In Canada, there are specific VIN check services that cater to the unique data and history of Canadian vehicles. Here’s a list of some top free and paid VIN number check websites and services available in Canada:
Free VIN Check Websites:
- ICBC’s Vehicle Claims History Report – The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia offers a free tool to check for any claims on a vehicle in British Columbia. It may not provide a full vehicle history but can give you some insights.
Paid VIN Check Websites and Services:
- Carfax Canada (formerly CARPROOF) – The Canadian counterpart to the U.S. Carfax service, offering comprehensive reports on accident history, liens, and more.
- AutoCheck Canada – Similar to its U.S. counterpart, it provides detailed vehicle history reports.
- CarHistory Canada – Provides a variety of vehicle history details, including accident data and liens.
- VinAudit Canada – Offers information from various databases, providing a broad overview of a vehicle’s history.
- UVIP (Used Vehicle Information Package) – For those in Ontario, this is a mandatory package for private sellers to provide to buyers. It contains details about the vehicle’s history, including liens.
- CarVeto – Provides details on a vehicle’s history, including accident data, registration, and other pertinent information.
- CAA’s Vehicle Information Report – The Canadian Automobile Association offers vehicle history reports for those considering buying used cars.
- Vehicle History – While it is a US-based service, it also offers some information on Canadian vehicles.
- iSeeCars VIN Report – Provides a detailed report that includes price analysis, projected depreciation, dealer scoring, and more. They cater to the U.S. market but have been known to have information on Canadian vehicles as well.
If you’re purchasing a used vehicle in Canada, remember to also consult the provincial or territorial regulations and requirements. Each province or territory may have its own unique rules or systems for tracking vehicle history. And as always, consider having the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic in addition to checking its history.
What is a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)?
A VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number, is a unique code used by the automotive industry to identify individual motor vehicles, trailers, motorcycles, scooters, and mopeds. Think of it as a vehicle’s fingerprint—no two vehicles in operation will have the same VIN.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the VIN:
- Length: A standard VIN is 17 characters long (not including the letters I, O, and Q to avoid confusion with the numbers 1 and 0).
- Components: The VIN comprises three main parts:
- World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI): The first three characters identify the vehicle’s manufacturer and the country where it was made.
- Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS): Characters 4 through 9 provide information about the vehicle type, engine, and series.
- Vehicle Identifier Section (VIS): Characters 10 through 17 are unique to each vehicle and can provide information about the model year, assembly plant, and the vehicle’s production number.
- Uses: VINs are used for various purposes:
- Identification: It’s the most straightforward way to confirm a vehicle’s identity.
- Recalls: Manufacturers use VINs to identify vehicles affected by recalls.
- Theft: Law enforcement agencies use VINs to identify stolen vehicles.
- Title and Registration: VINs are required for vehicle title and registration.
- Insurance: Insurance companies use VINs to identify the vehicle being insured.
- Vehicle History Reports: As previously discussed, VINs can be used to get detailed reports about a vehicle’s past, including accidents, title issues, and more.
- Location: The VIN can be found in several locations on a vehicle, most commonly:
- On the driver’s side of the dashboard, visible through the windshield.
- On the driver’s side door frame, usually on a sticker or plate.
- On insurance cards, vehicle title, and registration.
VINs were first used in 1954, but the current 17-character VIN format was established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1981.
How to get a free vehicle history report Ontario?
In Ontario, Canada, obtaining a full, comprehensive vehicle history report for free can be challenging, as most detailed reports come at a cost. However, you can gather some basic information and take specific steps to learn more about a vehicle’s history:
- Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP): In Ontario, anyone selling a used vehicle privately is required to provide the buyer with a UVIP. This package contains:
- The vehicle’s registration history in Ontario.
- Any outstanding liens on the vehicle.
- The average wholesale/retail value of the vehicle.
- Bill of sale and other transfer details. Unfortunately, a UVIP isn’t free; sellers need to purchase it. But as a potential buyer, you can ask the seller to show you the UVIP.
- Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO): The MTO can provide basic information about a vehicle’s status (fit, unfit, or rebuilt) and its brand history (e.g., if it’s ever been declared a total loss). But note that this isn’t a full vehicle history report.
- Local Police Check: You can always request a local police station to run the VIN to see if the vehicle has been reported stolen. This typically doesn’t provide accident history or liens but can give you peace of mind in terms of the vehicle’s legal status.
- Free Online VIN Check Tools: While these might not provide comprehensive data specifically catered to Ontario vehicles, some free online VIN checkers might give you basic information about the vehicle’s history. Examples include services from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) or other VIN-check platforms. However, the accuracy and relevance of data for Canadian vehicles may vary.
- Ask for Records: Always ask the seller if they have service or maintenance records. This won’t provide a full history but can give insights into how well the vehicle was cared for.
- Physical Inspection: Lastly, always consider having the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic. They might identify signs of past damage or issues that aren’t reflected in any report.
For a complete history, including accident data, liens, and more, services like Carfax Canada (formerly CARPROOF) usually require payment. If you’re seriously considering purchasing a vehicle, investing in such a report can be worthwhile for the peace of mind and ensuring you’re making an informed decision.
Is Carfax mandatory in Ontario?
No, Carfax is not mandatory in Ontario. However, the Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) is mandatory for private sellers when selling a used vehicle. The UVIP provides the buyer with essential details about the vehicle, including its registration history in Ontario, any outstanding liens, the average wholesale/retail value, and other relevant information.
While Carfax Canada (formerly CARPROOF) is a popular tool used to provide additional insight into a vehicle’s history, including accident reports from outside of Ontario or details not covered by the UVIP, its use is entirely optional. Many dealerships and informed private sellers might offer a Carfax report as an added reassurance for potential buyers, but it’s not a legal requirement in Ontario or elsewhere in Canada.