What is the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and where to find it?

In this article we will explain what is the VINWhat is it for Vehicle identification numberwhere to find it and why it is so important.

This 17 character serial number is printed on your car, and while it may seem confusing with so many numbers and letters, it contains a lot of information about your car's past and present. All manufacturers assign vehicles a VIN which reveals various detailsincluding the model year, country of origin, serial number and also the place of assembly.

📰 Contents
  1. What is the VIN?
  2. How to read the VIN?
    1. Model year codes
    2. World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI): character codes of the country of origin
  3. Why is the VIN important?
    1. If you want to buy a used car
    2. If you want to know if a car has a pickup
    3. If your car is stolen
  4. Where can I find the VIN of a car?
    1. By car
    2. in some documents
  5. What is the VIN: final tips

What is the VIN?

VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number, in Spanish it translates to Vehicle Identification Number or Vehicle Identification Number. So that you can understand well what is the VIN, think of this number as a car fingerprintall vehicle identification numbers are different, so each VIN is unique.

US cars that have a 1981 or later model year must have a VIN in the same standardized format. Vehicles made before 1981 had VINs, but their length and size varied by car manufacturer.

The VIN number This is very important information when you intend to buy a used vehicle and want to know more about its history. The VIN is also very useful for knowing if your car has had any recalls.

How to read the VIN?

if you want to understand what does the vin of a car meanthe VIN decoder of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can be very useful. Simply enter the VIN and model year of the car and the VIN decoding tool will interpret the VIN number you entered. Or you can also decode and check the VIN of your car for free by interpreting the characters following the tables below:

Model year codes

Code Year Code Year Code Year Code Year
TO 1980 L 119 AND 2000 TO 2010
B. 1981 m 1991 1 2001 B. 2011
C. 1982 n 1992 Two 2002 C. 2012
D. 1983 P. 1993 3 2003 D. 2013
AND 1984 R. 1994 4 2004 AND 2014
F. 1985 Yes 1995 5 2005 F. 2015
G. 1986 T. nineteen ninety six 6 2006 G. 2016
h 1987 v 1997 7 2007 h 2017
J 1988 w 1998 8 2008 J 2018
K 1989 X 1999 9 2009 K 2019

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World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI): character codes of the country of origin

The first three characters of each VIN number uniquely identify the vehicle manufacturer. This is called the World Wide Manufacturer Identifier or WMI code.

WMI region degrees
Oh Africa AA-AH = South Africa
JR Asia > J = Japan

KL-KR = South Korea

L = Chinese

MA-ME = India

MF-MK = Indonesian

ML-MR = Thailand

SM = Burma

PA-PE = Philippines

PL-PR = Malaysia

RF-RG = Taiwan

SZ Europe SA-SM = United Kingdom

SN-ST, W = Germany

SU-SZ = Poland

TA-TH = Switzerland

TJ-TP = Czech Republic

TR-TV = Hungary

TW = Portugal

VA-VE = Austria

VF-VR = France

VS-VW = Spain

VX-V2 = Yugoslavia

XL-XM = Netherlands


X3-X0 = Russia

YA-YE = Belgium

YF-YK = Finland

YS-YW = Sweden

ZA-ZR = Italy

1-5 North America 1, 4, 5 = United States

2 = Canada

3 = Mexico

6-7 Oceania 6A-6W = Australia

7A-7E = New Zealand

8-0 South America 8A-8E = Argentina

8F-8J = Chile

8X-82 = Venezuela

9A-9E, 93-99 = Brazil

9F-9J = Colombia

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Why is the VIN important?

The VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) is very important in various scenarios. For example:

If you want to buy a used car

Getting details about the history of a used car you want to buy can give you more peace of mind when buying.

Car dealerships and car buying websites can provide vehicle history reports, but if you are buying from an individual, you will likely need to get the report yourself. To apply, you will usually need the car's VIN. You can easily access vehicle history reports on various websites, for example Carfax And Automatic controlusing the VIN.

You can also use the vin control tool by the National Insurance Crime Bureau to find out if a car has been reported stolen or has a salvage title.

If you want to know if a car has a pickup

Are you curious if your automaker has issued safety recalls or if a car you are thinking of buying has major recalls? Enter the VIN in the file removal tool from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration market to keep you up to date on car specific recalls over the past 15 calendar years.

If your car is stolen

You should always have your VIN number handy, especially if your car or parts of it are stolen. Law enforcement agencies can enter the VIN into local and national databases and to help identify and recover a stolen vehicle or parts of it.

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Where can I find the VIN of a car?

The VIN can appear in one or more places on a car, as well as on some documents.

By car

The most common location is at the intersection of the windshield and the dashboard on the driver's side of the vehicle. To see it easily, stay out of the car. The driver's side door jamb, near where the door latch is, is another place to look.

According to the federal standard for the prevention of motor vehicle theft, vehicles from 1987 onwards that are designated as "high theft" they also include the VIN on some important parts like the engine, transmission, doors and fenders. This can help the police track down and recover stolen car parts.

IMPORTANT: Pay attention to the VIN of a vehicle you are considering purchasing. If the VIN appears in multiple places, but the combination of numbers and letters is not the same in every place, the car may have been rebuilt with stolen parts.

in some documents

Even if you are not near the car, you can also find the VIN on the car title, car registration card, car insurance policy or service records.

What is the VIN: final tips

The VIN number of a car it can reveal a lot of essential information. If you plan to buy a used car, use the VIN to gather information about the car's past.

Don't stop at a vehicle history report. Be sure to take a test drive and also ask an independent mechanic to inspect the vehicle and advise you on the reliability of the car before purchasing.

If you want to discover other articles similar to What is the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and where to find it?, you can visit the Last News category.

Nathan Hamilton

Nathan Hamilton

Nathan is a car enthusiast and industry professional with decades of combined experience in the automotive sector. Along with his team of writers and researchers, all passionate about automobiles, he is committed to delivering reliable and relevant content that ranges from detailed insurance guides to maintenance tips and much more.

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