close banner

Arizona VIN Lookup

state records colored logo
VIN Check

  • Make
  • Model
  • Year
  • Recalls and Defects
  • And More
  • Vehicle Specs
  • Vehicle Details
  • Public Records
  • Vehicle Identification Number

VIN Lookup in Arizona

In Arizona, the VIN lookup process provides members of the public a means to obtain vehicle information using their VINs. A VIN is a 17-digit code ascribed to a vehicle following its production. VINs are designated to a car per the provisions of the Arizona Revised Statutes §28-4594. A VIN lookup can aid inquirers in obtaining information such as the vehicle type, service and repair history, and probable market value. While similar to an Arizona license plate lookup, a VIN lookup is unlikely to provide details of a vehicle's ownership history.

What is a Vehicle Identification Number in Arizona?

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in Arizona is a unique string of digits containing different details about a vehicle. It is typically a combination of capital letters and numbers assigned at the manufacturing level to give each car an identity.

VINs contain details such as:

  • Vehicle brand, engine style, or model;
  • Vehicle manufacturer;
  • Manufacturing country;
  • Model year;
  • Manufacturing plant or assembly line; and
  • Security digit check.

The number can be used to search for other details about the vehicle, including its history and background information, as it has existed throughout its lifespan.

The VIN is an essential resource that helps people interested in buying used or restored vehicles make informed purchase decisions.

How is a VIN Number Used?

Every vehicle's VIN serves various purposes, from record keeping to verification. Individuals, government bodies, insurance companies, and even banks often rely on VINs at one point or the other to gather information, register the vehicle, verify insurance claims, and issue loans, amongst other things.

It's essential to explain how the VIN helps these processes.

Vehicle History

Checking a vehicle's history is important for buyers who want to purchase a used or restored vehicle. They can check to confirm if the car was wrecked, has an unresolved lien, was stolen, had any issues with flooding, had a salvage title, or was recalled at any point.

Buyers usually receive a vehicle history report whenever they run a history check. The report is detailed paperwork that documents a vehicle's history from its first purchase. It is linked to the VIN of the vehicle, as all transactions, such as sales, title transfers, registrations, and repairs, are recorded with the vehicle's VIN.

The Arizona Department of Transportation, which is in charge of motor vehicle safety, registration and regulation, refers to the document that contains vehicle and driving records as a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR). While members of the public can request such a document, it is protected under Title 28, Chapter 2, Article 5 of Arizona Law, which adopts US CODE, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 123, Section 2721.

Vehicle Registration

Vehicle registration is mandated by law in Arizona. Individuals considered residents of the state must title and register their vehicles. Vehicle owners must go through the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) to complete the process and need their VIN for that.

Registering a vehicle in the state ensures proof of ownership; ensures vehicles are roadworthy, adequately insured, and always maintained; and helps vehicle owners comply with the law and keep up with taxation.

Stolen Vehicle Recovery

Law enforcement officers and government organizations can use VINs to look up sensitive information to track a stolen vehicle. If a vehicle is reported stolen, its VIN is added to the report and uploaded to a database, such as the National Crime Information Center. So, during routine checks, such as traffic stops, police officers can check VINs and determine if a car is stolen. That is why VINs are essential to the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority, a body created by the Arizona legislature to combat the state's high vehicle theft rate.

Recall Information

Another use for VINs is to check a vehicle's recall history. Automakers use the number to monitor and inform vehicle owners of any recall or safety update requirements. The VIN helps the manufacturer identify who to notify in the event of any safety concerns or updates that need to be made to the vehicle.

Individuals in Arizona can head to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website and enter a vehicle's VIN to check its recall history.


Insurance companies use the unique VIN assigned to each vehicle to track and identify the specific vehicle for insurance purposes accurately. It allows them to provide coverage and manage claims related to that particular vehicle only.

Who Issues a Vehicle's VIN Number in Arizona?

Each vehicle is assigned a VIN by its manufacturer, regardless of location. The state of Arizona, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), and the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) do not issue VINs or regulate them.

Instead, in collaboration with international bodies such as SAE International, the NHTSA sets standards for VINs. The administration releases and renews requirements to maintain the availability of VIN supply and ensure a uniform vehicle identification process. It outlines its VIN requirements in Part 565 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Vehicle manufacturers are responsible for adopting these standards to ensure that each vehicle they produce has a unique VIN.

The VIN is then used by entities such as the Arizona MVD to register and title vehicles, track insurance data, keep lien records, and document the vehicle's ownership history, amongst other things.

However, the Arizona department of transportation can assign special serial or identification numbers per Arizona Law Chapter 28, Chapter 7, Article 5, 28-2165. The law permits the department to assign the vehicle's plant number if the vehicle's identification number removed, altered, defaced, obliterated, or omitted.

How Many Digits are in a VIN?

Every VIN contains 17 digits. The NHTSA established the 17-digit standard in the 1980s to unify vehicle identification numbering for every manufacturer. Before then, vehicle numbering systems varied among automakers, making it challenging to trace a vehicle's history and correctly identify it.

After the NHTSA introduced the standard, it was implemented globally, and the International Standard Organization (ISO) later adopted it.

The 17-digit VIN consists of several sections that provide specific information about the vehicle:

  • World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI): The VIN's first three characters are the WMI, which indicates the vehicle's country of origin, manufacturer, and type. The first digit specifies the country, the second represents the manufacturer, and the third identifies the vehicle type.
  • Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS): The next section of the VIN is the VDS. It provides additional information about the vehicle, including its model, restraint system, body style, transmission, and engine code. Digits 4 to 8 compose this section.
  • Check Digit: Digit 9 is the check digit that identifies invalid VINs through a mathematical formula established by the US Department of Transportation.
  • Vehicle Identifier Section (VIS): The 10th to 17th digits make up the VIS. Digit 10 represents the vehicle's manufacturing year but applies to only vehicles that left the assembly line from 1981. Digit 11 identifies the vehicle's manufacturing plant, and twelve to seventeen make up the vehicle's production serial number.

How to Find Your Car's VIN Number

Automakers place the VIN in multiple locations in vehicles. These locations are usually uniform across every vehicle with minor variations.

The Dashboard

The dashboard is one of the common places to find any vehicle's VIN. Most manufacturers install VIN plates on the lower left of the dashboard. To locate it, individuals can look in front of the steering wheel while in the driver's seat. They can also stand outside the vehicle and look through the windshield.

The Driver-Side Door

A VIN is typically imprinted on a metal plate (the Federal Safety Certification Label) on the driver's side door frame. Automakers also affix the label to the door-latch post or close to the hinge pillar. This location is not always reliable, especially for used cars, since any previous owner may have changed the driver door.

Engine Bay

Manufacturers install metal plates or stickers with the VIN in the engine bay. Some place the VIN on the engine block or the engine compartment's firewall.

Insurance Card or Policy

Vehicle insurance cards or policy documents also contain the vehicle's VIN. People buying used cars can check the seller's insurance details to confirm.

How to Conduct a VIN Lookup in Arizona

There are different online resources where Arizona residents can look up a vehicle's VIN, from third-party sites to government resources.

The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division of the state's transportation department has different online services that allow Arizona residents to check a vehicle's title status and request a Motor Vehicle Record. However, individuals interested in using the website must sign up and create an account.

Arizona residents can also use other resources provided by government organizations such as the NHTSA, especially if they want to purchase out-of-state vehicles not yet registered in Arizona. The NHTSA website helps visitors check if a vehicle had safety issues or was recalled at any point.

Additionally, the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) offers a search database to check vehicle information using the VIN. It is a multi-state program set up to unify multiple states' vehicle records to combat fraud schemes such as vehicle cloning.

How Do I Look Up a VIN Number for Free in Arizona?

Arizona residents can use free resources such as those provided by the NCIB and NHTSA to check for stolen, lost, or recalled vehicles. The NHTSA also offers a free VIN decoder that shows specific details of any vehicle, such as vehicle type, make, model, cylinders, engine model, primary fuel type, and other information.

While individuals can use their AZ MVD Now accounts to access specific free services, they have to pay a fee for a Motor Vehicle Record request.

Also, some third-party sites may offer free basic VIN lookup services. However, many third-party vin search services, including those partnering with government bodies, come with a fee.

How to Use the VIN Decoder to Do a VIN Number Check

A VIN decoder is a tool designed to interpret the information in a vehicle's VIN. Since each section in the VIN represents specific vehicle details, the decoder can unpack comprehensive information by reading the VIN. These details can include basic to advanced specifications from vehicle make and model to valve train design and gross vehicle weight.

Using any VIN decoder, such as the NHTSA decoder, is simple. Individuals only need the vehicle's 17-digit vehicle identification number. They should place the number in the tool's search box and click the Decode button.

How to Conduct a VIN Lookup by License Plate in Arizona

When requesting a Motor Vehicle Record in Arizona, there's an option to provide an Arizona license plate. However, the requester may also be required to use the vehicle's VIN.

Some third-party VIN lookup services allow users to pull vehicle details in Arizona using license plate details. But it should be noted that these services may come at a fee.

What is a VIN Inspection in Arizona?

A full VIN check or inspection verifies the vehicle's identity by comparing its vehicle VIN with its ownership documents. This step helps ensure that the information recorded on the ownership documents accurately corresponds to the vehicle in question. In addition to confirming the vehicle's identity and ownership, some vehicle inspections check to see if the vehicle is roadworthy and meets the necessary regulations for safe operation on public roads.

There are different levels of vehicle inspections in Arizona. However, individuals must provide three items to conduct an inspection. These items are valid driver's licenses, proof of ownership (bill of sale, registration, or title), and invoices or receipts of replaced parts.

Here are the three levels of vehicle inspections in Arizona:

Level I Inspection: This inspection level is typically conducted by appointed law enforcement officers or at MVD offices when required. It is used to verify bonded titles, title-only requests, and some vehicles without proof of title/registration from out of state or abroad.

Level II Inspection: This inspection level occurs when the vehicle requires proper vehicle identification through secondary VIN verification. A peace officer will conduct this secondary inspection at an authorized ADOT ECD inspection location. Individuals are expected to schedule an appointment ahead of time.

Level III Inspection: A Level III inspection may be required after a review of the Level II inspection. It is the highest level of inspection and can only be conducted by peace officers at authorized ADOT ED locations. Level III inspections are mandatory for vehicles that have undergone restoration as salvage, were involved in a collision, or were previously reported as stolen and recovered. This inspection ensures that major components such as the front-end assembly, engine, transmission, and rear-end assembly (for trucks and truck-type vehicles) have been properly verified and the vehicle is suitable for use on highways. Individuals must schedule an appointment to conduct a Level III inspection.

How Much is a Vehicle Inspection in Arizona?

Each vehicle inspection level comes with a different fee, with additional services costing extra.

Level II: Every Level II inspection costs $20, with an extra fee of $5 if the vehicle is issued an Arizona-assigned number.

Level III: Costs $50.

What is a Vehicle Inspection Report in Arizona

A vehicle inspection report is the documentation presented to vehicle owners after their vehicles go through any inspection level in the state. The report includes numerous details about vehicle specifications, from the license plate number, VIN, and vehicle make and model to final test results, repair requirements, and inspection date. The procedures and details for the vehicle inspection report are outlined in Arizona Administrative Code Title 18, Chapter 2, section R18-2-1011.

What Does a Vehicle History Report Contain?

A vehicle history report typically contains a vehicle's title information, ownership history, service and repair records, accident history, insurance records, and odometer readings. It may also show previous registration details, recalls and safety ratings, and whether the vehicle has been salvaged or declared a total loss. The information in a vehicle history report is gathered from various sources such as insurance companies, auto auctions, and state DMV records.

How to Conduct a VIN Verification in Arizona

Level II inspections in Arizona are required for vehicles that lack VIN or those whose identification numbers can't be matched. However, individuals seeking to verify that a vehicle's VIN is correct can use the NMVTIS or request a Motor Vehicle Report from the Arizona Department of Transportation.

While information released through the MVR is protected by law, individuals can request it with the consent of the vehicle's owner, and it will be approved as outlined in Arizona law, Title 28, Chapter 2, Article 5.

The process of requesting the MVR is ideal in cases where a buyer is skeptical about a vehicle's VIN information. In such a case, merely comparing the VIN with the vehicle's paperwork provided by the seller won't be enough.

Can I Lookup My Vehicle Specs by VIN Number?

Yes, the ISO standard for VINs makes it possible for the 17 characters to contain detailed information about a vehicle. Individuals can use a VIN decoding service to pull up these details; most decoders are free.

Can I Check My VIN Number Online in Arizona?

Yes, AZ MVD Now account owners can check their vehicles' information details online at any time once they sign in. It holds information such as title and registration details, which contain each vehicle's VIN. People with their VIN can look it up using federal government or third-party services.

Can You Track a Car by VIN Number in Arizona?

A VIN number or license plate alone can't provide real-time location like GPS. However, the VIN can help interested parties obtain a vehicle history report, including sale listings, ownership history, and registration details. Based on the owner's details in the report, they can then take steps to locate or recover a lost car.

Can You Tell Engine Size by VIN Number?

Yes, it is possible to confirm a vehicle's engine size using its VIN number. VIN decoders, such as the resource run by the NHTSA, can show details about a vehicle's engine, including its number of cylinders, fuel delivery, displacement, and model.