Free Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Decoder & Lookup

Dovie Salais

Table of Contents What’s a VIN Number (Vehicle Identification Number)?How to Find the Vehicle’s VIN NumberHow to Use the VIN Decoder to Do a VIN Number CheckHow to Decode the Vehicle Identification NumberWhy the VIN Is ImportantModel Year Character CodesWorld Manufacturer Identifier (WMI): Country of Origin Character CodesHelpful ResourcesHow would […]

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 VIN Number

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?

How to decode a Vehicle Identification (VIN) number

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

Code Year Code Year Code Year Code Year
A 1980 L 1990 Y 2000 A 2010
B 1981 M 1991 1 2001 B 2011
C 1982 N 1992 2 2002 C 2012
D 1983 P 1993 3 2003 D 2013
E 1984 R 1994 4 2004 E 2014
F 1985 S 1995 5 2005 F 2015
G 1986 T 1996 6 2006 G 2016
H 1987 V 1997 7 2007 H 2017
J 1988 W 1998 8 2008 J 2018
K 1989 X 1999 9 2009 K 2019

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.

WMI Region Notes
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


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

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