What is a VIN?
A Vehicle Identification Number is a 17-character unique code assigned by an auto manufacturer, which can be used to track and identify motor vehicles. The VIN does not contain the letters I, O (o), and Q (q) to avoid confusion with numerals 1 and 0.
What Does a VIN Tell You?
VIN decoder reveals a detailed vehicle specification information providing a complete overview of the vehicle’s characteristics:
- Year, make, and model
- Country of manufacture
- Body style
- Engine type
- Tank size
- City/highway mileage
- Anti brake system
- Front/rear brake type
- Wheel drive
- Steering type
- Suspension type
- Spring type
- Front/rear track size
- Airbag availability
- Overall height/width/length
- Tire type and size
- All headroom/legroom/shoulder room dimensions
- Loading capacity and cargo volume
Information on vehicles manufactured before 1981 is limited because VINs had not been standardized prior to that year.
Why is VIN information so important?
A VIN is like a fingerprint for a car and is widely used by the police and many other institutions for investigating and preventing VIN tampering, detecting theft, etc. A VIN is also useful for those looking to buy a pre-owned vehicle, as it provides detailed vehicle specifications and helps to search for vehicle history data.
Where is the VIN Located?
A VIN is usually located somewhere on the body of the vehicle, and you can easily find it if you know where to look.
List of places where you can find the VIN in a car:
- Front of the engine block
- Driver’s side dashboard (viewable through the windshield)
- Rear-wheel well (directly above the tire)
- On the driver-side doorpost
- Inside the driver-side door jam.
- Underneath the spare tire
List of places where you can find the VIN on a motorcycle:
- On the steering neck
- On the motor near the bottom of the cylinders
You can also find the VIN on any documentation you have for the vehicle such as:
- Vehicle title
- Registration card
- The Owner's manual
- Insurance card/Insurance policy
- Body shop records
How to Decode a VIN?
Though it is easy to locate a VIN, decoding the information contained in every VIN might be a challenge. The 17 digits of the VIN are divided into segments and each represents some relevant information about the vehicle including the year, make and model, country, and factory of manufacture, serial number, etc.
However, you’ll need to use the character description from the image below: