Every vehicle has a unique V.I.N. (vehicle identification number). The V.I.N. is stamped onto a small metal plate and is attached to the driver’s side of the dash board where it meets the windshield. The V.I.N. is a 17 digit alpha/numeric code that describes the build features of your car.
The V.I.N. was last updated to a standardized code, followed by all manufacturers in 1983. This is how the code is broken down.
The 1st character identifies the country in which the vehicle was manufactured. For example U.S.A. (1or4), Canada (2), Mexico (3), Japan (J), Korea (K), England (S), Germany (W), Italy (Z).
The 2nd character identifies the manufacturer. Some examples are: Audi (A), BMW (B), Buick (4), Cadillac (6), Chevrolet (1), Chrysler (C), Ford (F), Honda (H).
The 3rd character identifies the vehicle type or manufacturing division.
The 4th to 8th characters are for vehicle description, it contains information such as body style, engine type, model, series etc.
The 9th character is referred to as the check digit. It is used to verify V.I.N. accuracy.
The 10th character is used to identify the year of the vehicle. For example the years 2000-2009 will have the numbers 0-9. 2010-2020 will have letters A-l.
The 11th character identifies the assembly plant of the vehicle.
The 12th to 17th characters are production sequence numbers. This is the number each vehicle receives as it rolls off the assembly line.
To the average person, a V.I.N. is just a number but to the educated consumer, it can be used as a tool to ensure that the used vehicle you are looking to purchase has never been reported stolen. The V.I.N. is also important if you want to determine if alterations have been made to the engine, body, etc. Knowing what the digits in the V.I.N. represent will only make you a more educated consumer.
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