For all bikers, the love for motorcycles is undeniable. Racing down the road on that 2-wheeler brings in that adrenaline rush. The only thing that rivals this thrill is purchasing the bike.
When buying a new motorcycle, you will always want to get value for your money. This is why you will go for the one with the best features and specifications. However, there is one critical piece of information that many people tend to overlook during this process.
It is always good to carry out a VIN lookup for the motorcycle before closing the deal. This will help you avoid falling victim to unscrupulous sellers. So, how do you go about this?
In this article, we will show you how you can check a motorcycle VIN for free. But first, we have to understand what the VIN is.
What is a VIN?
VIN is an acronym that stands for the Vehicle Identification Number. This number is usually assigned to every vehicle, motorcycles included, during their manufacture and serves as their ID. The VIN is unique to each bike, meaning no two motorcycles have the same VIN.
The VIN is composed of 17 characters with no spaces between them. These characters are mainly numerals and capital letters. The letters I, O, and Q are usually omitted to avoid confusion with the numbers 1 and 0.
Each character of the VIN usually carries some information about that specific motorcycle. Understanding the meaning of each character is what we call decoding the VIN. We will be discussing that later on in the article.
If you are thinking of buying that Kawasaki bike, the VIN will help you learn a lot about it. With the VIN, you will be able to confirm the previous owner of the motorcycle. Moreover, you will know whether the bike has ever been involved in any accidents or thefts.
Such kind of information is vital before you decide to commit that hard-earned money. What is more, the VIN will also come in handy when you need to buy parts. The VIN is a sure way to know what you need to buy.
Where can you find the VIN?
The first place that you ought to look for the VIN is in the motorcycle’s documents. It is hard to miss the VIN written somewhere on documents like the motorcycle’s registration and its insurance documents. However, if you cannot seem to get hold of these documents, don’t worry.
You can also find the VIN etched on some parts of the motorcycle. Some of these parts include:
- The steering neck.
- On the motor near the bottom of the cylinder. For this, you need to tilt the handlebars to the left and look to the right of the motorcycle frame. At the point the steering attaches, this is where you will find the VIN etched vertically on the metal.
It is always safer to locate the VIN by yourself as compared to getting it from the seller. Once you have located the VIN on these areas, go ahead and match them up. If you find a mismatch, then chances are you are dealing with a shady seller.
The best action to take at this stage is to steer clear of that motorcycle. You can even report the matter to the relevant authorities.
Decoding the VIN
As we saw earlier, decoding the VIN is all about knowing the meaning of each character in the VIN. Decoding can be done manually. However, the drawback to this approach is that it is time-consuming. This is why you need to get an online VIN decoder such as VinPit for the job.
A motorcycle VIN check through VinPit will get you all the information you need without spending a dime. With its extensive database, you are assured not to miss a thing on VinPit. All you need to do is fill in the VIN in the specified field to access the information.
Once you have done that, you leave the rest of the work for the site. After the website has done its magic, some information will pop up. This process will only consume about five minutes of your time.
Here is how you can make sense of the information that pops up. Generally, a VIN is divided into three main sections, namely:
World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI)
This first section comprises the first three digits of the VIN. The first digit is usually the country code. This will help you know the country in which your motorcycle was manufactured.
If your motorcycle were manufactured in the United States, you would find the numbers “1” or “4”. For those that are not manufactured in America, you will find letters in the first digit. For instance, motorcycles manufactured in England will use the letter “S” while those manufactured in Germany will use “W”.
The second digit will tell you more about the manufacturer of the motorcycle. For instance, Kawasaki uses the letter “K”, Honda “H”, and lastly Suzuki “S”. These are pretty straightforward to understand.
As for the third character, it IDs the type of vehicle. Typically, motorcycles usually get a “1” or “A”.
Vehicle Description Section
As the name suggests, this section describes the motorcycle. The fourth to the eighth digits usually make up this section. You will learn about the motorcycle’s engine size, type, and even the brand with these characters.
The ninth digit is what is referred to as the check digit. This character is an accuracy check and is used to verify the VIN. With this digit, you will know whether the VIN is accurate or just a clone.
Vehicle Identifier Section
The 10th to the 17th digits usually make up this section. The 10th digit helps you know the model year for your motorcycle. The 11th character is a factory code that represents the assembly plant that assembled your bike.
As for the last six digits, they represent the serial number for that motorcycle. This serial number is assigned to every motorcycle as it leaves the assembly line.
Purchasing a new motorbike can be an exhilarating prospect. However, you have to be sure that you are spending your money on something safe and reliable. To do this, you will need to carry out a VIN lookup for your motorcycle.
With a reputable online VIN decoder like VinPit, you can learn all that there is to know about the bike. The best part about VinPit is that it is free. So don’t let this opportunity off your fingers.