What to do if you don't have a VIN?

Tons of people have seller’s remorse after they part from a vehicle. But if you find yourself thinking about a vehicle that you sold years ago, why not see if you can’t repurchase it?

While it might seem like an impossible task to track down a vehicle you used to own, if you have a little information and a ton of dedication, it’s easier than you think to find your old vehicle!

Índice de Contenido
  1. The VIN is required to locate the vehicle.
    1. How do I track down the VIN?
    2. You can find your car when you've found the VIN
  2. The VIN cannot be used without it
    1. You can use the number of your license plate
    2. License plate not required
    3. Facebook Advertisement or Groups
  3. Summary

The VIN is required to locate the vehicle.

Car Vin

VIN numbers are the most effective way to identify a car that you've previously owned. The VIN allows you to easily check who the owner is.

You might be lucky enough to locate your vehicle without the VIN. However, the VIN will make everything much simpler. If you’re trying to figure out how you’re going to track down your VIN after all this time, keep reading, and we’ll help you get the information you need.

How do I track down the VIN?

If you don’t have the VIN finding your vehicle is far from guaranteed. But if you can track down the VIN and are willing to spend a little money, the chances are that you’ll find it.

1. An Old Piece of Paper

If you have any of your old registration or insurance forms, the chances are that the vehicle’s VIN is there. Whether you’re a hoarder or just keep excellent records, this is one of the easiest ways to track down your old vehicle’s VIN.

2. Make sure to visit the DMV

Just because you don’t have any of the old registration paperwork doesn’t mean that you can’t track down where your vehicle is at. The DMV usually keeps all that information.

You’ll need one of two things to track down the VIN for your old vehicle. If you still have the same driver’s license number that you had when you owned the vehicle, that’s all you’ll need. If you don’t, but you have your old license plate number, that will work too.

You can simply call them or go to them, and give the following information. They aren’t allowed to tell you who currently owns the vehicle, though, so you’ll have to settle for just the VIN.

3. The Insurance Company is a great option!

Whether you don’t want to deal with the DMV or you don’t have the required information, there’s another bureaucratic behemoth that you can call for information – the insurance company you were using when you had the car.

You should have the VIN.

4. The Bill of Sale

While this is technically a piece of paperwork, it’s not one that people think about all that often. But every bill of sale is required to have the vehicle’s VIN on it. You should have all the information you need to locate the VIN on the bill.

You can find your car when you've found the VIN


Once you’ve tracked down the VIN, the best thing you can do to try and find your vehicle is to use a service like CARFAX. While CARFAX isn’t free, it’s almost a surefire way to find your vehicle, as long as it’s still registered.

CARFAX Full Reports will provide you with all information, such as the owner and prior owners, mileage, maintenance records and accident history.

Once you have the current owner’s information, though, you can track them down and reach out to find your car!

If you’re not willing to spend the money for a CARFAX report, you can try Googling the VIN or using some of the free VIN decoders to try and track it down.

If you’re Googling the VIN, make sure to put parenthesis around it, and Google will search the Internet for exact matches. You might be lucky, even though this may not produce any results.

If you’re tired of waiting or can’t find any results, CARFAX will always be an option waiting for you if you’re willing to pay.

Keep in mind that while CARFAX is a great tool, CARFAX doesn’t guarantee that you will be able to track down the new owner. You might spend a lot of money to locate your car, but you could end up never getting it back.

The VIN cannot be used without it

License Plate Car

If you don’t have the vehicle’s VIN and can’t track it down, it’s going to be a lot harder to find your vehicle. While it’s not impossible, the odds aren’t really in your favor either.

You can use the number of your license plate

Are you able to recall the license plate numbers or are you able to find them in the papers that you have? You can find the VIN number from your license plate number.

License plate not required

If you are unable to locate a vehicle you once owned, you can track down the seller and find out if it is still available. If they don’t, try to find out who they sold it to and track them down. You can continue this process until you find the vehicle.

Of course, at any point, all it takes is a single person to tell you they don’t know who they sold it to, and you’ve hit a dead end.

Facebook Advertisement or Groups

That’s where you can go really old school with it – with a new school twist. Flyers, advertisements and other materials can be posted, but it's better to use Facebook groups or online forums.

It's especially helpful if your car is unique and something that enthusiasts are excited about. It’s definitely a crapshoot, but it’s better than just writing it off.

Keep in mind that if you’re looking for a common vehicle like a stock Ford Explorer or a Volkswagen Jetta, the chances are pretty low that you’ll track it down. Even if you did, how would you know it’s yours?


If you’re attached to a car that you sold a while ago, you’re not alone. It's possible to track down an old car if there is enough information and dedication.

Just remember, too, that just because you found it doesn’t mean that the new owner will sell it to you, and even if they’re willing to, they might not sell it for a fair price.

Temper your expectations a bit and enjoy the journey because that’s half the fun!

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