A Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN as it is commonly referred to, is the identifying code for a specific automobile. Each car has a unique and different code. It is kind of like a fingerprint or a snowflake, as no two vehicles have the same VIN.
A VIN refers to the specific car’s manufacturer, specifications and unique features. It can be used to track insurance coverage, registrations, recalls, warranty claims and even thefts. The VIN is stamped into a metal plate and located at the lower corner of the windshield on the driver’s side. It may also be found on a sticker along the driver’s side door jamb. The VIN is typically 17 characters long. Older model cars (prior to 1981) have 11-17 character variations.
There are some interesting identifiers in the 17 characters. If you dive closer into them, you can find out all you need to know about any particular car.
- 1 CHARACTER - The first character in the VIN tells you in which country the vehicle was built.
- 2-3 CHARACTERS - The second and third characters tell you who the manufacturer is as well as the vehicle type.
- 4-8 CHARACTERS – The fourth through eighth characters show you a portrait of the vehicle. The brand, body type, engine size, and restraint information can all be found here.
- 9 CHARACTER – This is the security code that identifies the VIN as being checked and authorized by the manufacturer.
- 10 CHARACTER – This is the model year of the car.
- 11 CHARACTER – This character indicates which plant assembled the vehicle.
- 12-17 CHARACTERS – The last six characters in the VIN are the serial numbers of the vehicle.
Because the VIN is so unique, it lets you unlock important information about that particular vehicle along with its history. You will use the VIN for all documents and transactions with your vehicle, so It is always good to know where it is and what kind of information it holds.
When looking to buy a new car, the VIN can help you decide on just the right car for you based on its history. I would love to help you find your next car, so contact me when you’re ready!