In many scenarios, you might want to get the engine specs of your car. Whether you’re selecting certain auto parts or repairing the car engine, you will need to check its engine specs for perfect performance. Like this car owner has shared online, they found it difficult to fix the mechanic failure before knowing the engine specs1.
In this post, we will share how to search for engine specs and get a detailed vehicle history with its VIN.
Can you get engine specs directly from a VIN?
VIN is a 17-digit unique identifier that remains with the vehicle from its beginning to its end. It gives you information about the car’s manufacturer, make, engine size & type, assembly plant, and more. You can find engine-related info in VDS, the second part of a VIN.
However, as each car manufacturer has slightly different explanations for their VIN, you will not find a suits-all cross-reference chart to decode it. Instead, you can use some online tools to decode the VIN and find the engine details.
Method 1: Use search engines
One simple tool that helps you find the engine specs of a specific vehicle is search engines like Google and Bing. You may search for its year & make or VIN as per the information you have in hand.
1. Search by the year & make
If you’re not sure about the VIN, you can also search by its year, make, and model. For example, for a 2013 HONDA FIT, enter ‘2013 HONDA FIT engine specs’ into the search box and click Search. Then Google will pull out the corresponding engine specs for you.
2. Search by the VIN
Simply look up the VIN using a search engine and check for any matches. If the car has been listed for sale online, you may find some information linked to it on car-selling websites, which can include engine details like size and type.
Alternatively, such vehicle details as engine specs can be found in the owner’s manual, as shared by some car owners online2. You can go to the official website of your car manufacturer and download the manual, and check for the engine specs there.
If a VIN lookup on search engines yields few results, perhaps the sale listings had been removed or the car is relatively new and with limited information. To fix that, you may consider a more targeted tool.
Method 2: Run a VIN lookup
BeenVerified is a strong VIN search engine that has access to a wide variety of public data sources including government agencies, auto manufacturers, and more. It is also powered by an NMVTIS-approved data provider. Enter a VIN, and BeenVerified can retrieve all the available information linked to the VIN, like engine specs, accident & theft records, recalls, and more.
- Go to BeenVerified.
- Enter the VIN and click SEARCH.
- Wait as BeenVerified runs the search and compiles a report.
- On the report page, you’ll see a navigation bar on the left to help you easily access the section that you’re interested in. For example, the Recalls section.
- To view the engine specs, you can go to the Vehicle Specs section. Note that BeenVerified is a subscription-based service and you’ll need to purchase a membership plan to view the report.
What do we like about BeenVerified?
BeenVerified is an all-around search service. With one subscription, you can access its other search services like phone number, email address, and address lookups.
Bumper is an excellent alternative to BeenVerified. As an Approved NMVTIS (National Motor Vehicle Title Information System) Data Provider, it gathers vehicle records from government agencies, insurance providers, and other car industry sources. With a VIN number, you can get the engine & vehicle specs, maintenance, accidents, theft records, and more.
- Visit the Bumper search page.
- Enter the VIN and click SEARCH.
- Wait for Bumper to scour through its data sources. Once done, you will get a full report containing information related to the VIN. Note that Bumper is also a paid service.
3. Online car appraisers
This is a clever trick to obtain basic engine details like its size and type by VIN. Online car appraisers like Carvana and Edmund typically offer a VIN lookup feature to help you compile all the available vehicle details before giving you a quote. During this process, you can find some basic information about the car in the process, including the engine size. Note that the engine specs you obtain through this method are generally limited.
4. Decode This
If you only need to know the basic info about your car engine, you can try Decode This, a free online tool. Enter a VIN, then it will pull out the basic engine & vehicle specs related to it.
Note that the tool only provides engine specs for free. Unlocking the full report might cost dozens of dollars. If you’d like more detailed vehicle info at a lower price, you can try BeenVerified. Also, it only supports VIN lookup.
Read on to find out how to get engine specs by the license plate number.
Method 3: Search the license plate
If you don’t know the make and VIN of your car, no worries. You can still get the engine & car specs by searching the license plate number. In fact, the license plate number of a car is linked to its VIN, which means it can also reveal everything you need to know about a car.
Enter the license plate number in the following search box and click Search to initiate the process.
License Plate Lookup
Enter license plate and get engine specs
Or you can use the online car appraisers that we’ve mentioned above. They typically support license plate lookups.
Method 4: Contact the local dealerships
Another way to get engine & car specs is to contact local dealers that are selling the same brand of your car. You can request from them the information you need via phone call or email, or just by stepping into the store in person. After being provided with the year, make, and model of your car, the car dealers will offer you the corresponding details like engine type, size, technical specs, data, and more.
These are the 4 methods to collect engine specs by VIN. If you’re more of a hands-on person, you can make use of available search engines and do some research. But if you’re not so familiar with the details of your car, a fast yet affordable way is to use a professional vehicle search tool.
Note that a VIN lookup report may be informative, but it should not take the place of a thorough inspection by a mechanic. Failing to do so may result in you buying a car with issues, even from recognized dealerships3. We hope you find the post helpful!
- Maintenance/Repairs [nickoolsayz]. (2011, July 4). Trying to find out what motor is in my car. [Online forum post]. CarTalk. https://community.cartalk.com/t/trying-to-find-out-what-motor-is-in-my-car/65939 ↩︎
- r/NoStupidQuestions [DuckTheFuck10]. (2018, August 3). What do u mean by “size”? Number of cylinders, horsepower, or actual SIZE?, most of that you can find in… [Comment on the online forum post Where do you find the engine size on your vehicle?]. Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/NoStupidQuestions/comments/948llp/where_do_you_find_the_engine_size_on_your_vehicle/ ↩︎
- General Discussion [GameAddict411]. (2017, January 12). My experience of being scammed and mislead in buying a used car from reputable dealership. [Online forum post]. WayPoint. https://forum.waypoint.vice.com/t/my-experience-of-being-scammed-and-mislead-in-buying-a-used-car-from-reputable-dealership/10083 ↩︎