If you are planning to buy a second-hand bike, a background check is a must. You can learn a lot from checking the vehicle identification number — VIN. Since 1981, every car and bike sold in the United States has had a unique identifier. This works just like the social security number for humans. No two VIN are the same, and the information you can find through a simple check is extensive.
Motorcycle owners can make false claims to persuade you. Fortunately, running a full bike VIN search is easy — just enter the number and click the “check” button. If the seller is suspicious, you will detect it immediately. One simple operation can prevent costly mistakes.
Where to Find the Number
The number is always stamped on the motorbike, and it is also mentioned in the accompanying paperwork, including the owner’s handbook. A mismatch is a red flag showing that the parts are not genuine, so the motorbike may have been repaired after an accident. If you cannot find the number, this is another serious violation. Under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, every bike must have a VIN.
So, what does the number look like? This is a combination of 17 characters, both numbers, and letters. Three letters are excluded for clarity — O, I, and Q. The exact location of the sequence varies depending on the manufacturer and model, but the code is always placed on non-removable parts. For example, here are the typical locations for Yamaha bikes:
- The steerer tube, also known as the head pipe: the code may be placed vertically on its left or a right section.
- The motor case: look closely at the right part, particularly around or behind the clutch cover; the code may run left to right or front to back.
Instructions for Free Check
This is a no-brainer. Just open the website with the decoder and type in the VIN in the search field. The system will generate a free report with a build sheet. You will see the engine type, specs, fuel type, etc. This is a basic service, and you can also purchase a more detailed analysis.
Full VIN Check And Lookup Tool
This report is focused on the past of the bike. You can see any important events, including accidents and damage. This is invaluable for any potential buyer. The report will reveal events involving the bike, such as:
- recalls or manufacturer defects;
- liens and repossessions;
- damage by flood, hail, fire, etc.
Every buyer should run a VIN check before purchasing a used bike. Sellers are often insincere. A quick search allows you to delve deep into the past of the vehicle to see if the information you got is correct. In case of doubts, cancel the deal, even if it seems irresistible.