Want to sell your car, insure your car, or manage your vehicle’s paperwork? Then you’ll need to know some essential vehicle information. If you’re not sure where to locate this data, you may just find yourself asking “Where do I find my car details?”
Don’t stress. If you don’t know where to find your car’s information and details, take a look at the tips below to find the information you need.
Where to Find the VIN Number
VIN stands for vehicle identification number. This is a unique number that can be used to identify your car. Think of it as your car’s fingerprint.
While a license plate number can be changed, a car’s VIN will stay with it throughout its lifetime.
Knowing your VIN is really useful because it gives you access to lots of important information about your car (as we’ll see in a moment). But where can you find the VIN for a car you own?
Start by checking your vehicle. The VIN is often printed on a metal plate on the lower left side of your dashboard (nearest your driver side door). Look through your windshield from the outside and you can usually spot this pretty quickly. You can also find your VIN on a sticker that’s typically located inside the driver side door jamb. The sticker location does vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
If your car was made after 1981, you’re looking for a 17-character number. And if it was made in an earlier year, your VIN will be between 11 and 17 characters long.
Can’t find the VIN on your car? Then you should be able to find it on title documents, your registration card or owner’s manual. If you have already insured the car, your insurer may also be able to give you the VIN.
Where to Find the Make & Model of Your Car
Don’t know where to find car manufacturer information or details of your car model?
The make and model of your car can usually be found at the back of your car. You may see the make (e.g. Honda, Audi, Ford) on one side of your registration plate. And the model (e.g. Civic, A4, Focus) on the other.
You can also find the make and model of your car in the owner’s manual — usually on the front cover or first page.
Title and registration documents or a car history report will also display the make and model of your car. And you can also find the make and model (amongst other vehicle details) by entering your VIN number into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s VIN Decoder tool.
Where to Find the Trim of Your Car
The same make and model of car comes in a variety of different trims, ranging from basic to luxury. A car’s exterior design, interior upholstery, infotainment system and safety features vary depending on trim level.
If you want to find the trim level of your car, start by taking a look at the rear end of your car. Some makers put a badge stating the car’s trim level next to the model.
If you can’t find trim details there, take a look inside your car. You may find the trim level on a plaque or badge on the passenger side dashboard or door sills.
Still no success? Then check your owner’s manual or look for an invoice from the dealership you bought the car from.
Finally, you’ll definitely find the trim level of your car by entering your VIN number into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s VIN Decoder tool.
Where to Find Your Car's License Plate Number
A license plate number is a unique collection of numbers and letters that can be used to identify a car in the street.
Don’t know where to find your car’s license plate number?
Of course, the first place to look is the rear end of your car. But if your license plate has been stolen, there are a number of different ways to find your car’s license plate number.
Your vehicle registration documents will contain the license plate number of your vehicle. And again, you can use your VIN to pull up all details of your registration by checking with your state DMV.
Where to Find Your Vehicle's Title
Your title is the official document that proves that you are the legal owner of a vehicle. You can find vehicle details on this document — and you’ll need the original title if you want to sell it and transfer ownership to your buyer.
Misplacing a vehicle title is pretty common. Most folks own their cars for a few years and it’s pretty easy to misplace a single document after years of ownership. If your vehicle is paid off and you own it outright with no loan, then you most likely received this document from your state DMV or bank at some point.
If it’s just lost and you cannot locate it, then apply for a duplicate with your state DMV. This can be done online in most states. If you don’t remember ever having the vehicle title and you did at one time have a loan on that particular vehicle, it may be worth checking with your bank to verify that they released it and sent it out.
If you still owe money on the vehicle, your lender will most likely have possession of the title document. They will release the title to you once you’ve paid off your loan in full. If you want to sell a vehicle that still has an active auto loan, contact your bank directly for payoff information and instructions on how to pay off the loan and secure the title for your buyer.