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:
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Not all used cars are equal - in fact, some of them are going to be far more trouble than they're worth. However, spotting that from the exterior is almost impossible. If you don't know for sure that a car is going to be perfect for you, it likely won't be. You have to sit in the driver's seat, get a feel for the engine and make sure it's all mechanically sound. You should also check that it's not hiding any nasty surprises with a CarHistory report.
Test driving a car isn't as straightforward as turning it on, going for a drive around the block, and checking that the brakes work. It's more about finding out if all the little things will work for you, and if the faults will be too much to deal with.
What should you look out for in a test drive?
It's imperative that you take a car for a test drive. Before you even turn the key, however, you should sit in the driver's seat and make sure of a few things:
Of course, not everyone will have the same gripes for their next used car, but the important thing is you check that it's going to work for you. Put yourself in a number of situations where you have to change something inside the car, and if you can't do it easily (and you think it's going to become a problem), it's not the right car for you.
For help finding a great used car that suits you, talk to the CarHistory team today.
1. CarAdvice. Try before you buy: test drive tips. Accessed May 2017.