Guide To Car Data Checks

Vehicle Identification Number (Chassis number)

Many consumers use motoring organisations such as the RAC and the AA for a physical vehicle check, a history check or a data check. These can be used to back up the vehicle's identity and to confirm the vehicle's identity using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

To perform a VIN check means locating the VIN and looking closely at the tag itself; making sure that it is original and no one has tampered with the plate, that the number is embedded into the vehicle, make sure that this tag looks original and has no visible punch holes or markings around it. You must also check that the numbers match the V5 or V5c registration document or "log book".


If a car has been seriously damaged as a category A, B or C then, within the last few months the vehicle will have to go through a Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) carried out at various centres throughout mainland GB.

This is a government initiative to help reduce the amount of cloned vehicles in mainland GB. The majority of cloned vehicles come from:

  • using the identity of a seriously accident-damaged vehicle
  • a vehicle stolen with the VIN and, of course, the registration number is changed to mirror the accident-damaged vehicle.

This is the most serious form of vehicle fraud and the most difficult to detect as the prospective purchaser will carry out a data check using the registration details of the written off or scrapped vehicle - which will not show up as a stolen vehicle! The next thing the new "owner" will be aware of is when they have a visit from the Police and the car is repossessed. The "owner" will lose the vehicle and almost certainly the money they have paid out if they cannot trace who they bought the car from.

Page Menu

  1. Introduction
  2. The Industry / Buying a car privately
  3. Stolen & Dangerous Cars / Clocked
  4. VIN (Chassis number) / Cloning
  5. Imported Vehicles / Previous Owners
  6. Write-off/Accident Damage
  7. Performing a check - Incorrect numbers
  8. Performing a check - Personalised Numbers
  9. Consequences of buying a stolen car...