What if my VIN number is wrong?

Car in the forest

Have you tried decoding your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) several times but keep getting an "invalid message? If so, the one thought on your mind will most likely be "what if my VIN number is wrong?".

Indeed, the thought of having an issue with your vehicle's identification is undoubtedly frustrating and frightening as it might have some legal implications - depending on your country.

Fortunately, this brief article will reveal the most likely reasons why you're having problems with decoding your VIN alongside tips on how to fix the issue.

Read on!

Your VIN Isn't Up To 17 Digits

According to regulations set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), all vehicles designed after 1981 for personal usage on public roads must possess a 17-digit VIN consisting of alphanumeric characters.

In other words, if your car was manufactured later than 1981 and its VIN possesses less than 17 characters, it will automatically become invalid.

Foreign Characters

Illegal characters are often the culprits that make decoding your Vehicle Identification Number impossible. As instructed by the NHTSA, the alphanumeric characters must not contain I, Q, and O because they can be mistaken for 1 and 0, thereby confusing the reader.

For this reason, we recommend that you assess your Vehicle Identification Number and see if it possesses any of the illegal characters - I, Q, & O.

Faulty Vehicle Data Provider

While the alphanumeric characters assigned to your car may be 17 digits long and void of any illegal character, you will still receive an error message if your vehicle is beyond your provider's range.

For example, if you try decoding the number of a Lamborghini with a provider that only covers trucks and minivans, you're bound to get an "invalid" response. At the same, if you're trying to decode a vehicle from Europe, and your provider only covers automobiles from the US, you will get a negative result.

For this reason, we recommend you study your provider's service or seek one like EpicVin that covers a broader range. You can also use EpicVin to confirm if your vehicle has a wrong VIN number on title by inputting the characters on the search bar.

It Failed The Checksum Test

You can validate the VIN of All vehicles in the American and Canadian market by using the check digit that's available in the ninth position of the alphanumeric characters. This piece plays a vital role in confirming your VIN's authenticity.

If you find yourself asking "why is my VIN number not valid", the checksum test will reveal the answer when compared with an error checking algorithm’s result. To learn more about the Checksum test and how to use it effectively, click here.

Your VIN Isn't Specific

While VINs are unique characters assigned to a single automobile, sometimes, the code might be too unspecific, making decoded version look similar to other vehicles.

For example, 4T1BF1FK9GU572575 is assigned to a 2016 Toyota Camry; however, the model could be a Camry LE, XLE, special edition, etc. It's not specific enough for your provider to identify.

Here's an excellent example of what a vehicle's profile should look like after it's been decoded with EpicVin.

What To Do When Your Vehicle Identification Number Is Invalid

According to the NHTSA, only manufacturers are eligible to tackle issues related to an invalid VIN. Therefore, it's recommended that you contact the manufacturer and request a letter identifying the correct and invalid VIN, alongside extra information from the brand in case law enforcement gets involved.

Final Thoughts

Vin errors are a rare occurrence, but if you find yourself in this situation, do not hesitate to rectify the issue as it might deny you insurance. Additionally, you might be accused of purchasing a stolen vehicle as the NHTSA considers invalid identification numbers as a sign of automobile theft.

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