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See the basic information about your vehicle and how many records we have. Enter your VIN to get started!
2) Here is a really cool VIN number decoder tool to quickly find most all the information referenced above and below about a specific vehicle...
Free VIN Number Decoder tool
Is A VIN
VIN is an abbreviation for Vehicle Identification Number. It is a 17 digit alphanumeric serial number that is assigned to a vehicle in order to identify it.
The standard VIN in use today, was originally issued back in 1979 and 1980 by the International Organization for Standardization.
I won't spend a lot of time on the history of the VIN (it's not that interesting, in fact it's boring), but just know that if you are looking for information on a 1981 or newer model vehicle, then the VIN number decoder information above and below will be relevant.
VIN Can Be Found
In order to decode a VIN, or to use the automatic VIN number decoder, you'll have to know where to find it. Here are the most common and easiest places to find the VIN:
- The drivers side door (sticker on the side of door)
- The drivers side dashboard (towards the front of the vehicle, easiest seen from outside looking through the windshield)
- On your insurance card
- On any contracts you may have for the vehicle (Bill of sale, etc.)
First off, I'd like to say that in order to use the VIN number decoder correctly, it's important to note that there are no letters I, O or Q used in a VIN.
- If it looks like an I, it's the number 1.
- If it looks like an O, it's the number
- And if it looks like a Q, then take another look.
I'm going to use a truck off of my lot as a real life example for decoding a VIN number.
Sample VIN: 1GCHK29102E229241
Now let's break that down into 6 different groups:
1GC HK291 0 2 E 229241
Manufacturers Index (WMI)
The first group will consist of the first three digits, in this case - 1GC.
1) The first digit represents the country of origin. The most common are:
- 1 or 4 = USA
- 2 = Canada
- 3 = Mexico
- J = Japan
- K = Korea
- E = England
- W = Germany
- Z = Italy
So the truck in the example was built in the USA.
2) The second digit (G in this case) represents the manufacturer code.
These are as follows:
- A = Audi
- B = BMW
- 4 = Buick
- 6 = Cadillac
- 1 = Chevrolet
- C = Chrysler
- B/D = Dodge
- F = Ford
- 7 = GM Canada
- G = General Motors
- H = Honda
- A = Jaguar (yes the same as audi)
- L = Lincoln
- D = Mercedes Benz
- M = Mercury
- N = Nissan
- 3 = Oldsmobile
- 2/5 = Pontiac
- P = Plymouth
- 8 = Saturn
- T = Toyota
- V = Volkswagen
- V = Volvo
So in the VIN number decoder exercise above we've discovered that the vehicle is a USA manufactured GMC.
3) The third digit (C in this case) will show the division within the manufacturer or the vehicle type.
Using GMC as an example:
- 1 = Chevy car
- C = Chevy truck
- N = Chevy SUV
Ford for example would be:
- A = Ford car
- D = Ford F350
- M = Ford SUV
- T = Ford F150 & F250
For brevity's sake I'll keep the third VIN digit definition to these two manufacturers.
So far we now know, thanks to the VIN number decoder, that we are looking at a USA made, GMC, Chevrolet truck.
The VIN descriptors are the second group of numbers and these are the fourth to the eighth VIN digits.
Using the VIN number above we'd be working with:
H K 2 9 1
- The fourth VIN digit (H) will describe the weight and/or horsepower.
- The fifth VIN digit (K) will describe the vehicle's platform, i.e. pickup truck, van, sedan, trailer, etc. This fifth digit can also describe whether the vehicle is a 4x4 or 2wd. For Chevy 2wd equals a C and 4x4 equals a K.
- The sixth VIN digit (2) will describe more specifically the model type, i.e. Expedition, Trailblazer, Durango, etc.
- The seventh VIN digit (9) will describe the body type, i.e. 2 door, 4 door, hatchback, convertible, etc.
- The eighth VIN digit (1) will describe engine information a little more in depth, like number of cylinders, number of liters, diesel or gas, etc.
These VIN digits can also describe whether the vehicle is a manual, automatic and even trim level (F150 XL, XLT, FX4, Lariat, etc.).
So far the VIN number decoder has told us that we are looking at a USA made, GMC, Chevrolet truck, 2500, 4x4, LS with a diesel engine.
Trust me, it starts to get easier to follow along from this point on.
The next three VIN digits are consistent among all manufacturers and pretty straightforward.
The ninth VIN digit exists to tell computers when there has a been an operator error, type of input, when entering a VIN. Errors happen often with alphanumeric VIN's and this number has saved my rear end a few times.
It's sort of a complicated mathematical computation to figure the check digit and I'm no Einstein, so please just know it keeps mistakes in check.
That's it for the check digit...Told you this would get easier.
VIN digit number ten is by far the most referenced, in the car business, for quick age verification of a vehicle.
This one is pretty easy, but just in case you like to read I've included a handy dandy little reference chart.
In our example VIN the tenth digit is a 2, meaning that the truck we are working with is a model year 2002.
To recap what we've found so far with the VIN number decoder:
USA made, GMC, Chevrolet truck, 2500, 4x4, LS with a diesel engine and is a 2002.
|A ----||1980||L ----||1990||Y ----||2000||A ----||2010|
|B ----||1981||M ----||1991||1 ----||2001||B ----||2011|
|C ----||1982||N ----||1992||2 ----||2002||C ----||2012|
|D ----||1983||P ----||1993||3 ----||2003||D ----||2013|
|E ----||1984||R ----||1994||4 ----||2004||E ----||2014|
|F ----||1985||S ----||1995||5 ----||2005||F ----||2015|
|G ----||1986||T ----||1996||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|
VIN digit number eleven is just as easy and probably won't be of too much concern to most people.
This digit simply shows what plant the vehicle was assembled at.
So in our VIN number decoding example the vehicle was assembled in Pontiac Michigan, based on "E" being the eleventh digit.
The last six VIN digits are the sequence production numbers.
You'll see this abbreviated in the VIN number decoder as SP No.
These numbers give the vehicle its identity. Simply put there may be many vehicles produced in a single year, by a single manufacturer, that share the same eleven digits of a VIN, but none will share those first eleven and the last six.
Well, that's it for the VIN number decoder. If you've made it all the way through this page, then give yourself a pat on the back, because not only do you know what those 17 little VIN digits mean, but you can now declare yourself a VIN decoding expert.
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