When purchasing a pre-owned Ford vehicle, you shouldn't just pick one you find online or at your local auto dealer. The first thing you should do is get some basic details about the vehicle and learn more about its history, or you might end up buying a car with serious problems and issues you never knew about.
Like most automakers, Ford assigns a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to each of its vehicles for easy identification. This VIN contains all the necessary information about the make and model of the vehicle, the kind of engine, the date it was made, and even where it was made. Running a VIN lookup will give you enough information about the vehicle to aid the buying process.
This guide will evaluate how a Ford VIN decoder can help you retrieve basic information about your Ford. You’ll also get tips on finding and decoding a Ford VIN. Let’s dive in!
What Is a Ford VIN Decoder & How Does It Work?
The Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, is an alphanumeric string that manufacturers use to encode vehicle data. Your Ford VIN contains store model-specific information like the year of release, assembly location, body type, and other details.
Getting a used vehicle's information is usually difficult, especially if you have to decode the VIN symbols one by one. It’s a process that will take a gigantic amount of time and energy.
That’s why you need a Ford VIN decoder. It's a search engine for retrieving hidden information about your vehicle.
To use the decoder, just type the Ford VIN number into the decoder search bar. Within seconds, you’ll get a VIN report that will tell you more about the vehicle's past, including theft records, open safety recalls, accident history, etc.
Why Is the Ford VIN Decoder So Effective?
The secret of the Ford VIN decoder’s efficiency lies in its computer-controlled structure. Unlike humans, computers can quickly extract information using their database-crawling capabilities. And even though nearly every car in the United States has a VIN, the computers are able to quickly locate your particular vehicle through its VIN and show you all the information it has available.
If you try to decode the VIN yourself, you often have to put a lot of effort into getting and understanding the information. But the Ford VIN number decoder shares the vehicle information available online to help you decode your Ford VIN quickly.
The tool collects data from various public and private sources, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), salvage yards, auto insurance companies, and more, to ensure you get the most complete, accurate, and updated vehicle information at once.
How to Lookup and Decode a Ford VIN Step-By-Step
Before using a Ford VIN decoder, you need to know where to find the VIN itself. To make it harder for anyone to hide or change a vehicle’s VIN, automakers place it in several, sometimes hard-to-find areas.
We advise starting your search for the VIN by inspecting the lower dashboard. You can also check other areas on the Ford car that have a sticker featuring the VIN number. These include:
- Engine compartment near the hood
- Door jamb on front doors
- Underside of driver’s seat
Your Ford vehicle's documentation will also likely feature the VIN number. If you cannot search the car’s body, ask the seller for the vehicle documents. The following vehicle-related documentation usually has the Ford VIN listed:
- Repair reports
- Owner’s Manual
- Liability Insurance Card
- Vehicle Title
And if none of that is available, ask your local Ford dealer for assistance.
Now, you know where to find the VIN on any Ford car. But how will you know what every symbol means?
How Do I Decode My Ford VIN Numbers?
- The first VIN symbol specifies your Ford’s geographical origins. Each country has a special number/letter to distinguish vehicles produced within its borders. The U.S.A. uses ‘1’, ‘3’, and ‘5’ for its vehicles. So if a Ford VIN starts with ‘5’, it’s a US-made model.
- The second VIN symbol (usually a letter) indicates the manufacturer. Ford vehicles typically have ‘T’ as their second VIN character to indicate their manufacturer.
- The third VIN digit (letter/number) indicates what type of Ford vehicle you’re looking at. Is it a sedan, pickup, hatchback, or wagon? Decoding this VIN symbol will usually give you an accurate answer.
- The fourth to eighth VIN digits are grouped under the Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS). Decoding this set of VIN characters will give you mechanical details about your Ford. For instance, the fourth VIN symbol will indicate what model the Ford vehicle is.
- The ninth VIN digit (Security Code) shows if the VIN is authorized; a wrong Security Code will alert the decoder that the VIN is fake.
- The last seven VIN symbols tell you the model year, serial number, and location of the manufacturing plant.
What Can You Discover With a Ford VIN Decoder?
As much as possible, automakers try to include all the most important details about a car in the VIN report. Thus, decoding a Ford VIN usually gives you access to a wealth of information about a vehicle. You’ll discover the vehicle's year of release, manufacturing location, and make. But it's not limited to that information.
You can also learn more about the vehicle's:
- Vehicle type
- Engine size
- Transmission type
- Production sequence number
- Safety equipment
- Recalls/Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs)
- Theft history
- Salvage history
You can see a sample of a Ford VIN report below.
Why Do You Need to Do a Ford VIN Lookup?
It's a good idea to use the Ford VIN decoder before you start shopping for pre-owned Fords, because it can help you:
Avoid buying a problem-ridden vehicle
When you want to buy a secondhand Ford with full knowledge of its quirks and issues, the Ford VIN lookup is what you need. The tool will tell you if the vehicle has been in any accidents; if it has been salvaged; if there are any liens on it; and if it has ever been stolen. This is very important since the Ford Full-Size Pickup was one of the most stolen vehicles in 2022, according to the NICB’s annual Hot Wheels vehicle theft report.
Find out outstanding recalls
It is estimated that 36,000 Ford vehicles are being recalled because of defective Takata airbags. You can use VinPit, a free VIN check service, to find this out, or simply visit the Ford official recall page to find out if your car has outstanding safety recalls.
You might not want to buy one that has recall records, but if you already have one, then schedule a service appointment for your Ford recall with your local dealership.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also provides free online access to vehicle recall information.
Uncover illegal business
If you're shopping for a used Ford, how would you know if the car you're about to purchase wasn't previously designated for special use, such as a taxi or police vehicle? These kinds of automobiles absorb a lot of abuse and accumulate excessive mileage. Unscrupulous sellers will often, therefore, roll back the odometer readings for profits.
A VIN lookup would show the vehicle's last odometer reading so you can check if the current mileage reading is normal.
Look up car parts
A Ford VIN decoder can tell you the car's technical specifications and help you find the right part when you're considering buying matching parts at Ford online stores.
How Do I Do a VIN Check on My Ford Vehicle?
Doing a VIN check on your Ford is quite easy. VinPit provides a free VIN check service, and you can use it as many times as you'd like. Just follow these three simple steps:
- Visit VinPit's homepage or enter the VIN number.
- Click on the 'Start Search' button.
- Wait for a few minutes as the VIN report for the vehicle is generated.
You can also try other free-of-charge VIN check tools online.
Ford Sample VIN Numbers
Here is a sample VIN number belonging to a Ford Fusion SE. We have also decoded some of the information to show what the information from a Ford VIN decoder looks like:
- VIN: 3FAHP0HA7CR170541
- Make: Ford Fusion SE
- Model year: 2012
- Engine size: 2.5-liter DOHC 16V
- Body type: 4-door sedan
- VIN: 1FTNW21P74EB26392
- Make: Ford F-250 Regular Cab 4WD DRW
- Model year: 2008
- Engine size: 6.0-liter V8 OHV 32V (Turbo Diesel)
- Body type: 4-door crew cab
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Will I know everything about a Ford from a VIN lookup?
A free Ford VIN lookup will only provide basic details about your Ford—its make, geographical origins, technical specs, etc. To get more comprehensive information about a vehicle, like its accident record, you may need to get a paid VIN check.
How fast will I get my Ford’s details?
Our Ford VIN decoder usually generates a detailed VIN report within seconds of checking a VIN. At the very least, the decoder will provide your car’s details in two minutes or less.
Is my Ford VIN lookup private?
We respect the privacy of VinPit users, so be assured that your search will remain private. Nobody else will ever know you ran a Ford VIN check.
Do I have to submit any documentation to look up a Ford VIN?
You don’t have to submit any documents to use the Ford VIN decoder. Just enter the vehicle identification number and start decoding!
Getting a Ford product is a brilliant idea, isn’t it? You’re “buying American” and lending support to American brands.
But don't allow anyone to exploit your love for American-made products by selling you a bad vehicle, like a Ford. Stay ahead by getting reliable vehicle information by using our Ford VIN decoder.
You can get a comprehensive vehicle history report for your Ford, know every crucial detail, and make an informed choice about buying it.