How to read a vehicle identification number


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.

Enter your vehicle's 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 VIN Decoder lookup is intended for use with vehicles manufactured since If your vehicle was made before , the VIN will most likely contain 11 characters. 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.


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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. The first three characters of every VIN number uniquely identify the manufacturer of the vehicle. Expert level? Beginner level? Needs improvement? Additional Vehicle Info.

Most Recent Recalls. Up to that time, states used the engine number to register and title cars and trucks which became a problem if the engine was replaced which was fairly common at the time. There are vehicle history services in several countries that help potential car owners use VINs to find vehicles that are defective or have been written off.

Compatible but different implementations of these ISO standards have been adopted by the European Union and the United States , respectively.


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The first three characters uniquely identify the manufacturer of the vehicle using the world manufacturer identifier or WMI code. A manufacturer who builds fewer than vehicles per year uses a 9 as the third digit, and the 12th, 13th and 14th position of the VIN for a second part of the identification. Some manufacturers use the third character as a code for a vehicle category e.

The first character of the WMI is the region in which the manufacturer is located. In the notation below, assume that letters precede numbers and that zero is the last number. For example, 8X—82 denotes the range 8X, 8Y, 8Z, 81, 82, excluding This is used, according to local regulations, to identify the vehicle type, and may include information on the automobile platform used, the model, and the body style.

Each manufacturer has a unique system for using this field. Most manufacturers since the s have used the eighth digit to identify the engine type whenever there is more than one engine choice for the vehicle. Example: for the Chevrolet Corvette , U is for a 6. One element that is inconsistent is the use of position nine as a check digit , compulsory for vehicles in North America and China, but not Europe.

The 10th to 17th positions are used as the 'vehicle identifier section' VIS. This is used by the manufacturer to identify the individual vehicle in question. This may include information on options installed or engine and transmission choices, but often is a simple sequential number. In North America, the last five digits must be numeric. One consistent element of the VIS is the 10th digit, which is required worldwide to encode the model year of the vehicle. Besides the three letters that are not allowed in the VIN itself I, O and Q , the letters U and Z and the digit 0 are not used for the model year code.

The year code is the model year for the vehicle.

Vehicle identification number

The year was encoded by some manufacturers, especially General Motors and Chrysler , as "A" since the digit VIN was not mandatory until , and the "A" or zero was in the manufacturer's pre placement in the VIN , yet Ford and AMC still used a zero for Subsequent years increment through the allowed letters, so that "Y" represents the year On April 30, , the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration adopted a final rule amending 49 CFR Part , "so that the current 17 character vehicle identification number VIN system, which has been in place for almost 30 years, can continue in use for at least another 30 years", in the process making several changes to the VIN requirements applicable to all motor vehicles manufactured for sale in the United States.

Compulsory in North America and China is the use of the 11th character to identify the assembly plant at which the vehicle was built. Each manufacturer has its own set of plant codes. In the United States and China, the 12th to 17th digits are the vehicle's serial or production number. This is unique to each vehicle, and every manufacturer uses its own sequence. When trying to validate a VIN with a check digit , first either a remove the check digit for the purpose of calculation or b use a weight of zero see below to cancel it out.

The original value of the check digit is then compared with the calculated value. If the calculated value is 0—9, the check digit must match the calculated value. If the calculated value is 10, the check digit must be X. If the two values do not match and there was no error in the calculation , then there is a mistake in the VIN. Transliteration consists of removing all of the letters, and replacing them with their appropriate numerical counterparts.

Numerical digits use their own values. The following is the weight factor for each position in the VIN. The 9th position is that of the check digit. It has been substituted with a 0, which will cancel it out in the multiplication step. A VIN with straight-ones seventeen consecutive 1 s has the nice feature that its check digit 1 matches the calculated value 1.

What Does Your Car's VIN Tell You?

This is a way to test a VIN-check algorithm. The following list shows a selection of world manufacturer codes.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Vin disambiguation. For the non-profit organization, see Vermont Institute of Natural Science.

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How to Read Your VIN Number

For the Russian Baptist pastor, see Vins. Retrieved Archived from the original on European Commission. Germany: Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt. Automotive design. Part of a series of articles on cars. Daytime running lamp Headlamp sealed beam high-intensity discharge lamp Hidden headlamps Turn signals trafficators Rear position lamps Stop lamps Reversing lamps Safety reflector retroreflector. Identification number Theft. Category Commons Portal.

VIN characteristics

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How to read a vehicle identification number
How to read a vehicle identification number
How to read a vehicle identification number
How to read a vehicle identification number
How to read a vehicle identification number
How to read a vehicle identification number

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