How a VIN Number is Connected with a Car Invoice

January 27, 2012

A car's VIN number is closely connected to the new car invoice. Through all stages of the manufacturing, shipping and selling processes, the VIN number and the car invoice provide vital information on the options and status of a car. Although car invoice prices are not important to the plant or the shipper, they are important when a car arrives at the dealership lot. From information on vehicle options to the price of a vehicle, the car invoice form provides lots of relevant information on the vehicles you are shopping for. This guide highlights how closely the VIN number is connected to the car invoice.

Significance of the VIN Number

The VIN number is a unique number that identifies an individual motor vehicle. It is 17 digits long and includes information on country and manufacturer of origin, specific major options on the vehicle, model year of manufacture and a unique seven-digit serial number rounds out the VIN number. The VIN number is also stamped on numerous parts of the vehicle so that parts can be identified in the event they are stolen or later used to restore a damaged vehicle. In a way, the VIN number is like the Social Security number for a car; everything used to identify the vehicle is included in the VIN number.

Significance of an Invoice

The invoice is like a vehicle's birth certificate. The information on it includes the VIN number and information on options, but the invoice also includes smaller options that are listed as individual line items. The most important part of an invoice is the pricing information that can be looked up by VIN number. The car invoice provides an approximation of the dealership's cost on a new vehicle, relative to the manufacturer's suggested retail price, which is also listed on the invoice. The invoice amount does not always reflect a dealership's ultimate cost for a vehicle, as amounts like dealer holdback and dealer cash ultimately lower a dealership's cost.

How the Dealer Uses this Information

The VIN number and invoice prices are permanently connected in the dealership's accounting system. This allows the dealership to easily prepare paperwork when you choose to purchase a vehicle, and it always makes it easier for the dealership to quickly calculate their gross profit on a sale. If you are considering a vehicle that has not yet arrived at the dealership or one that is on a different dealer's lot, the VIN number is also used to look up vehicle invoices for out-of-stock vehicles.

VIN Numbers, Invoices and Service Departments

Perhaps the most important time for the VIN number and invoice to be connected is when you take a vehicle in for service. If the service technician has any questions about the production options on your vehicle, they will refer to a build-out sheet. This sheet includes the VIN number and option information included on the invoice. These systems can help a dealership find the service history of a vehicle and can even inform the dealership if there are any open recalls on a vehicle. 

Related Questions and Answers

Can I find the Car Owner By a VIN Number?

It is possible to find the owner by VIN number, but access can be restricted. It depends on the state that you live in. If you have the VIN number you can go down to the local DMV and they can pull up the vehicle owners information. However, in most states this information is limited to certain parties. Tow truck companies that need to notify owners the car has been towed and impounded, creditors, lien-holders, insurance companies and law enforcement officers normally have access. A normal person walking in off the streets would not be given access to this information.

Where Can I See a VIN Number Example?

AutoCheck has a page that shows a VIN number example as well as how to decode it. Each number and letter in a VIN number means something, but decoding them can be complicated. There are websites that can help you decode the VIN. A VIN number shows where the vehicle was manufactured, the engine size, model year and serial number of the vehicle. Other information is also included. In order to properly decode a VIN number, you need information from the manufacturer, which is not easy to get a hold of. It is best to use a free VIN decoder or pull a VIN report from a website such as Auto Check.

Can I find a Vehicle's VIN Number By its License Plate?

It is possible to find a VIN number by the license plate but it is not easy, and never free. There are companies that can do reverse look-ups, using the license plate to track down the VIN number. These companies have access to DMV records that make tracking down the VIN number and owner information much easier. All of these websites charge for their services. The rates for the services vary. The normal rate is $25 to $50 for a year's worth of access. It is a good idea to check out these sites before handing over your credit card, for there are some shifty operators out there.

Where can I find My VIN Number?

If someone has asked, 'Where can I find my VIN number?', here is the answer. A VIN number is the vehicle identification number. Every car built is assigned a unique number which makes it easy to keep track of accidents and other incidents the car was involved in. If the car was built after 1969, the VIN number is located on the driver's side dashboard and is viewable from the windshield. It is also possible that the VIN number is located on the driver's side door jamb. The VIN is sometimes stamped on the front of the engine block. Modern VIN numbers are 17 characters long.

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