ATVs, or All-Terrain Vehicles, come with a Vehicle Identification Number that you can use to check their past history from records in DMV, law enforcement, auction sites, and other databases. With this insight, you can easily tell if the ATV has ever been reported as stolen, or if it suffered moderate to severe accidents.
Knowing the background history going back to when the ATV left the plant will inform your purchase decision and potentially save you from headaches brought on by problematic units.
What is ATV?
It's an all-terrain vehicle equipped with a straddle seat, handle-bars for steering, and at least 3 or 4 wheels. The vehicle can traverse various terrains, unlike other vehicles, which are limited in their capabilities.
Other names for ATVs include three-wheelers, quadricycle, quad bike, 4-wheeler, light utility vehicle, or four-tracks.
ATVs are developed in two different forms - the Solo model and the Dual version. The Solo style is meant to hold only one rider, while the Dual model provides space for both a driver and a passenger.
These vehicles fall into two categories:
- Class I: Only comes with one seat for the rider.
- Class II: Equipped with a passenger seat.
ATVs are rarely permitted on public roads in most places in the US, Canada, and Mexico. In states that permit ATVs on public roads, there are exceptions on who can drive them and they have to fulfill certain requirements to become street-legal, like having headlights and taillights.
They are manufactured by a range of companies, from large and well-known to specialized businesses. Some of the brands you may come across in the US and Canada are:
- Club Car;
- Arctic Cat;
How to Read an ATV VIN?
All ATVs, no matter the brand, contain a standardized Vehicle Identification Number with 17 characters. It consists of capital letters ranging from A to Z and numbers from 1 to 0. The letters I, O, and Q are not used to avoid confusion.
Every letter in this code can provide some specific information. For instance, the following character position table shows what information you can get:
|4th – 8th
|Model/ Engine type/ Body style
|Check digit (Derived mathematically to confirm VIN's authenticity)
|Plant location in the country
|12th – 17th
|Unique Serial Number of the Vehicle
The characters are read in sequence. For instance, the first three (origin country, manufacturer code, and vehicle type) are referred to as the World manufacturer identifier. The digits 4 to 8 are the vehicle description code.
For instance, if the first three characters are "JH3", the vehicle is a Honda ATV made in Japan, and "478" is a Honda ATV made in the USA.
Without reference charts showing what each letter represents based on its position in the sequence, reading the VIN is pretty much impossible.
Messing with reference charts can be too time-consuming. That's why a better way to read the VIN is using an ATV VIN check tool programmed to decipher the unique string.
ATV VIN Check
Why is ATV VIN lookup so important? Well, it can tell you the basics about how the ATV was configured by the manufacturer. With a history check comprising information pulled from vehicle databases, you can peer into the past, and find out more about the ATV's track record and if it has ever suffered major incidents like thefts or accidents. That is why it is important to use ATV VIN lookup.
Characters 4 to 8 contain the engine, trim, transmission type, and body-style specifications of your ATV. You can similarly find out about the model year and the plant location.
The spec details can help with ordering parts or figuring out if the ATV was modified in any way. You can similarly research common mechanical problems associated with the make, and this may aid you when performing the mechanical inspection. Knowing the make and year is also handy for researching what similar models are selling for.
An ATV VIN number check can reveal prior reported accidents. They make it into the report if they were reported by law enforcement agencies, DMVs, and even repair facilities. You can also tell if the ATV has a prior record of damages and accidents if it has a salvage auction record, or if its title was branded as Rebuilt, Recovered, or Junk. Fourwheeler VIN check will help to find major repairs can also offer hints if there was significant damage to any parts.
Recalls & Defects
From American Honda to Polaris, manufacturers regularly recall certain models because of production defects and safety issues. If there are any recalls on the model, the UTV VIN check report will hint at it, as checks are made against databases maintained by manufacturers and government agencies. Knowing about a past recall can allow you to find out if the issue was inspected and fixed, or if it poses a continued danger.
Not all ATVs have odometers. But for models with one, the mileage is disclosed during titling and this happens every time ownership changes hands or during registration renewals. The UTV VIN lookup report will show the last reported readings in chronological order. You can easily spot any inconsistencies as some sellers may reduce the mileage to sell the ATV for more money as low mileage indicates that it was rarely used.
The service history documents the major repairs and maintenance done on the ATV. Service entries are not too frequent as they rely on reporting from service providers. If they are present, you can determine if the owner took good care of the ATV. You can see if there are any recurring issues that keep showing up in the service record beyond the norm.
Check ATV VIN for Stolen?
Each report contains information about the current status of the car theft, as well as the history of theft, if any. But consider the possibility that the owner may have not discovered that their ATV is missing. Watch out for other signs that may indicate that the ATV may be stolen, for instance, the price may be too low than the actual value. The seller may fail to produce a title. Additionally, their name may fail to match the name on the title.
Where is the VIN on an ATV?
Finding it is not so obvious as spotting it on your daily driver, where you'll typically find it on the windshield or door jambs.
On ATVs, it's mostly partly hidden or covered with body components. But you can find it with a little bit of effort. Obviously, manufacturers don't want to expose the VIN to the elements and have it wear down too quickly.
The owner's handbook may state where you can locate the VIN on your model.
Now, here are places to check depending on your model:
Arctic Cat stamps the number on the frame, but the placement may vary:
- FIS models - Check between the LH rear upper A-Arm mounting tabs.
- Models under 400cc - The location for these models is mainly behind the front bumper.
- Rear axle models - Locate the VIN on the upper frame support beneath the fender. Based on the model or year, the placement on the frame support will either be on the left-hand or right-hand side.
VINs for Honda ATVs are on the front cross member, behind the front rack. If you have custom skid plates installed, they can make it a bit harder to access the code. You may need to unravel the skid. Here are other placements for other popular Honda ATV models:
- Honda Rancher ATV - Check the cross member at the front.
- Foreman TRX500 Models - It's stamped on the front side of the frame through the front fender.
Like other ATVs, the code location on Yamaha may vary based on the year and model. The most common placement on the majority of Yamaha is on the frame. Some other places to check include:
- Behind the driver's side rear tire;
- Under the seat;
- Left side lower frame rail between the A-Arm Mounts and Engine;
- Left frame rail, just beneath the shifter.
The make, model year, and target market will determine the VIN location on a Suzuki ATV. For easier identification, use the following table:
|On metal bar near the frame next to kicker area
|On left rear cross member along the mud wing
|On the right rear bar near the taillight
|300 King Quad
|On the small flat plate. You can see it on the left rear frame member standing vertically
|700 king Quad
|Left rear frame, at the back of the wheel
|On the left rear side of the frame
|Right rear frame, in between tire and fender
|On the left rear side of the frame (model number will on the right rear)
Polaris quads from 1985 and newer models have a 17-digit number. The following table describes the placement of different Polaris models:
|Front wheel well
|Front wheel well
|Front wheel well
|Front left wheel well
|2011 Polaris Hawkeye
|Front left wheel well
|2013 Polaris Hawkeye
|Left rear frame
|Sportsman 550, 850, 1000 & XP
|Front left wheel well
|Sportsman 400, 450, 500, 700, 800 & ETX
|Left rear frame
|Right rear wheel well
E-Trons will have an identification and engine number. For the code, check under the front fender for a plate affixed between the main frame rails.
For Can-AM off-road ATVs, the VIN placement varies also based on the model year:
- 2020 and newer models: Check for the on a label inside the passenger-side front wheel well.
- 2019 and older models: Can-AM UTVs will have the VIN on a label under your glove box.
For 2017 Can-Am Outlander and Outlander Max all-terrain ATVs, you can also check for the number under the seat in the middle.
Kawasaki ATVs will have the VIN location illustrated on the owner's manual on the first pages. The placement tends to be a bit standardized with this manufacturer, and you'll typically find it on the left front frame rail behind the wheel.
- If you have to find the VIN plate behind the front bumper, turn the wheels all the way out in one direction.
- The number will be printed on the title documents, but it's always important to get a visual confirmation.
- ATVs may also have a serial number and engine number. Remember that the vehicle identification number is always 17 digits long.
- If you can't find your ATV's VIN everywhere you look, contact the manufacturer or check their user forum.
Free ATV VIN Check
You'll receive a free ATV VIN look up report from FAXVIN by simply entering the identification number in the checker tool, and clicking "Next". But this report only includes what can be read from the VIN itself. There is no information from external databases, and therefore, no details about its past life. The tool is still useful as you can quickly check the specs on various ATVs you may be considering. Afterward, you can order the paid reports for your top favorites. You also get a discount if you're ordering more than one report.
ATV vs UTV
You may have sat back and wondered: Which is the best all-terrain vehicle to buy? An ATV or UTV, and what are the differences between them?
Starting off, an ATV has four wheels, a straddle-style seat, and handlebars like a motorcycle for steering. Class 1 ATVs only have one sitting position for a single rider. Class II vehicles have an extra seat for the passenger at the back and will be a bit wider.
A UTV is like a bigger version of the ATV, but with certain differences. It has a steering wheel for control and at least two seats like a car. Two people can sit side by side, earning its common nickname, "Side-by-side" vehicle. Some UTVs feature up to four seats. They also have a rollover cage and roof, unlike ATVs. As they are more powerful and bigger, they have a lot of utility uses.
Buyers should consider the following factors to determine which is the best version for them:
- How long you like to ride;
- Level of comfort during the ride;
- If you want to carry cargo;
- Off-road range.
UTV VIN Check
The UTV report is no different from the ATV check, all the same data and checks are present. You can see the manufacturer specs as well as any reported history such as title changes, recalls, odometer readings, and accident/salvage records.
How to get an ATV VIN Report?
Using our VIN lookup for ATV is quite intuitive, and you don't need any special skills. On this page, you can find the number entry box by navigating to the top. The next steps include:
- Enter the ATV VIN into the checker.
- Click on the "Check Now" button.
- On the next page, you'll see the preliminary report with specs deciphered from the VIN.
- Click next if you want to order a full report with database records.
You don't need to pay anything to get started with a free ATV VIN check. Enter the number and instantly get the vehicle's specs including the model year, trim, color, and more.
- Suzuki released the first modern 4-wheeled ATV equipped with an odometer and reverse gear in 1982.
- The first ATVs had three wheels, as opposed to the more common 4-wheel versions of today.
- James Bond's famous scene in Diamonds Are Forever riding a Honda US90 ATC was instrumental in propelling the popularity of these vehicles.