How To Decode Your VIN In Few Easy Steps

How To Decode Your VIN In Few Easy Steps

by Alan Jackson — 11 months ago in Review 3 min. read

Have you ever wondered what all those numbers and letters on your car’s VIN mean? Well, you’re not alone. Most people don’t know much about their car’s history or specifications because these details are hidden inside the barcode on your car’s VIN. But with a VIN decoder, you can learn about how your vehicle was manufactured and can even find out if it’s been stolen.

Your Vehicle’s DNA

Until the 1920s, when cars became more mass-produced and standardized, each car’s identifying number was called a chassis number or frame number. A tin plaque stamped with the vehicle’s specific number was displayed under the hood, usually on the top right of the firewall.

VIN numbers first appeared in the United States in 1954. The U.S. government asked car manufacturers to come up with a standardized numbering system to identify vehicles, replacing the engine number previously used to register and title cars and trucks. However, this became a problem if the motor was replaced; before then, this was fairly common.

From 1954 to 1981, there was no accepted universal standard for vehicle identification numbers (VINs). Different auto and motorcycle manufacturers used different formats. In 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standardized the format by requiring that all on-road vehicles contain a 17-character VIN that did not include letters O, I, and Q.

Vehicle identification numbers (VINs) are based on standards set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1979. The United States and the European Union have adopted compatible ISO standards.

Also read: Seamless AI Review: Features, Pricing, & Getting Started (2024 Guide)

Where to Find Your Car’s VIN

There are several places on your car where you can find your vehicle identification number (VIN). Most vehicles have their VIN located in one of the following places:

  1. Near the lower left corner of the windshield is a plaque with this information
  2. The frame or door itself should have a sticker or plaque for the driver
  3. Near the front of the engine, under the hood

Additionally, the VIN may be etched into the windows, on the wheel arch, or on the steering column of some cars.

VIN Decoder: World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI Code)

The first three characters of a vehicle identification number (VIN) identify the manufacturer of the vehicle. The first character denotes the region in which the manufacturer is located, and the second position, in combination with the first, tells you in which country that vehicle was made.

The third position of a vehicle’s identification number designates the type of vehicle a car, truck, bus, and so forth. Each manufacturer uses a different code in this position, so for example to find out what that particular digit means you need to ask each manufacturer individually. For manufacturers producing fewer than 500 cars per year, the digit in the third position is always 9.

VIN Decoder: Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS)

The VIN has four positions, numbered 4 to 9. The first three positions are used to identify the vehicle more specifically. For example, a car might have position numbers 1 and 2 for model and manufacturer respectively. The next digit is a check digit to ensure the accuracy of data within the VIN. Some manufacturers choose to include this check digit in their VINs even though it isn’t mandatory outside North America.

Vin Decoder: Vehicle Identifier Section (vis)

In the 10th position of a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), you will find a number that represents the model year of the vehicle. Notice that between 1980 and 2039, each year letters or numbers are repeated. To tell the difference between a VIN for 1980 and 2010, look at the 7th digit (which contains a number if it is in the 10th position). If there is no letter or number in this position, then it is from 2010 onward; otherwise, it is from before 2010.

The final seven positions, 11 through 17, provide additional detail about the vehicle. For example, they tell you whether the vehicle is assembled in a particular plant, has options or trim levels, and is equipped with a transmission(s) and production sequence number. The meanings of these individual digits vary by manufacturer. To get all of the detailed information regarding a specific VIN, there are various VIN decoders like EpicVIN available online. Some of these services charge a fee but provide more detailed information than those that do not charge a fee.

Free VIN Check

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique set of numbers found on most cars, trucks, and motorcycles that identifies the car’s make, model, year, and other information. You will need your vehicle’s VIN number when applying for auto insurance or getting a vehicle history report. There are many websites like EpicVIN that offer free VIN number checks online. If you are looking to buy a used car or truck, you can conduct a vehicle history report to find out about the vehicle’s previous owners, check for any accidents or repairs to the car, and even find out if it was ever stolen. You can also find out if the manufacturer ever issued recalls on this particular model of the vehicle and find out if those repairs were made to it.

To sell your car, you will need to provide the vehicle identification number (VIN). EpicVIN can help with that as well as run a vehicle history report on a car you are considering for purchase.

Alan Jackson

Alan is content editor manager of The Next Tech. He loves to share his technology knowledge with write blog and article. Besides this, He is fond of reading books, writing short stories, EDM music and football lover.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Copyright © 2018 – The Next Tech. All Rights Reserved.