Edmunds Answers



  • karjunkie 05/29/09 11:38 am PST

    There are no free VIN search sites. They all require payment of a fee for the service. Here is a list for your information:


    Good luck!

  • MrShift@Edmunds 05/29/09 11:44 am PST

    You can get some info from a VIN by paying for this service (nothing free that I'm aware of) but it's not going to list all the options a car came with. It will provide year, make, trim level, engine size, type of transmission. But it won't tell you if you have NAV or sunroof or which color or things like that.

  • lokki 05/29/09 11:57 am PST

    Well, there are lots of free VIN decoders on the internet. Here's one as an example.


    A VIN won't tell you if a car is green or white, or if it has a leather interior or the premium stereo system. Here is a complete decode of what a VIN will tell you

    • The first character vehicle identification number (VIN) serial number identifies the country from which the vehicle was manufactured.

    • First vehicle identification number digit: U.S.A.(1 or 4), Canada (2), Mexico (3), Japan (J), Korea (K), England (S), Germany (W), Italy (Z)

    • Second vehicle identification number digit specifies the manufacturer. Audi (A), BMW (B), Buick (4), Cadillac (6), Chevrolet (1), Chrysler (C), Dodge (B), Ford (F), GM Canada (7), General Motors (G), Honda (H), Jaguar (A), Lincoln (L), Mercedes Benz (D), Mercury (M), Nissan (N), Oldsmobile (3), Pontiac (2 or 5), Plymouth (P), Saturn (8), Toyota (T), Volvo (V).

    • Third vehicle identification number digit indicates the vehicle type or manufacturing division.

    • Fourth through eighth vehicle identification number digit reveals the vehicle features such as body style, engine type, model, series, etc.

    • The ninth vehicle identification number digit is a VIN accuracy check digit, verifying the previous VIN numbers. This is how the check digit works

    • Tenth vehicle identification number digit tells the model year. 1988 (J), 1989 (K), 1990 (L), 1991 (M), 1992 (N), 1993 (P), 1994 (R), 1995 (S), 1996 (T), 199 7(V), 1998 (W), 1999 (X), 2000 (Y)------2001(1), 2002 (2), 2003 (3)

    • Eleventh vehicle identification number digit reveals the assembly plant for the vehicle.

    • The twelfth to seventeenth vehicle identification number digits indicate the sequence of the vehicle for production as it rolled of the manufacturers assembly line.

    What you are looking for (I think) is only found on Build Sheets. Although I don't think this will be of any value in your business, here's some information about them anyhow.
    Build sheets are a small strip of paper, about 2 inches wide by 8 inches long or a square about 5 inches by 7 inches that is usually buried in the cotton stuffing of the rear seat, in the backrest of the front seat, or drivers bucket. . Build sheets usually confirm what the Cowl tag will tell you, but in more depth.

    Build sheets consist of the following information:
    The model number, starts with 1 followed by 4 or more numbers.eg 12467.
    A pair of letters will designate the paint code.
    A three number series will designate the interior.
    A series of one letter and two numbers indicates the factory installed_ options.

    Here's a site for GM Build Sheet Information....


    However, for your purposes, it's easier to just actually look at the car itself.

  • MrShift@Edmunds 05/29/09 4:55 pm PST

    Sounded like he also wanted ownership & accident history, etc. for his clients, so that's why I mentioned pay sites. But thanks for all the good info there!

  • boomchek 05/29/09 5:33 pm PST

    Auctions usually provide the basic details like options, en gine, and colors, of the cars they have running through their auction. If you singed up as a member with a particular auction house, then you should be able to retrieve these details online, or you can get a printout with all that info for all of the cars running through the block that week.

  • carbuyhelp 11/10/10 7:44 pm PST

    This is what I use to decode the VIN


    Then once I know the year/make/model and trim, I will use edmunds.com to look for the standard and optional features of the corresponding vehicle decoded by that VIN

  • svisek 06/30/12 3:11 am PST

    For domestic manufacturers, go to this free site:

    Click on the manufacturer and put in the VIN. For example, I have been looking at used Lincolns on AutoTrader.com. Most ads make the VIN available in the ad. So I copy the VIN from the ad, then go to researchmaniacs.com/VIN-Number-Lookup/W
    indowSticker.html, click on "Ford", put in the Lincoln's VIN, and voila, up comes the original window sticker! It's a great way to see what options are on that actual car/truck that you are looking at. Good luck!

    Source: http://researchmaniacs.com/VIN-Number-L

  • svisek 06/30/12 3:55 am PST

    Btw, on Fords it looks like this will work only back to the 2007 model year; not sure about other makes.

  • jmolieri 02/17/13 10:41 am PST

    Vechile Build Sheet: Free Basic information:


    Source: http://www.compnine.com/dealervin.php

  • tigerheli 04/09/13 11:42 am PST

    Not an official site, but for newer Fords and Lincolns, (Mercury?), you can use:


    Where VIN at the end is the actual VIN number - this will give you things like installed options and paint and interior colors - which are often inaccurate on AutoTrader or dealer websites - it will NOT show dealer-installed items (rustproofing, 3M upholstery, paint sealant, bug shields, window tint), so it might NOT reflect the price on the dealers lot.

  • will_shields 01/03/15 4:01 pm PST

    Based on the manufacturer, http://researchmaniacs.com/VIN-Number-L
    , offer free window stickers for Ford, Chrysler, dodge and jeep.


Top Buick Lucerne Experts View More

Rank Leader Points
1. karjunkie 50
2. MrShift@Edmunds 35
3. svisek 30
4. groundshaker 25
5. lokki 20
6. boomchek 10
7. thecardoc3 10