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Is it OK to Give Someone Your Vin Number

Is it OK to Give Someone Your Vin Number

Yes, it is safe to share your vehicle identification number (VIN) when selling your car privately.

The VIN only identifies important details of your vehicle, such as the make, model, year, and manufacturing location. It does not contain any personal information about you as the seller.

Providing the vin upfront is a necessary part of selling a car privately as it provides trust and transparency to buyers. If you choose not to provide it, be prepared for a more difficult time selling your car.

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Why You Should Give Your VIN

There are several reasons why sharing your VIN with prospective buyers is beneficial:

  • Allows buyers to look up the vehicle history report to verify mileage, accident history, number of owners, etc. This saves everyone time by enabling buyers to research the car before seeing it in person.
  • Demonstrates you have nothing to hide about the vehicle’s condition or history. Being upfront with the VIN makes you appear more trustworthy as a seller.
  • Required by many online car selling platforms. Sites like Craigslist have a dedicated field for including the VIN in your listing.
  • The VIN is not a secret – it’s plainly visible on the car itself, usually on the lower driver’s side of the windshield. Anyone can walk up and view it.

Should You Put The Vin Number on Your Ads?

Yes, if there is a space for putting your car’s vin number on vehicle listings, you should do that for all the reasons mentioned above. This includes websites such as Facebook Marketplace, eBay Motors, Autotrader, and even Craigslist.

I have seen people who claim this can open you up to vin cloning scams, but that’s nonsense. The types of scams that are run with VIN Numbers like that are typically done with cars that are idle, such as in Junk yards.

when selling a car should i give the vin

Protecting Your Personal Information When Sharing VIN

While sharing your VIN is a normal part of the car selling process, there are a couple best practices to keep in mind:

  • Only provide your VIN to serious buyers who have expressed real interest in purchasing your vehicle, not just casual inquiries.
  • Be wary if a potential buyer insists you purchase a vehicle history report from a specific unknown website, especially if it requires entering your credit card. This could be an attempt to steal your payment information.
  • Stick to well-known vehicle history report providers like Carfax and AutoCheck. Refer buyers directly to these services to look up your VIN.


The bottom line is that sharing your VIN is essential to selling your car. Withholding it will make buyers suspicious and likely drive them away. As long as you use common sense precautions, providing your VIN to legitimate buyers is perfectly safe and helps you complete the sale successfully.


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Picture of Steve Momot - Author

Steve Momot - Author

Steve, a seasoned expert in the automotive industry, formerly held a car dealer license in Florida. With extensive experience spanning across car trading and mechanical work, he founded Autohitch. His mission? To guide both buyers and sellers through the intricate maze of car purchasing, ensuring a seamless and informed experience. Outside of the automotive world, Steve has a passion for fishing and capturing the beauty of nature through photography.


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