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How To Know if a Car is Stolen Before You Buy it in Canada

How To Know if a Car is Stolen Before You Buy it in Canada

If you're planning to buy a used car from the internet or classifieds, one of the most important checks you have to make is about the history of the car. If you buy a car that has been stolen and it is identified, you not only lose the car, you lose the cash you paid for it too.


So how can you tell if a car has been lost, written off or stolen? There are a couple of checks you can do to find out.

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Check the VIN

The Vehicle Identification Number or VIN is essentially the car's serial number. You will find the number on the dashboard, on the door post on the driver's side, service records and registration paperwork. The VIN is made up of 17 letters and numbers that uniquely identifies the vehicle. It will look something like, 1ZCBP8CHXA5100001.


VIN Example


The first three characters identify the manufacturer, characters 4 – 8 the model and series, character 9 is the check digit to ensure the VIN is legit. Character 10 is the year of manufacture, 11 is the factory where the car was made and 12 – 17 will be the unique identifier for that particular vehicle.


You need to check the VIN against the vehicle registration paperwork to make sure it matches exactly. If there is even a slight difference, walk away and report the car to the police.

Verify the VIN

Write down the Vehicle Identification Number so you can verify it with an independent third party before agreeing to buy the car.


Most legitimate sellers won't mind you wandering off for ten minutes to check the car out. As most checks can now be done online, it will only take a little while.


There are a number of online providers of VIN checks, including the Canadian Police Information Centre. Enter the VIN number and begin the search. The search is free and will tell you if the police knows of any issue with that vehicle.


There are also a number of commercial VIN checks that can tell you whether the VIN matches the vehicle and whether it has been flood-damaged or reported non-repairable.


Alternative: Buy Your Car From a Dealership

There is an easy way to avoid buying a stolen car or one written off by insurance companies. Buy it from Car Nation Canada. We have a huge range of certified used cars across all our dealerships.


All our used cars are background and safety checked and prepared for use. Any car you buy from us will be guaranteed checked and legitimate. All are priced competitively and come with full guarantees. Why risk losing it all when buying a used car? Buy from a name you can trust, Car Nation Canada. Visit us today!


If you're ready for a car loan in Southern Ontario, we'd love to help with that! simply fill in the form below to get started.

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    Categories: Used Car Buying