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:
When you're choosing your next car, you might be looking out for such features as Bluetooth music and hands-free capability, keyless entry and an inbuilt in GPS. While each of these are nice to have, when it comes to handling some of Australia's most inhospitable terrain, all that matters is the integrity of your car's mechanics.
King of difficult terrain, the four-wheel drive offers more capable and versatile handling than any other front- or rear-wheel drive car. But before you go throwing your money at a bargain off-road vehicle, remember to do your research with a CarHistory report.
If the previous owner has been testing a car's limits off road without regularly servicing it, there is a good chance that beneath the hood or under the body you'll find a grim picture. You'll also find in your report the ANCAP safety rating for a vehicle you're interested in - remembering that five stars offers the most protection for the driver and passenger.
Here are some of the country's most challenging drives for you to tackle once you've found your ideal used four-wheel drive.
Renowned as one of the best Outback drives the country has to offer, the Oodnadatta Track runs along an old Aboriginal trade route in South Australia, later used by John McDouall Stuart in the 1800s.
According to the South Australian Tourism Commission, the road passes through 'semi-desert' terrain, interspersed with water holes and springs. Along the way you'll pass quaint Outback towns such as William Creek, Marree, Marla and the eponymous Oodnadatta.
Old Telegraph Track
For the more experienced off-road drivers, Old Telegraph Track in Cape York peninsula, Queensland takes you through lush, tropical bush. The Cape York Australia Travel Guide recommends that you approach this track from north to south, as the terrain gets gradually more difficult as you head northward.
Only accessible in the dry season between April and October, the track does feature creek crossings, but if you're not feeling up to it there are several byroads which offer alternate passage.
Billy Goat Bluff Track
The Billy Goat Bluff Track meanders to the top of the Pinnacles, where you'll find some fantastic views at the lookout point. However, in the words of 4x4Earth: "this track has not improved with age".This is one of the most challenging tracks you're likely to come across, as over the space of 7 kilometres, the trail climbs 1,200 metres. The rocky road is bordered by a cliff face, and is only advisable to be attempted in good conditions.