I was watching Peter Greenberg’s weekly Facebook Live on Thursday and as usual, the travel guru continued to amaze me. First of all, he still travels like crazy and secondly, he has a memory like an elephant. I’m also jealous that he can be so highly functional on just four hours of sleep a night, though with two little kids, that’s pretty much what it’s been like for me and my wife for the last four years.
I’ve always learned a lot from Peter, whether it be from his new Facebook Lives, his radio show, TV appearances or when he’s speaking on a stage. He’s interviewed me countless times for his weekly radio show and I interviewed him for my 39 Travel Questions series last April about his past travels; you can read his abbreviated answers here or watch the unedited interview on YouTube or listen to it on my podcast.
In his latest Facebook Live video, Peter talks about how many car renters don’t take five minutes to walk around the car taking pictures or video of inside and outside of any dings or scratches so you don’t get charged upon returning the vehicle. I’ve been preaching this for decades. But what I’d never thought of before was Peter’s recommendation that renters look for the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), located at the bottom of the driver’s side windshield and then punch the 17-digit code unique to each vehicle into a VIN lookup tool. FYI: The VIN is also on the driver’s side door where the door latches when it is closed.
I don’t rent many cars these days since I either take public transportation, Blacklane, Uber or Lyft but it’s great to know you can look up the entire history of your car before getting into it. I found two websites that offer free VIN lookup services since I couldn’t find the story on Peter’s website.
UPDATED: Use NICB.org/VINcheck, which is a free lookup service provided to the public to assist in determining if a vehicle has been reported as stolen, but not recovered, or has been reported as a salvage vehicle by participating NICB member insurance companies. A maximum of five searches can be conducted within a 24-hour period per IP address.
The sites I previously mentioned were autocheck.com and vincheck.info to view the year, make, model, style and country of assembly for your VIN. But according to Leo Laporte, (I’m a weekly contributor on his radio show The Tech Guy) NICB.org is much better.
Obviously you don’t want to be in a car that’s been in a lot of accidents but there’s another reason to do this, which I learned from Melanie Lieberman, one of TPG’s editors. Melanie was told she was renting a four-wheel-drive on a recent ski trip to upstate New York when in reality she wasn’t and ended up getting stuck in a snow storm. Melanie writes: “Looking at even an abbreviated VIN report before signing a rental agreement can give you important information about the vehicle you’re about to drive out of the lot. Had I done this before, I would have known the agent was misinformed, and that I was paying for a front-wheel-drive vehicle (which I already own, thank you very much). I would have also had access to important safety and recall information.”
Good to know!
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.