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:
21 Mar 17
When was the last time you had your car serviced? It might have been six months ago (that's good) or more than a year ago (that's not so good). Servicing a car is an expense, certainly, but the potential costs of damage done to the engine, transmission and suspension due to a lack of maintenance are much greater.
How can you be sure the owner has looked after a used car you're interested in buying? By getting a CarHistory report, you can find out whether it has been written-off, stolen or a potential odometer windback, helping you make an informed decision.
What can happen to a car if it's not serviced regularly?
It's important to regularly service your car, even if the service light isn't on. For some older cars, you shouldn't go more than six months without a service1, while modern vehicles can last around 30,000 kilometres without needing a service2. That being said, if you've only driven your car for a couple of months after your last service and a warning light appears on the dashboard, you shouldn't ignore it.
Regular servicing of your car is different to making sure it's road-legal1. Mechanics check that your indicators work, that your tyres are acceptable and that your car is road-worthy, but a service will check the health of the car. For example, if your suspension is getting creaky or worn out, a service will alert you so you can replace the appropriate parts.
A regular service could have solved the problem for just a couple of hundred dollars.
Servicing can also uncover hidden engine damage that doesn't necessarily impact your ability to drive the car. If you drive with little to no oil in your car for an extended period of time, you can severely damage the head gasket or the pistons, and when these break, the repairs can cost a small fortune. Not a great trade-off when a regular service could have solved the problem for just a couple of hundred dollars.
Should you buy a car that hasn't been regularly serviced?
While it's true that regular servicing of a car is vital, you might find a car that hasn't been driven a lot and hasn't been serviced. A mechanic will be able to give you the best idea of whether a car is worth the asking price, but it's best to stick to cars that have a clean (and historic) bill of health.
To find out more about a used car you're interested in buying, get in touch with CarHistory today.
1. Covered Mag. Five reasons why you shouldn't ignore your car's service light. Accessed March 2017.2. CarsGuide. The importance of servicing your car. Accessed March 2017.
CAUTION: Safety and honesty are important to us. Takata airbag recall data was not available to our system at the time this report was requested. Please visit the www.ismyairbagsafe.com.au website to check whether this vehicle may be affected before relying on this report.