Whether you’re looking at a utility trailer, enclosed, livestock, dump trailer, or a travel trailer (recreational vehicle), all of them come with their own unique VIN numbers (Vehicle Identification Number). A VIN is essentially an identifier and it’s one of the best ways to view the history of the trailer for free.
Fortunately, there are several VIN lookup sites for trailers that won’t cost you a dime. If you have your eyes on a used trailer, the VIN is the key to the trailer’s history, original manufacturer, repairs, and maintenance. It’s a wealth of information in a single line of letters and numbers.
If you’ve ever tried to look up a VIN number before, you’ve probably run into VIN lookup sites that will allow you to search but, right before they reveal the info, you have to pay. The good news is, you don’t have to pay to look up a VIN, so long as you know where to go.
Table of Contents
1. VIN Check NICB
NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau) allows you to look up the VIN number on a trailer for free, up to five times. NICB bases the ‘five times’ on your IP address, so you can probably get even more out of it if you use a VPN.
However, VINCheck is a little limited, since it focuses on the insurance side of things. For instance, if the trailer was ever salvaged, had been in an accident where insurance was used, was involved in false insurance claims, or had an insurance theft claim, it will pop up when you run the check.
It’s a good resource to use because it could have been salvaged at one point and repaired as a backyard, DIY project—something you might not be able to detect at first glance, or looking at the trailer through a series of photos.
While VINCheck won’t cover things that are outside the realm of insurance, it will direct you to other VIN check websites for additional information that’s non-insurance related.
Some of the sites it directs you to may or may not be paid sites.
FAXVIN is a limited-trailer VIN option with a heavy focus on travel trailers and recreational vehicles. However, the information you are able to glean from the VIN number is limited to basic details. For some of the more in-depth history of the travel trailer, you will have to cough up some money.
For the most part, this website is good for a quick look-up that will give you a basic overview of the travel trailer, allowing you to determine if there are any red flags that you need to be concerned about.
The FAXVIN tool will allow you to see a few important details, however, including service records on the trailer, any accidents the trailer was involved in, repair records, and registrations.
According to FAXVIN, a look-up will also detail the specs of the travel trailer. This is more important than it sounds if you are purchasing a trailer used. If the owner posted any false specs on the trailer, you’ll be able to spot the mismatch when you view the specs.
3. NHTSA VIN Look-Up
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers public access VIN checks for basic information on the trailer or travel trailer you’re looking into buying. This VIN check site is good for looking up recalls on the trailer in question.
Recalls are typically issued when there is a manufacturer defect that’s serious enough that the entire trailer needs to be returned and either repaired or exchanged for one of equal value.
Recalls are typically the last resort. There are several levels to manufacturer recalls, many of which require you to turn the trailer over for a replacement or repair and pick it up later when the repairs are complete.
Some recalls are smaller issues with same-day fixes. No matter what the issue is, a recall is a serious matter, and discovering the trailer you’re looking at is under a recall notice will help you avoid a disaster down the road.
With NHTSA, you’ll also get some basic VIN information on the travel trailer, such as specs and repairs in the past.
Read also >> VIN Location On Trailer (All You Need To Know)
4. EPIC VIN
EPIC VIN offers a free, basic VIN check on trailers, though it primarily focused on travel trailers, motorhomes, and vehicles. They offer a NADA VIN check as well, which dives deeper into the trailer’s history, though you’ll have to pay for it.
For the basic, background information of the trailer, along with any recalls and known manufacturer defects, it’s completely free. You’ll also get the service history of the trailer, along with any other factors that may have changed the trailer’s value over time.
Insurance claims, past accidents, and odometer reporting discrepancies are all important factors as well and you will get most of this information without having to pay for it.
Fortunately, when you do fork over some cash for a more detailed history, it’s pretty cheap.
Why is the VIN Number on a Trailer Important?
You probably gathered from some of the VIN check sites above, the amount of important information you should gather before purchasing a trailer of any kind.
Of course, there’s no reason for looking up the VIN if you purchase a brand new trailer or travel trailer, so long as you’re purchasing from a reputable dealer.
However, any used purchases, even if the trailer is only a year old, should be checked and double-checked before you fork over your hard-earned money. This is especially true if you are making a private transaction, such as something off of the Facebook Marketplace.
If the owner of the trailer is unwilling to give you the VIN number, walk away and never look back. Any legitimate seller with a trailer will provide you with the VIN number, no questions asked, precisely so you can conduct your own background check on it.
- Overview of junk and salvage history
- Previous accident history, along with repairs
- Discover recalls on the trailer
- Discover any outstanding liens on the trailer
- Theft records
All of the above information is critical and something you should be aware of before you make your purchase. Whether you’re talking about a basic utility trailer or a far more expensive travel trailer, all of them are relatively expensive.
The last thing you want to do is fork over hundreds or thousands of dollars and end up with a trailer that’s falling apart.
Checking the VIN number is a quick and simple process that doesn’t require anything more than a little time and effort on your PC or smartphone.
VIN Number Location on a Trailer
Most utility trailers, enclosed trailers, dump trailers, and similar variations will have a sticker located on the trailer tongue or near the axle, underneath the frame of the trailer.
Travel trailers are a bit different, and the VIN number may be located in a wide variety of places.
Check under the wheel well, in the closets throughout the trailer, underneath the sink, in any of the storage compartments, or inside the entryway door.
The manual that comes with the travel trailer should have a section in there about the VIN number and where it is located on the trailer.
All Things Considered
The above-listed VIN number lookup sites are known for offering free services. However, keep in mind that the information provided for ‘free’ is limited. It’s likely that you will have to spend some cash if you want more detailed information about a prospective trailer.
On the bright side, even some basic information on a trailer before you purchase it can save you a lot of time and money.
Take the extra time to look up the VIN number on any used trailer before you buy. You might be surprised and relieved at what you find.
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