What Goes Into a VIN?
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Popular Parts. Shop Accessories. Shop All Accessories. Precisely engineered fit and finish. There are several free online services to help you decipher the numbers and their meanings. Some decoders provide basic information for free while others will require payment to give you a full report. For more detailed VIN decoding that provides installed and optional equipment, vehicle specs, color options, pricing, MPG, and other details, check out DataOne Software's complete vehicle data and VIN decoding business solution.
Step 1: Decode the meaning of the first number or letter. The first character in a VIN may be either a letter or number and tells you the geographic area of origin. This is where the car was actually made, and it may be different from where the manufacturer is located. Step 2: Decode the second and third digits. This will tell you the manufacturer of the car. A full list of manufacturer codes can be found here. Step 3: Decode the vehicle descriptor section. The next five numbers, known as the vehicle descriptor section, tell you the brand of the car, the size of the engine and what type of vehicle it is.
Each manufacturer uses their own codes for these numbers and you must know what that is to find out what they mean. Step 4: Decode the check digit.
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The ninth number is a check digit used to prove the VIN is not a fake. The check digit uses a complex calculation so it cannot be easily faked. Step 5: Find out the year of manufacture. The tenth number indicates the year the car was made, or the year of manufacture. It begins with A for , the first year a standard digit VIN was used. Step 6: Determine where exactly the car was manufactured.
The eleventh digit tells which plant actually assembled the car. Step 7: Decode the remaining numbers.
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The rest of the numbers provide the production or serial number of the car and is what makes the VIN unique to that specific car. To find out this manufacturer-specific information, you can check their website for a decoding sheet or ask a service repair shop if you can see one. This includes how many owners it has had and if the car has been in any accidents or had claims filed. Read this article if you'd like to find out more about the differences between VIN decoder, VIN check, and vehicle history report services.
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While not all manufacturers include this, some do. Part 3 of 4: Learn the meanings of the numbers You can also learn how to read your VIN by understanding what each set of numbers means. This digit is specific to each manufacturer. Some companies provide VIN lookup on their sites to give you more information about your vehicle.
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How to Read a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)
Please see our terms of service for more details. Related Articles. What is a Clean CarFax? Related Questions. Where do you find the vehicle identification number? Each car is required to have a unique vehicle identification number VIN. This is used for a very wide range of things, from your title to your insurance and much more. Without a VIN, your car is likely not insurable Where is the vehicle identification number located?