The Driver's Policy Protection Act makes it illegal to reveal the owners of a car by name; however, the VIN makes it possible to get a detailed history of the vehicle that includes accidents, repairs and the number of previous owners. A complete vehicle history report can be obtained with the VIN number in as little as 10 minutes.
- Locate the VIN
The VIN is typically found in the corner of the dashboard by the steering wheel. It may also appear at the driver-side doorpost, underneath the spare tire or at the front of the engine block under the hood. If you are purchasing a used car as a private buyer, ask the owner to provide you with the VIN.
- Find a vehicle history company or website
Use a search engine to locate a company that provides reports based on the VIN. Although online reports are quicker, it is also possible to have paper reports sent by mail.
- Provide the VIN to the company
Provide the search company with the VIN and any additional information requested. When the VIN search is complete, the company provides a report of the vehicle's history, which includes title information and the number of previous owners.