If you're an outdoor enthusiast who loves to go off-roading at every opportunity, it's probably time to purchase your own ATV or upgrade the one you have.

Buying a used ATV may make the best economic sense, but you'll want to be sure you're investing in one that can handle the inherent challenges of 4-wheeling. Running an ATV VIN check ahead of time is an easy way to protect yourself from inadvertently buying someone else's headache.

What Is an ATV VIN Check?

An ATV VIN check is a fast and efficient way to get the low-down on an ATV's history. A VIN is a 17-digit code issued to every type of vehicle during manufacturing. Running a VIN check discloses pertinent facts about a particular vehicle, such as ownership history, insurance claims, recalls, and the like.

Each of a VIN's 17 alphanumeric characters contains telling details, including the manufacturing plant, make, model, year, engine code, braking system, and other specifications.

Insurance companies and the Department of Motor Vehicles use VINs to track what happens to a vehicle over its lifetime. You can also access this vital information through an ATV VIN lookup.

Why Should I Run an ATV VIN Check?

Avid riders know they need a 4-wheeler capable of handling the abuse and rough terrain that makes off-roading the cool adventure that it is. If you choose to buy a used ATV, you'll save money, but it does require a bit more consumer savvy than simply purchasing a new one. This is where an ATV VIN search comes in.

An ATV VIN check alerts you to any previous damages, outstanding recalls, or defects. If you aren't careful about reviewing the ownership and registration history, you could innocently wind up buying a stolen vehicle!

In this case, an ATV VIN check would reveal whether there were any thefts in the vehicle's history, including a complete list of titleholders.

Where Can I Find My ATV VIN Number?

The location of ATV VINs can vary, but by law, they must be etched somewhere on the vehicle. Many models stamp it on the left side of the frame, under the shifter. If you have no luck there, try the following:

  • On the left side of the frame by the engine
  • Inside the left wheel well by the radiator or behind it on the frame
  • Through the slit in the plastic hood
  • Stamped on the frame under the tail sections

Be sure to find the number yourself, rather than take it from the seller at face value. Unscrupulous dealers have been known to substitute a clean VIN for one with problems. It's critical to postpone buying until you've gotten the results of an ATV VIN check. If there are no red flags, you're good to go.

What Can I Get From an ATV VIN Check?

An ATV VIN lookup will generate a comprehensive vehicle history report that will include the following information:

  • Ownership records with titleholder names and dates
  • Any history of theft, including whether the ATV was stolen and not recovered or found and designated as salvage
  • Last odometer reading
  • Title brands
  • Insurance claims, including total loss history
  • Market value
  • Recalls and active warranties
  • Outstanding liens

Without checking, how can you be sure the vehicle wasn't totaled and then rebuilt? Or that the odometer wasn't tampered with? If there's an outstanding lien, it means someone else owes money on the vehicle, which could mean repossession down the road for you.


4-wheeling is a fun and challenging sport. There's no better way to protect yourself and your investment than by performing an ATV VIN check before you buy an ATV.

The invaluable data generated isn't just nice to know but is "need to know" information that may ultimately impact your decision to move forward with a purchase. Take a minute and run a free ATV VIN lookup today! You'll be glad you did.