A VIN is essential in every car produced. It serves as the DNA that tells you about your vehicle or the one you are buying or selling. You may get a different number of digits representing your car, but if you have a model made in 1981 or later, it should have 17 characters.
Now that we are aware that the number serves as a fingerprint, where can you find it? Is it from one place, or can you compare from different sources? This blog will be answering that and more to do with how you can decode the VIN once you find it.
Whether you have a motor vehicle or motorcycle, a VIN will help you identify more details about the body and engine.
What is a VIN?
First, we need to recognize what is this important serial number in every car. Well, it’s simply the 17-digit alphanumeric number found in every modern car, and we can go back to 1981. Every car has one, but they all tend to exclude the letters Q, I, and O.
The reason behind this is that you may tend to confuse these letters with 1 or 0. Each character or a section of characters represents something. It could be the manufacturer details, year, model specifications, and more.
The VIN is printed as a single string of characters on various parts of the car and your logbook. That means you can compare the different sources to ensure that what you are getting is correct.
Importance of VIN
It’s the only number that will give you all the car’s specifications. That is why it’s vital to perform a VIN check before buying a car, especially for those used. Car dealers always find the number essential since it helps them identify vehicle specifications.
You can also get it for personal satisfaction if you want to find out more about a particular vehicle. The VIN characters have been standardized since 1981 to be 17 in total, and they all stand for something.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. Where do you get the VIN before decoding it?
Finding the Vehicle’s VIN
There are different areas that you can locate and confirm a car’s VIN. They include the following:
- The car’s registration details
- The dashboard’s front on the driver’s side
- The door’s pillar on the driver’s side. Sometimes on the passenger side too
- For motorcycles, check below the handlebars on the steering neck, on the motor frame, or on the motor itself
- Under the engine’s hood
Those are the different areas you can check for the VIN and also verify it. More sources can include the insurance documents.
Where and How to Decode a VIN
Once you have the VIN, write it down on a piece of paper or use your phone to take a picture. Once you have it, decoding will take a few minutes if you are already connected to the internet.
Powerful websites like VinPit help you get all the details by simply feeding the number, clicking on the Start Search button, and waiting for the results. You don’t even pay to get the details. It’s that fast and free, in case you are wondering.
The report will involve everything to do with the vehicle. That includes whether the VIN is fake or not. To help you decode the information, here is what the characters represent:
The First Three Characters
They constitute the world manufacturer identifier. It’s abbreviated as WMI, and the first character represents the country of origin. If you see a 1, 4, or 5, then know the car is from the US. In Mexico, they start with 3, while in Canada, it’s 2.
South Korean cars will have a K while Japan goes with J. German machines have W, S for England while Y represents Finland or Sweden. The second character is what tells you more about the manufacturer.
A means that’s an Audi. If you decode a VIN for BMW, it will start with B. while G goes for the vehicles coming from General Motors. N means it’s Nissan while L is for Lincoln. The letter A is also found in Mitsubishi and Jaguar. Audis will also possess the letter R.
For the third character, it’s combined with the first two to tell more about the manufacturing division or the type of vehicle.
The Fourth to Ninth Digit
From the fourth to the eight characters, you get the car’s model, restraint system, body type, engine coed, and transmission type. The ninth digit tells you if the VIN is fake or not. It has a mathematical formula embedded in it that shows if the VIN is legit.
Tenth to Seventh Characters
They all represent the vehicle’s identifier information. The tenth one represents the model year, where B to Y represents models between 1981 and 2000. That excludes the letters Q, U, Z, I, and O. Numbers 1 to 9 are for the models developed from 2001 to 2009. From 2010 to now, we have the letters back, starting with A for the year 2010. The trend will continue to 2030.
The 11th character will show you the plant where the car was manufactured. For the last six digits, you get the production sequence. It represents the serial number given to the car while on the production line.
Now, you know where to get a VIN, how to decode it, and why it’s essential. Having different sources of this information helps verify that you are using the correct number for your vehicle or motorcycle.
It’s time to get the VIN and visit a user-friendly website like VinPit to get more information. If you have any questions regarding VINs in general, the comment box below is for you.