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✔️ A thin Javascript client for the NHTSA VPIC API

✔️ 24 helper functions to retrieve data from each of the VPIC API endpoints

✔️ Works in Node.js via package managers and in browser scripts via CDN.

✔️ Fully tree-shakeable and side-effect free with no dependencies or bundled polyfills.

✔️ Built with TypeScript support in mind. Get full type hints and code completion in your IDE.


This package provides an easy way to interact with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Vehicle Information (VPIC) API.

It's a thin javascript 'wrapper' or 'client' around the VPIC API. Included are helper functions to make interacting with the API and retrieving data less of a chore.


  • Provides a set of 24 helper functions to interact with each of the 24 endpoints, so you don't have to worry about the url structure, query parameters, formatting, or fetching the data. See the VPIC API section for more info.

  • Use the built in fetch functionionality or provide your own. The endpoint functions can be used to build full VPIC URLs for you to use your own fetch implentation such as Axios or a polyfill. See the Bring Your Own Fetch guide for more info.

  • Provides a helper composable called useNHTSA that returns functions to interact with the VPIC API at a lower level. See the useNHTSA guide for more info.

  • All endpoints are typed, so you get intellisense and type checking in your IDE. Response data is also typed so you know exactly what to expect for each endpoint. See the TypeScript guide for more info.

  • Built in runtime type checking so you can be sure you're passing the correct parameters to each endpoint. The functions will throw an error if you pass missing or wrong parameters, and the error message will tell you exactly what you did wrong.

What is the NHTSA VPIC API?

The NHTSA VPIC API is primarily used for decoding useful information from a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in the United States and Canada. It can also be used to get all models of a make, to decode WMIs, get all makes for a certain year, and more.

A list of all 24 VPIC endpoints can be found in the NHTSA API Endpoints section.


When this documentation mentions API "Endpoints" it's referring to the 24 Methods listed in the VPIC API Docs.

The best part about the VPIC API is that it's free and doesn't require an API key. The wonderful people at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have made it openly available to the public.

You can use it to build things for vehicle related apps. Creating a contact form for example, you would have the user first select a year and then have make and model dropdowns populated with the actual makes and models for that year.

For a real world example of this, check out some of my other projects that use this package and the VPIC API:

Where can you use this package?


This package uses the built-in Fetch API with no bundled polyfill for very old Browsers or Node.js versions < 18.

Why this package?

The VPIC API is perfect for beginner developers, it has no authentication, no rate limits, and is free to use with no API key required.

However, there are no official Javascript libraries, and the documentation is a bit lacking with minimal examples. Some helpful people have created unofficial libraries, but they're either outdated or don't work with the latest version of the API, and none have baked in TypeScript support.

Put simply, all this package really does is make it easier to use the VPIC API.

Why not just use the VPIC API directly?

  • Lack of official documentation and examples make it difficult to know what to expect from each endpoint.

  • Responses have the same general structure, but the data structure is different for each endpoint. There is no information on the structure of the response data, so you have to experiment and extrapolate the data structure from real responses.

  • A mix of 'POST' and 'GET' methods, plus other quirks that make it take longer and cause frustration to use.

  • All of the VPIC endpoints require close attention when using them directly. Each endpoint requires a different url structure, path, and query parameters.

  • The API will will return a 404 response or respond in XML format if it doesn't like your request structure, but it's not always clear what the error is or how to avoid it. This also happens if query parameters are missing or not included as empty string values, even if they are intentionally undefined.

Story Time

My professional background is in the automotive industry, so I was excited to find an API that would allow me to build things for my vehicle related apps.

My goal was to create a simple contact form for my website that would allow the user to select a year, make, and model from a dropdown list. I wanted to populate and filter the make and model dropdowns based on selected year, with the help of the VPIC API.

So I decided to create my own library to make it easier to use the VPIC API. I've learned a lot since the inception of this project and have rewritten it from the ground up. It's now on version 3.0 and better than ever in my humble opinion.

I hope you find it useful and it saves you some time and frustration.

- @ShaggyTech

Released under the MIT License.