What’s a VIN Number (Vehicle Identification Number)?
|How many characters:||17 (digits and capital letters)|
|Where to find:||Dashboard on the driver’s side|
|First digit stands for:||Country of manufacturer|
A vehicle identification number (VIN) is a unique code that is assigned to every motor vehicle when it’s manufactured. The VIN is a 17-character string of letters and numbers without intervening spaces or the letters Q (q), I (i), and O (o); these are omitted to avoid confusion with the numerals 0 and 1. Each section of the VIN provides a specific piece of information about the vehicle, including the year, country, and factory of manufacture; the make and model; and the serial number. VINs are usually printed in a single line.
How to Find the Vehicle’s VIN Number
On most passenger cars, you may find the VIN number on the front of the dashboard on the driver’s side. The best way to see it is to look through the windshield from outside the car. You may also find the VIN number on the driver’s side door pillar. Open the door and look around the area where the door latches to the car. A motorcycle’s VIN is usually on the steering neck below the handlebars, although sometimes it’s on the motor or on the frame near the motor. A semitrailer’s VIN is located on the front part of the semitrailer on the left side.
If you can’t find the VIN number on the vehicle, you should also be able to locate it on your vehicle’s title or liability insurance documents.
How to Use the VIN Decoder to Do a VIN Number Check
Enter your vehicle’s 17-character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in the field above to look up and receive an instant report on its manufacturer, brand, make and model, body style, engine size, assembly plant, and model year. The information is provided by the National Highway Traffic Safetly Administration (NHTSA) from the data submitted by the manufacturers to NHTSA. The VIN Decoder lookup is intended for use with vehicles manufactured since 1981. If your vehicle was made before 1981, the VIN will most likely contain 11 characters.
How to Decode the Vehicle Identification Number
Wondering what all the characters in your vehicle’s VIN stand for?
Why the VIN Is Important
There are situations in which you will want to check a vehicle’s VIN, since many data registries use it to record details of the vehicle’s history. If you’re interested in buying a used car, you can do a VIN lookup to get the vehicle history report and find records of its previous owners, accidents, and repairs. You can also find out if the manufacturer had ever issued a recall of the vehicle and whether those repairs were made. Finally, law enforcement agencies do a VIN check to identify vehicles that have been stolen.
Model Year Character Codes
World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI): Country of Origin Character Codes
The first three characters of every VIN number uniquely identify the manufacturer of the vehicle. This is called the World Manufacturer Identifier or WMI code.
|A-H||Africa||AA-AH = South Africa|
|J-R||Asia||>J = Japan
KL-KR = South Korea
L = China
MA-ME = India
MF-MK = Indonesia
ML-MR = Thailand
MS = Myanmar
PA-PE = Philippines
PL-PR = Malaysia
RF-RG = Taiwan
|S-Z||Europe||SA-SM = United Kingdom
SN-ST, W = Germany
SU-SZ = Poland
TA-TH = Switzerland
TJ-TP = Czech Republic
TR-TV = Hungary
TW = Portugal
VA-VE = Austria
VF-VR = France
VS-VW = Spain
VX-V2 = Yugoslavia
XL-XM = The Netherlands
XS-XW = USSR
X3-X0 = Russia
YA-YE = Belgium
YF-YK = Finland
YS-YW = Sweden
ZA-ZR = Italy
|1-5||North America||1, 4, 5 = United States
2 = Canada
3 = Mexico
|6-7||Oceania||6A-6W = Australia
7A-7E = New Zealand
|8-0||South America||8A-8E = Argentina
8F-8J = Chile
8X-82 = Venezuela
9A-9E, 93-99 = Brazil
9F-9J = Colombia
How would you rate your driving?
Expert level? Beginner level? Needs improvement?
Take a free quiz