What Does a VIN Number Search Show?

Where Can I Find the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)?

The vehicle identification number (VIN) is composed of 17 characters (digits and capital letters) that act as a unique identifier for the vehicle. A VIN displays the car's unique features, specifications and manufacturer.

The VIN can be found in a couple of places including on the car's registration label (1), on the compliance plate in the engine bay (2) or on the passenger side windshield (3), or on one of the door posts (where the door latches when it is closed) (4). See the image below:

Look for the VIN in these other locations:

  • Insurance card/Insurance policy
  • Vehicle title and registration certificate


If you’re looking to buy a used car, conducting a VIN number search is the best way to make sure you don’t get caught out by any nasty surprises after you’ve taken ownership of your new vehicle.

Did you know that if you buy a second-hand car that still has finance owed on it by a previous owner, that car may be able to be repossessed – at any time, from any owner – to cover the outstanding debt? Running a VIN check Australia is the best way to avoid being left out of pocket and on the side of the road. 


What does a VIN number search show?

Also known as the vehicle identification number, a VIN number is a 17-character serial number attached to a motor vehicle by the manufacturer when it is made. This unique identifier is a legal protocol and allows a prospective purchaser (or dealer, auto mechanic, or similar) to trace the manufacturing, sales, insurance and registration history of a vehicle via a VIN number check or PPSR check


When you run a VIN number search, you’ll be provided with key information about the car, such as its make, model, year of manufacture, airbag compliance, engine size, transmission type and more. It also functions as a vehicle registration check, so you’ll be able to see when and where it was last registered, and the current rego (if applicable) expiry date. 
Knowing this information is an important part of assessing a fair price for the age, authenticity, and condition of the car you’re being sold. It’s also helpful in making sure your prospective vehicle has all the core components and accessories it’s being marketed as having on the sales listing. This can help you ascertain if it’s had any modifications – legal or otherwise. If you’re looking for spare parts, the VIN can help ensure you get the proper fitting for your vehicle. 
A standard VIN number search will also reveal if the vehicle is under any existing finance arrangements, such as a loan or debt agreement or security interest. This information comes via the PPSR (Personal Property Securities Register) database, formerly known as REVS (Register of Encumbered Vehicles). It is verified in the form of an official PPSR certificate generated by the Australian government. 

Suppose you’re feeling uneasy about a particular vehicle or seller or simply want to have as much information as possible before you commit to purchasing a certain vehicle. In that case, our comprehensive CarHistory report is a great resource. 
In addition to an official PPSR certificate, registration, and vehicle financial encumbrance check, our CarHistory report gives you access to in-depth information that is not available in your regular VIN number search, including:

  • When the car was first sold;
  • A current valuation and market comparison;
  • If an insurance company has written off the vehicle (i.e., deemed unroadworthy and not worth repairing);
  • Whether the odometer reading is consistent with previous reports or it has been wound back to appear as if the car has done less mileage;
  • A stolen vehicle check (which can often explain unexpectedly low prices);
  • Flood, storm, and water damage checks;
  • Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) safety and emissions ratings.

Combined, this information will place you in good stead to assess the risks associated with purchasing a specific used vehicle. 

How long does it take to search for a VIN number?


You can complete your VIN number search in minutes. To apply, enter the VIN or car rego and state information into the REVS check search bar located on our website to get your report

Next, follow the prompts to nominate your preferred lookup VIN report type and email address to deliver the report. Afterwards, you can complete the relevant payment details. 

Then, sit back and take it easy! You’ll have an easily readable PDF file with all of the requested information in your inbox within no time at all. 

How to search for the VIN number of a vehicle? 


To conduct a VIN number search, you’ll first need to acquire the vehicle VIN Number. 

If you’ve been wondering ‘where do I find my VIN number?’, it’s easy!

You can find the VIN location in a number of places on the vehicle, but the quickest places to spot the VIN are (1), on the compliance plate in the engine bay, (2) the windshield on the passenger side, and (3) on one of the doorposts (where the door latches when it is closed). You can also find it on the vehicle’s registration certificate and insurance documentation.

If you’re requesting the vehicle identification number remotely from a seller, ensure that the VIN they provide is supported by recent photo evidence. You can check the date a photo was taken in the file metadata, or ask them to hold a piece of paper with the date the photo was taken in the frame, next to the VIN. 

It’s important to know that all post-1989 VINs are 17 digits long. If the number you receive is missing a digit or two, you may need to ask the seller to check again before you try to run a VIN number lookup. We’re only able to run a VIN search on 17-digit VINs, so if you’re purchasing a car model that was manufactured before 1989, the information available may be limited – something important to factor into your vehicle purchase risk assessment. 

Once you’ve got the VIN, visit us online to complete your car VIN number check. Remember: the closer to the purchasing date you run your VIN number search, the more current the information provided in the VIN lookup Australia will be. 

View a sample report >