or registered outside the state. The manufacturer has to be given a reasonable number of attempts to fix the problem. It could be four times if the problem is small, but two if it is life-threatening. Lemon vehicles that have been repurchased and then resold have to be categorized as lemon law buybacks. They also have to have a lemon sticker. Potential buyers can complete a GoodCar California VIN check and determine if the vehicle they are interested in is indeed a lemon due to the defects indicated by listed recalls, or significant accidents on the report.

California Lemon Lawsand How They Relate to VIN Checks

The Title Transfer Process

Vehicle titles are obtained from the seller before registering with the state authorities under the new owner. The first step in California is to ensure the title has been signed by both the buyer and seller. It would have to be signed by a lienholder if that is relevant. The buyer is required to provide the vehicle license plate number, VIN, state driving license, lienholder details, purchase price, and vehicle specifications. There is a title transfer fee of $15.

California Lemon Lawsand How They Relate to VIN Checks

California Insurance and Registration Requirements

California requires vehicle owners to purchase an approved insurance coverage to operate on the state roads and highways. The minimum liability requirements are that they cover $15,000 for injury or single person deaths. $30,000 should be available for multiple deaths or injuries. The coverage should also have $5,000 for property damage. For first-time registration, the owner must provide proof of identification, insurance information, sales tax, vehicle title, emissions clearance, and the registration application. Registration fees are $61, while the Highway Patrol fee is $28.

California Lemon Lawsand How They Relate to VIN Checks

California Titling Requirements and Sales Tax

The Certificate of title is an official document showing the vehicle's owner. Vehicle buyers are required to complete an application for replacement or transfer of title. It must also be done within ten days of the purchase, and the replacement cost is $23. The sales tax for a vehicle in the state is 7.25% in addition to applicable district taxation.

California Lemon Lawsand How They Relate to VIN Checks

California-Assigned VINs

VINs are provided by vehicle manufacturers for all models, though there are certain exemptions. The Department of Motor Vehicles will assign and fix a VIN plate when required for registration in the case of trailer coaches, trailers under 6000 pounds, new motorcycles, and snowmobiles.

Why Choose GoodCar for California VIN Lookup?

Why Choose GoodCar for California VIN Lookup?

GoodCar combines vehicle history, title issues, recall information, and specification reports into one database so interested parties can know everything about a car’s records. This proves invaluable to individuals seeking due diligence to avoid future liabilities. GoodCar also provides customers with the upper hand as they can negotiate on pricing when needed.

Frequently Asked Questionsabout California VIN Checks

Frequently Asked Questions
about California VIN Checks

  1. Who Issues a Vehicle's VIN Number in California?

    Vehicle manufacturers issue VINs for most vehicles in the state, though there are instances when the DMV will issue them for trailers, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and trailers under 6,000 pounds.

  2. How do I verify a VIN number in California?

    California VINs can be verified by law enforcement agencies like the California Highway Patrol, the California DMV, and private approved verifiers such as GoodCar.

  3. Is it safe to check a California VIN online?

    It is safe to check if California VINs online because this is public information. People should be encouraged to check VINs from reputable data suppliers like GoodCar to verify their vehicle histories and go through problem checks.

  4. Do I need a VIN inspection in California?

    Yes, VIN inspections are mandatory in the state of California. These are an essential part of the registration or renewal process, along with emissions checks and titling.

  5. Are California VIN checks necessary for out-of-state vehicles brought into California?

    Yes, California maintains that a VIN check is required for out-of-state vehicles. The VIN inspection is done as part of registration, along with emissions checks.

  6. What does a California VIN check reveal?

    A California VIN check will provide information on vehicle history, accident records, theft checks, and past sales. It allows interested parties to perform due diligence on vehicles they are interested in, while also allowing them to avoid hard-to-spot liabilities.

  7. Is it safe to give out a VIN in California?

    Giving out the VIN in California is safe as the information is widely available by looking at the dashboard. Record seekers should share their VINs if they would like more information on history, recalls, or title issues.

  8. Can you ask for the VIN from a California seller?

    Yes, it is encouraged to request the VIN from a Californian seller, as potential buyers can verify the claims made on a vehicle. It creates accountability and transparency in the transaction as the purchaser can objectively perform due diligence and then proceed if they are satisfied.