VIN Lookup: How to Decode Your VIN

What 17 numbers & letters can tell you about your car.

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  • 4/28/2011 (updated 2/10/2022 )

A vehicle identification number ( VIN ) is the 17-digit "name," made up of numbers and characters, that an automobile manufacturer assigns to an individual vehicle. Vehicle identification numbers can reveal many things about automobiles, including their airbag type, country of origin, engine size, model year, vehicle type, trim level and plant name. The VIN (sometimes known, redundantly, as the "VIN number") can also be used to check on safety recalls or obtain a vehicle history report. We will show you how later, but first we'll cover the background and basic facts of a vehicle's VIN.

The first VIN dates back to 1954, and for decades, VINs came in a wide variety of configurations, depending on the individual automaker. Vehicles from the '50s and up to 1980 cannot be decoded by modern methods. Instead, you'll need to get in touch with your Department of Motor Vehicles or contact the automaker directly.

In 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandated that all vehicles from that point forward must have a standardized 17-digit vehicle identification number.

Typically, the vehicle identification number is stamped into a plate that's mounted on the dashboard near the windshield or the driver-side doorjamb. It's also stamped on the engine's firewall.

Modern 17-digit VINs can be used to access vehicle history reports , which can reveal many records relating to a vehicle, including ownership, accident and repair histories.

Also, car owners and used-car shoppers can enter a VIN in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's VIN lookup tool to see if there are open recalls on a vehicle.

Recommended VIN decoders

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website offers two free VIN check tools that allow you to either decode your VIN or check for a recall . We've tested both tools and found them to be fast and accurate. They also won't bombard you with pop-up ads or try to sell you something. If you're looking to sell your car , you can run a VIN check on Edmunds to get an instant cash offer, good for seven days at participating dealerships.

What do the letters and numbers mean in a VIN?

VIN information is organized in groups, and a search of your vehicle identification number can tell you a lot about your car. There's even a bit of fraud detection in the VIN in the form of the "check digit," described below.

The first group of three numbers and letters in a VIN make up the world manufacturer identifier (WMI).

In this group, the first digit or letter identifies the country of origin. For example, cars made in the U.S. start with 1, 4 or 5. Canada is 2, and Mexico is 3. Japan is J, South Korea is K, England is S, Germany is W, and Sweden or Finland is Y.

The second element in this group tells you about the manufacturer. In some cases, it's the letter that begins the manufacturer's name. For example, A is for Audi, B is for BMW, G is for General Motors, L is for Lincoln, and N is for Nissan. But an A can also stand for Jaguar or Mitsubishi, and an R can also mean Audi. It may sound confusing, but the next digit ties it all together.

The third digit, when combined with the first two letters or numbers, indicates the vehicle's type or manufacturing division. This Wikipedia page has a list of WMI codes.

The next six digits to check (positions 4-9) are the vehicle descriptor section.

Numbers 4 through 8 describe the car with such information as the model, body type, restraint system, transmission type and engine code.

Number 9 is the check digit, which is used to detect invalid VINs. The number that appears varies and is based on a mathematical formula that the U.S. Department of Transportation developed.

The following group of eight elements (10-17) is the vehicle identifier section.

In the 10th position, you'll see a letter indicating the model year. The letters from B to Y correspond to the model years 1981 to 2000. The VIN does not use I, O, Q, U or Z. From 2001 to 2009, the numbers 1 through 9 were used in place of letters. The alphabet started over from A in 2010 and will continue until 2030.

Yes, it's a bit confusing. Here are the model years since 2000: Y=2000, 1='01, 2='02, 3='03, 4='04, 5='05, 6='06, 7='07, 8='08, 9='09, A='10, B='11, C='12, D='13, E='14, F='15, G='16, H='17, J='18, K='19, L='20, M='21, N='22, P='23, R='24, S='25.

The letter or number in position 11 indicates the manufacturing plant where the vehicle was assembled. Each automaker has its own set of plant codes.

Production numbers (positions 12-17)

The final six digits are the production sequence numbers, which each car receives on the assembly line.

Other VIN decoder uses

A simple VIN decoder will help you learn an automotive pedigree and some key specifications, but those digits are also useful for less entertaining but more important reasons involving its title, registration and insurance. Make sure to check the VIN when purchasing replacement parts for your vehicle. Vehicle parts are often specific to certain VINs and may not fit your car if you only go by its year, make and model.

VIN decode FAQs

NOTE: Although "VIN" technically includes the word "number," people frequently use the phrase "VIN number" in their searches, which is why we're following that convention here.

Can I run a VIN number for free?

How can i check a car's history for free, can i look up my vehicle specs by vin number, how do i look up a vin number.

It depends on what information you're looking for. If you're interested to learn about where your vehicle was made, its specs and entertaining trivia, try a site such as . If you're shopping for a used car and want to know more about its history before buying, we recommend running a Carfax or AutoCheck report. The reports can reveal if the motor vehicle you're considering has been reported stolen or if it has a salvage title .

We entered the VIN of a few vehicles that were once in the Edmunds long-term test fleet, and the search came up with some interesting information.

The first car VIN was the 2013 Scion FR-S . There was one item that stood out: The VIN decoder shows the manufacturer is Subaru, not Scion (now reabsorbed back into Toyota), but that's not an error. The Scion FR-S (now called the Toyota 86) and its twin, the Subaru BRZ , were the products of a joint venture between Subaru and Toyota. Both are manufactured at Subaru's plant in Japan.

The 2012 Fiat 500 is a reminder of just how globalized automakers have become. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, now known as Stellantis, is a multinational carmaker that manufactured the 500 at Chrysler's plant in Toluca, Mexico.

Notice that the 10th character in the VIN is "C." The letter represents the 2012 model year, but it could also mean 1982. Because the year is represented by one character (letter or number) and the VIN can only contain 17 characters, the code for a car's year has to be recycled every 30 years. So while one letter can represent more than one year, it should be pretty obvious whether you've got a 1982 or a 2012 — or 2042, for that matter.

Finally, here's a bit of vehicle history on a 2011 Ford Mustang GT. Notice that the manufacturer isn't listed as "Ford Motor Co." The AutoAlliance International Inc. was a joint venture between Ford and Mazda that produced the Mustang and the Mazda 6 for a while at a plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. Newer Mustangs list Ford as the automaker.

What is a VIN?

Can i decode a vin on edmunds, can i price a car on edmunds using a vin.

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Ronald Montoya

Ronald Montoya has worked in the automotive industry since 2008. He has written over a thousand car related articles and bought and sold over 100 vehicles over the course of his career. Ronald is a senior consumer advice editor and content strategy at Edmunds and has also contributed to the Associated Press. He has also been featured on ABC, NBC and NPR on a number of car shopping topics. He got his start in the auto industry by taking a part-time job at a car dealership, where he worked in the service and accounting department.

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VIN Decoder

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is an operating administration of the United States Department of Transportation and is the federal agency responsible for improving motor vehicle safety on United States roadways. As part of our mission, NHTSA develops certain standards for motor vehicle safety and reporting. Under NHTSA’s regulations, each motor vehicle must contain a vehicle identification number, also known as a VIN, which is a 17-character number that encodes specific information about the particular vehicle.

On, you can query a particular vehicle’s VIN to identify specific information encoded in the number. NHTSA’s VIN decoder is publicly accessible at: .

Using NHTSA's VIN Decoder to Identify a Vehicle’s Plant of Manufacture

Among the information NHTSA's VIN decoder provides is information about the vehicle’s plant of manufacture. After searching a VIN, you'll see the build plant and country for the vehicle in question. This is a two-step process:

Step 1: Go to and enter the full VIN into NHTSA’s VIN decoder, then click Decode VIN .

Screenshot of a text box to enter VIN, model year. Button reads Decode VIN.

Step 2: Refer to the field at the bottom of the page result, which expressly lists the build plant and country for the searched vehicle. 

Screenshot of vehicle detail results page, arrow pointing to text at the button listing plant information.

Note:  The information displayed through the VIN decoder is reported by the manufacturer. If you have further questions regarding this information, please contact the vehicle manufacturer. In addition, more information may be available on a label affixed to the vehicle. See 49 C.F.R. Part 583.

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What is a VIN Number?

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique code assigned to every motor vehicle when it's manufactured. This 17-character string of letters and numbers, excluding the letters Q (q), I (i), and O (o) to avoid confusion with the numbers 0 and 1, provides specific details about the vehicle's manufacturer, model, year, and place of production, without intervening spaces. Each section of the VIN offers distinct information about the vehicle, including the make, model, year, and the serial number. This alphanumeric code, typically found printed in a single line on the vehicle's chassis or documents, is essential for registration, insurance, and tracking the vehicle's history.

How to Find the VIN Number

Finding your vehicle's VIN is straightforward. Here's where to look:

  • Passenger Cars: Check the front of the dashboard on the driver's side. View it from outside the vehicle through the windshield. Also, inspect the driver's side door pillar—open the door to find the VIN where the door latches.
  • Motorcycles: Typically found on the steering neck below the handlebars, but it could also be on the motor or on the frame near the motor.
  • Semitrailers: Look on the front part of the semitrailer on the left side.

If you're unable to locate the VIN on the vehicle, it can also be found on:

  • Your vehicle's title documents.
  • Liability insurance documents.

Woman taking a DMV knowledge test, man driving a car

How to Do a VIN Number Check

Enter your vehicle's 17-character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in the field above to look up and receive an instant report on its manufacturer, brand, make and model, body style, engine size, assembly plant, and model year. The information is provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from the data submitted by the manufacturers to NHTSA. The VIN Decoder lookup is intended for use with vehicles manufactured since 1981. If your vehicle was made before 1981, the VIN will most likely contain 11 characters.

How to Decode the Vehicle Identification Number

Wondering what all the characters in your vehicle's VIN stand for?

How to decode a Vehicle Identification (VIN) number

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How VINs Work

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Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) are unique identification sequences on every car manufactured in the United States and many other countries. These numbers are sort of like a fingerprint for a car. They help to keep track of problems, ownership changes, and deter theft. In this article, we'll find out where to find your car's VIN, what the numbers mean and how you can use VINs to help prevent theft or learn about the history of a used car.

A VIN is a 17-character sequence containing both numbers and letters. It is affixed to every car, truck or trailer made in the United States after 1981. No two cars built within 30 years of each other can have the same VIN. The Motor Vehicle Records database tracks information on a VIN, such as when the car was inspected, when it changed ownership and if it was involved in a serious crash, rollover or flood.

In 1987, the Department of Transportation's Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard required manufacturers to also put the VIN on the major parts (like engines, hoods and fenders) of certain vehicles if the car is considered "high theft" [ref].

On most cars, you can find the VIN on the dashboard on the driver's side, and it's visible through the windshield from outside the car. It is usually on a sticker or plate on the inside of the driver's side door or on the frame sill where the door closes. The VIN is sometimes printed inside the glove compartment, and it's usually on the car's title and/or on insurance documents.

The United States Department of Transportation created a consistent, unified VIN system in 1981. Specifically, it included the VIN system in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Chapter V, Part 565 [ ref ]. Prior to 1981, auto manufacturers used their own numbering system to stamp cars with unique IDs. The VIN system conforms to a standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization in 1977: ISO 3779 . Manufacturers use all letters and numbers, with the exception of the letters I, O and Q.

Each character in a VIN has a specific meaning, and the VIN is broken up into sections. The first section identifies the manufacturer of the vehicle, and uses the first three digits:

  • The first digit identifies the nation of origin. If the car was assembled from parts produced in different countries, this digit reflects the nation where the car was assembled. Some larger nations are split into regions. For example, cars built in Japan are assigned a J in the first digit. But cars made in the U.S. can have a 1, 4 or 5, depending on the region of its assembly.
  • The second digit identifies the manufacturer of the vehicle. In the United States, the Society for Automotive Engineers issues manufacturer codes.
  • The third digit identifies a division within the manufacturer or a general vehicle type. For example, the code for an American-made Ford is 1F, and depending on the type of vehicle, it may be a 1FA, 1FB and so on. A U.S. General Motors vehicle is a 1G. Chevrolet is a division of GM, so the first three digits for a Chevrolet are 1GC.

The next five digits, four through eight, describe the vehicle. The specific use of these digits differs from one manufacturer to another. Here is an example that includes common code elements:

  • The fourth digit might contain a code that represents the vehicle's weight, horsepower or both.
  • The fifth digit often identifies the platform of the vehicle, such as van, pickup truck, trailer, sedan, et cetera.
  • The sixth digit can be a special code used by the manufacturer, or it might identify the specific model of the vehicle, such as Corvette, Durango or Mustang.
  • The seventh digit can be used to identify body type, such as four-door, two-door, hatchback or convertible.
  • The eighth digit is used for information about the engine, such as number of cylinders and engine displacement.

Digits four through eight might also be coded for information on the transmission used, the grade of the car (i.e., Accord LX, DX, Si), or other features such as safety belts and air bags.

The next three digits are consistent among all manufacturers:

  • The ninth digit is always a check digit . The other digits in the VIN go through a series of calculations to obtain the correct check digit. This allows computers to tell immediately if there is an error in the VIN, which often happens when someone transcribes a VIN or enters it into a computer.
  • The model year digit is the tenth digit. Each year has a code character. From the 1980s until 2000, each year had a letter code, with 2000 assigned Y. 2001 was given code 1, 2002 is code 2, and so forth.
  • The eleventh digit is the plant code, representing the factory where the car was assembled.

The last six digits, 12 through 17, are production sequence numbers, although small manufacturers that make fewer than 500 cars per year use the 12th, 13th and 14th digits as additional manufacturer identification codes. Production sequence numbers identify the vehicle itself, sort of like a serial number.

Since each manufacturer has a different code, and each car produced by the same factory has its own production sequence number, every car produced in a given year has a unique VIN.

The European Union has a similar regulation for VINs, but it is less stringent than the North American rule. European VINs are not required to include year, factory or vehicle attribute data. However, the two systems are compatible. While most countries have some form of VIN system that is compatible with the North American system, cars that are imported must have their VIN number entered into the MVR database along with enough information to explain what the codes are if the original VIN system differs from the ISO 3779 standard.

The check digit for a VIN is obtained through a number of mathematical steps. Each letter used in a VIN has a corresponding number value, while numbers stay the same. Therefore, the VIN becomes a string of 17 numbers (with a space in the ninth position, where the check digit goes). Each position in the VIN has a weight -- the number of times that digit is multiplied.

For example, the weight of position one is eight. A computer multiplies the number in position one is by 8. Then it multiplies all 16 numbers by the appropriate weight for their position in the VIN, adds the results together and divides that result by 11. The remainder becomes the check digit. If the remainder is 10, the check digit is X.

What Can You Do With a VIN?

assigned vin number

A VIN isn't just a way to mark and identify cars. You can use the VIN in a number of ways. Most people use a VIN when they are thinking of purchasing a used car. For a fee, commercial services allow you to enter a VIN and see the records on that car in the MVR database. These records will show you how many owners the car has had, when it was last inspected, if it was ever classified as a "lemon," if it is a stolen car, or if it has ever gone through a major incident such as rolling over or being submerged in water. A good mechanic can spot many of these problems as well. A VIN check can also reveal if the car's odometer has ever been rolled back, or if it has flipped (reached the maximum miles on the gauge and rolled back over to zero).

VINs help deter car thieves, because they make it more difficult to resell the car. If someone checks the VIN, it will show that it the car was stolen, unless the thieves have altered it in some way. But it isn't especially difficult for car thieves to alter VINs. They frequently switch VINs, replacing the VIN in a stolen car with another car that they bought legally. Police use the VIN as a positive ID when looking for stolen cars, but thieves often cover up the dashboard VIN. An officer can't enter the car to see the door sill VIN plate without a search warrant.

VIN etching creates another level of protection. A weak acid application etches the VIN into the windshield and other windows of the car. This helps deter theft for several reasons. Thieves can't get rid of the etched VIN without replacing the windshield, which is so expensive that it can make stealing and reselling that car unprofitable. It's also much more difficult to cover up all the VIN etchings, so if a car is stolen, police can just read the etched VIN off of the window. Several companies sell kits that include a template with your vehicle's VIN and acid for about $20. Auto dealers and collision shops offer etching service as well, but it tends to cost more.

For lots more information on VINs and related subjects, check out the links on the next page.

Car thieves have come up with many ways to get around VINs when it comes to stealing and dealing cars. One method is to strip a car of all parts and abandon it. Once the insurance company writes the car off as totaled, it sells the car at auction. The thief then buys the car back at a very low price, quickly rebuilds it with the original parts, and then registers the car legally, VIN included.

Some thieves steal VIN plates from legal cars. The owner doesn't usually notice -- who checks their VIN on a regular basis? They then attach the stolen VIN plate to a stolen car. An alternative method is to buy a wrecked car from a salvage yard and use that car's VIN plate. In many of these cases, the VIN probably won't match the exact type of car and year of production if anyone checks, but thieves can usually find one that's close enough. Since most buyers don't check the VIN, the thief can make the sale and disappear long before anyone notices anything suspicious about the car.

Lots More Information

Related howstuffworks articles.

  • How to Buy a Car
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More Great Links

  • United States Department of Transportation
  • List of State Departments of Motor Vehicles
  • Code of Federal Regulations: Vehicle Identification Number Requirements
  • International Organization for Standardization
  • Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Chapter V, Part 565.

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VIN Decoding 101: Everything You Wanted to Know About VINs

By Jake Maki

This post has been republished with updates since its original publish date of November 2011

As you might expect we get a lot of questions about VINs.  There is a lot of confusion about what a VIN is, how is it used, what information is captured within it and what is not.  In this series we hope to provide a good resource that you can use to educate yourself on Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) and VIN Decoding.  The articles will progressively build from very basic and general information about VINs to more detailed and specific aspects of using them and vehicle data in business and technical settings.  We hope you find them useful.

Blog Article Series Index:

What is a vin.

The VIN acronym stands for Vehicles Identification Number. It refers to a unique number assigned to a vehicle that contains information to describe and identify the vehicle. While most people associate VINs with cars, they are used in the US and internationally for all variety of vehicles and equipment. It may not surprise you that motorcycles, heavy trucks, and buses all are a978ssigned VINs, but even snowmobiles, tractors, back-hoes, and 20trailers have a VIN assigned to them during the manufacturing process.

This article will cover the history of VINs and how they've evolved into their current format.

What is Captured in the Vehicle Identification Number?

There are a few different VIN standards internationally, including ISO and NHTSA, that have similar requirements such as the VIN's length (17 characters). However, The VIN standard created by the NHTSA for all vehicles manufactured for use in North America starting in the model year (MY) 1981 was much more stringent in its requirements.

This article will focus on the components of a VIN created to meet the NHTSA standard for the passenger and light duty vehicle segment.

The Market Effect

Though not required, almost all markets (a country or group of countries) follow the ISO standard’s recommendations regarding use of the 17-digit VIN. However, most markets have a regulatory body, similar to the NHTSA, that establishes requirements for that country. While there are common elements that are used exte\nsively, as well as a good amount of overlap on what different markets require, each regulatory body has at least some aspects of their requirements that make them unique to that market.

This article will help identify some of the differences in VIN standards across various markets internationally and how this will impact your decision on choosing a vehicle data provider.

25 Common VIN Data Terms Defined

Like almost every area of expertise, VIN Decoding has unique terminology associated with it. If you haven't worked with a VIN decoder or VIN data in the past, many of these term's meaning may not be intuitive.

In this article are the definitions of 25 common terms that you will likely come across as you work with automotive and VIN data.

10 Vehicle Details you Should Expect from a VIN Decoder

It is not uncommon for some of the people that express interest in our VIN data to have little experience with automotive data in the past. They may be new to the company, position or they may be looking to apply an existing business model in a new way that requires a VIN decoder or vehicle data. Many times these people are not quite sure what to expect to get in return from decoding 17-digit VINs.

In this article is a list of 10 things that you can expect to be returned when decoding US Passenger and Light-Duty VINs.

Exceptions to the VIN Decoding Rules

As made evident in our previous articles on VIN decoding, there's certain information that is required to be encoded in a VIN pattern, even more so in the US and Canadian markets. However, if you acquire and review a VIN file, like our VIN Basic file, you will come across exceptions to even these basic rules.

This article addresses a couple of VIN rule exceptions that our customers have questioned in the past.

10 Vehicle Details the VIN Pattern Will Not Give You

We often have potential customers approach us hoping to determine a specific detail or attribute of the vehicle using only the VIN. Decoding a VIN can return a large amount of useful information. Yet there are still many vehicle details that can't be determined from a basic decode of the VIN Pattern alone.

In this article are a list of commonly-inquired-about vehicle details that the VIN Pattern is not going to capture, or at least won't capture consistently.

VIN Decoding "Off-Road" Vehicles

The NHTSA standard for VIN assignment is applied to all motorized vehicles, motorcycles, and trailers that travel on the roads, streets and highways of the US. However, the NHTSA has no jurisdiction over recreational vehicles not intended to ever be driven on a street or highway.

These "off-road" recreational vehicles are hugely popular and account for millions of purchases and tens of millions of vehicles in use in the US every year. As a result, there is a need to decode and identify these vehicles for initial sales and marketing efforts, resale, registration, insurance, and taxation.

Can these vehicles be decoded using the same principles and VIN decoders used for light-duty and passenger vehicles?

VIN Decoding Outside the Light-Duty/Passenger Vehicle Segment

While the light-duty and passenger segments encompass a large portion of the vehicles that one might be looking to VIN decode, it certainly doesn't cover them all. These additional segments, such as mid-duty, heavy-duty, and motorcycles, each represent huge markets with large direct and allied business opportunities. As a result, there is a fair amount of interest in services to VIN decode these vehicles.

Here's a brief overview of what you can expect from VIN decoding vehicles outside of the light-duty and passenger segments.

What Is The Right Trailer VIN Decoding Solution For Your Business?

In comparison to passenger vehicles with currently 40 manufacturers, trailers are made by hundreds of manufacturers in North America and each has numerous configurations. Commercial VIN decoding solutions for trailers are rare because of the effort required to obtain this data as well as the differences in how the VIN is used. However, they do exist!

As you search for the best commercial trailer VIN decoding solution, it’s important that you understand what information can be obtained from the VIN. In this article, we will cover the key information you need to know about trailer VIN decoding, including where you can find the VIN, which details can and cannot be identified by VIN, and which details are sometimes, but not consistently, encoded.

Why you Shouldn't Settle for a VIN Decoder that Just Decodes the VIN

For many applications, a basic VIN decode - one that decodes only what is encoded in the VIN - will provide all the details that your business needs. There are also many applications that will greatly benefit from a more advanced VIN decoder that can provide as much detail as possible.

This article covers ways in which a commericial VIN decoder can provide much more precise, detailed decodes than a basic decoder.

VIN Decoder, VIN Check, and Vehicle History Reports: How Do They Differ?

VIN decoders, VIN check tools, and vehicle history reports all provide very valuable data that are integral to many automotive business processes, such as inventory management, insurance claims/warranty contracts, and vehicle service/repair. However, the data provided among these tools and services are not the same.

In this article, we've clarified some of the major areas of confusion between the three services by detailing their core functionalities.

Free VIN Decoder Service vs. Paid VIN Decoding Solution: Which Is Best For My Business?

Aside from the obvious difference, one is free and one costs money, there is often confusion around how free VIN decoder services vs. paid VIN decoding solutions differ and why one might pay a premium. Each business has different vehicle data and VIN decoding needs, and while a free VIN decoder might do the trick for some businesses, others may have a need for a more comprehensive VIN decoding solution.

Here are a number of things you should consider when determining which VIN decoding solution is best for your business:

VIN Decoder API vs. Delivered Vehicle Database: Is One Better Than The Other?

Have you been tasked with picking the best vehicle data and VIN decoding solution for your new business venture or a new product at your current company? There are many things you need to consider when choosing a VIN data solution, such as the depth and breadth of vehicle data coverage, the accuracy of the data, pricing, and as discussed in this article, delivery options.

There are two primary ways to access and leverage VIN data: through a web service API or through delivered flat files. Which one is the right choice? Is one option better than the other? This all depends on these 4 big questions:

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Other search options, you are here, your car vin: how to decode it haynes shows you how.

Wondering how a VIN number on a car works? Every car has a VIN, which stands for Vehicle Identification Number, to make it unique. It’s that long collection of letters and numbers that makes sure your car can be identified.

It makes sure that if it is stolen, it can hopefully be found, and of course, by simply having one it makes your car legal. No VIN means you can’t put a registration on the car, so no MOT, no insurance etc. It’s an important number. 

What does a car VIN number mean?

The VIN is your car’s DNA. The literal code that unlocks everything you need to know about your car. Build date, engine, trim, build location, build number… it’s all in there in the car VIN. 

All VINs contain the same information, but in different ways specific to that brand. As such, we can’t decode them all here. What we can do though, is decode a ubiquitous VIN arrangement. Step up, Ford .

How to decode your car's VIN

First of all, we need a car VIN:


Here's how the VIN numbers are assigned:

The first three digits ( WFO ) represent the market responsible for the creation of the car – so in this case, WFO means Ford Werke A.G. (or Ford Germany)

The fourth spot on the VIN ( C ) denotes the body style of the car. So, in this case, C means two-door coupe.

XX means, well, in the case of Ford , it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a placeholder to make sure the VIN has the magic 17 digits. 

The seventh position, which is  G  in this case, signifies whether or not the car was built by Ford or by an affiliate (cars built under licence). Happily for us, G means it was built by Ford in Germany.

The eighth position goes into a bit more detail and tells us the plant the car was built at. In our case, A means either Dagenham, Cologne (Germany) or Ipiranga (Brazil). However, knowing what we know so far from the other numbers, we can safely assume this car was built in Cologne. 

The ninth position signifies what model it is. For our car, it's E, which means it’s a Capri. What a classic! 

The 10th position is a repeat of the fourth, and just confirms the body type. Again,  C  means two-door coupe.

The 11th position signifies the year, which for us is  U , so 1978.

The 12th position is the month. Ford liked to mix up the numbers so there was no obvious correlation between alphabet and month. As such,  T  means April for our Capri. 

And finally, there’s  14577 . That is simply the production sequence number. So, this was the 14577thCapri to be built. 

So there you have it, the inner workings of a VIN. As you can tell, it’s far more than just a collection of numbers and letters. It’s everything you need to know about your car.

A quick look online will soon lead you to sites on which you can input your VIN, so give it a go and see what’s what. Just cross your fingers and hope your VIN matches whatever your car says it is!

assigned vin number

What is a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?

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Similar to your own social security number (SSN), your car’s vehicle identification number, or VIN, is a unique sequence of letters and numbers that belongs specifically to your car. This 17-digit number — often called a VIN number rather than just VIN – identifies your car to your insurance company, the department of motor vehicles, the police and other entities. Understanding where to find your VIN, how to decode it and when you might need it can help make it easier when filling out paperwork or if you need to uniquely identify your car beyond the year, make, model and color.

Vehicle identification numbers explained

Each VIN is exactly 17 digits long; no more, no less. If your VIN is shorter than 17 digits, it could be incomplete, and you should look elsewhere to find the full VIN. The only potential exception is if your vehicle is older than 1981, which is the year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standardized the VIN to a 17-digit identifier.

There’s important information contained in the VIN, such as vehicle specifications and where it was made. This information is coded, with every few digits representing a different code. Each code has a set position within the larger string of digits. For example, the first character always tells you what country manufactured the car. Although each VIN is unique to a specific vehicle, the positions of the codes stay the same across all VINs. Because every VIN is different, it can be used to quickly identify a specific vehicle.

How to find a VIN

Cars have VINs written on them to make VIN lookups easy. Usually the VIN is listed on the driver’s side of the dashboard, right where it connects to the windshield. If you can’t find the VIN listed there, there are a few other places to look.

  • Driver’s side door: A common place for your VIN to be located is on the interior of the driver’s side door jamb.
  • Front-end of car frame: Another common spot for a VIN to be placed in on the front-end of your car’s frame.
  • Under the hood: Pop the hood of your vehicle and check by the latch locks. Another common spot for the VIN to be located under the hood is on the firewall, which is located between the passenger compartment and engine compartment.
  • Fenders, bumpers or trunk lid: If you drive a higher-end luxury vehicle , you might find the VIN imprinted in one of these locations.

If you’re having trouble finding the VIN on the car, it may be purposely concealed. However, your VIN will also be listed in your car insurance policy documents , as well as in your car’s title and registration.

How to decode a VIN

Every VIN is 17 digits, which can be broken down into 3 sections: World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI), vehicle descriptor and vehicle identifier. Let’s take a quick look at each section.

World manufacturer identifier (WMI) section:

The first section includes 3 digits. This section tells you the most basic information on the car, such as what country it’s from.

  • Digit 1 tells what country made the car.
  • Digit 2 indicates the car’s manufacturer.
  • Digit 3 gives information on the car type, when combined with the first two digits.

Vehicle descriptor section:

The second section includes more specific information on the car, including technical information about the car type.

  • Digits 4 to 8 provide further specifics on the car, such as the car’s model, restraint system, body and type of transmission and engine.
  • Digit 9 is the check digit, which is assigned by the manufacturer to ensure VIN accuracy.

Vehicle identifier section:

The third section further identifies the individual vehicle. This section can include the car’s serial number, and other manufacturer-specific identifying information.

  • Digit 10 indicates the car’s model year.
  • Digit 11 shows which plant assembled the vehicle.
  • Digits 12 to 17 generally indicate the individual car’s production serial number.

The letters I, O, Q, U and Z do not appear in any VIN along the 17-digit sequence.

Why you might need your VIN

Your car’s VIN has many uses. Car insurance providers, used car buyers and law enforcement agencies all rely on VIN searches for various purposes. And you’ll need access to your VIN in different situations, as well. Here’s a few times when your VIN will come in handy.

  • Buying car insurance: When enrolling in a new car insurance policy, your VIN will be used to confirm vehicle details. While some insurers permit you to input your car’s specifications for an insurance quote, you’ll need the VIN to finalize the policy. The insurer might also require a copy of the vehicle title or registration to authenticate the VIN.
  • Find any previous owners of a motor vehicle: A car’s past ownership is linked to the car’s VIN. If you’re interested in finding out more about a car’s previous ownership, you can search using the VIN. This can be done using a number of different VIN lookup websites, such as the VIN check tool at National Highway Traffic Safety Administration .
  • Learn about accidents and repair history: You can get a vehicle history report through services like Carfax that will tell you about some major accidents and repairs the car has experienced. If the car has a title brand, like a rebuilt or salvage title , it should come up in the report.
  • Check for a manufacturer’s recall: Using a VIN lookup tool, you can uncover any manufacturer recalls linked to your car. For those considering purchasing a used vehicle, it’s crucial to check for any safety recalls. This can typically be done through the vehicle manufacturer’s website.
  • Identify a stolen car: A VIN check conducted by the National Insurance Crime Bureau can reveal whether the car has been reported stolen previously. When shopping for a used vehicle, this step is essential to safeguard against inadvertently purchasing a stolen car.

How a car insurance company uses your VIN

When issuing a new policy, car insurance companies check VIN numbers to ensure they have the correct vehicle details on file. Online quoting tools make getting quotes fast and easy, and you can sometimes get an online quote without providing a VIN.

But before the car company actually issues the policy, they’ll want to see the VIN. That way the provider can verify the information you gave to get the quote. The VIN also ensures the provider knows about the car’s history, including whether it’s a stolen vehicle or has a title that’s been branded with something like flood damage or salvage. The VIN will also identify any prior accidents or repairs completed on the car.

Although you usually don’t need your VIN to get a car insurance quote , it can be a good idea to provide it during the quoting process to ensure you get the most accurate quote possible.

Frequently asked questions

Do i need my vin to get car insurance, what is the best car insurance company, can i still get insurance if i bought a car with a branded title, will the vin change my car insurance quote, related articles.

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When a VIN is Assigned to a Car?

Published by Dustin Babich on 10 June 2023 10 June 2023

A vin is assigned to a car during the manufacturing process before it is sold. The vehicle identification number (vin) is a unique 17-digit code assigned to every vehicle.

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) serves as a cornerstone in the automotive industry, acting as a unique identifier for vehicles and playing a pivotal role in tracking, documentation, and safety compliance.

This comprehensive exploration delves into the multifaceted aspects of VIN assignment, from its definition and purpose to the sequential process, involvement of key entities, and global perspectives. Additionally, it explores challenges, innovations, future trends, ethical considerations, and the imperative need for continuous improvement in VIN assignment processes.

Definition and Purpose of VIN

Role as a unique identifier.

The VIN is not merely a combination of letters and numbers; it’s a sophisticated code that serves as a fingerprint for each vehicle . This section unravels the complexity of VIN, emphasizing its role as a unique identifier. According to a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the uniqueness of VINs is crucial for effective vehicle tracking and recall management ( NHTSA, 2022 ).

Facilitating Tracking and Documentation

Beyond uniqueness, the VIN plays a vital role in facilitating tracking and documentation throughout a vehicle’s lifecycle. Research data from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) highlights the significance of VIN in streamlining international trade documentation and improving vehicle traceability (ISO, 2021).

Sequential Process of VIN Assignment

Step-by-step overview.

Understanding the sequential process of VIN assignment is critical. Beginning with its initial assignment during manufacturing, this involves a meticulous encoding of manufacturing details. As per a report from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), this process ensures that each VIN is a comprehensive identifier that encapsulates critical vehicle information ( SAE, 2023 ).

Initial Assignment during Manufacturing

During the manufacturing phase, the VIN is assigned, and this involves encoding specific details such as the manufacturer, model, and production location. A table summarizing these details can be found below:

Updates during Distribution and Retail Phases

The VIN doesn’t remain static after manufacturing. Updates occur during distribution and retail phases, necessitating seamless collaboration between manufacturers, distributors, and dealerships. According to industry experts cited in a report by Automotive News, these updates ensure accurate tracking and documentation ( Automotive News, 2022 ).

Importance of Chronological Sequence

Maintaining a chronological sequence in VIN assignment is paramount for effective tracking and compliance. Deviating from this sequence can lead to complications in recalls, legal processes, and customer records. Research by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) underscores the importance of chronological VIN assignment for harmonized recall processes ( ACEA, 2023 ).

Overview of Entities Involved

Key stakeholders.

Identifying key stakeholders in the VIN assignment process is crucial for understanding the collaborative efforts required. Manufacturers, distributors, dealerships, and government agencies form the backbone of this process. The interaction and collaboration among these entities are illustrated in the following table:

Interactions and Collaborations

The collaboration among these entities is integral to the success of VIN assignment. Regular communication channels and collaborative efforts ensure accuracy and compliance. According to a collaborative study conducted by the International Automobile Association (IAA) and the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), such collaborations are pivotal in reducing VIN-related fraud and ensuring data accuracy ( IAA & NMVTIS, 2022 & NMVTIS, 2021 ).

Manufacturer’s Role in VIN Assignment

Initial vin assignment during production, incorporating manufacturing details.

The initial assignment of a VIN during production involves encoding specific manufacturing details into the VIN. This process serves as a comprehensive snapshot of the vehicle’s origins. Manufacturers encode various details, as outlined in the table below:

Explanation of Encoded Details

Manufacturers encode critical details in the VIN to ensure a holistic representation of the vehicle. For instance, the manufacturer’s code reveals the identity of the automaker, while the model code provides information about the specific vehicle model. Production location details offer insights into where the vehicle was manufactured . This encoding ensures a unique and detailed identifier for each vehicle.

Examples of Specific Details

To comprehend the encoding process, consider an example where the VIN ‘1G1BL52P3TR103726’ is deconstructed:

  • Manufacturer Code: ‘1G1’ corresponds to General Motors (Chevrolet).
  • Model Code: ‘BL’ indicates the specific model, in this case, a Chevrolet Lumina.
  • Production Location: ’52P’ reveals the manufacturing plant.

Ensuring VIN Uniqueness

Ensuring the uniqueness of each VIN is imperative for accurate tracking and compliance. Manufacturers employ various methods to guarantee VIN uniqueness. These methods include a combination of alphanumeric characters, avoiding repetitive sequences, and adhering to international standards.

The consequences of non-unique VINs can be severe, leading to challenges in recalls, legal processes, and customer records. Research conducted by the Society of Automotive Engineers emphasizes the significance of unique VINs in preventing fraud and ensuring accurate data ( SAE, 2023 ).

Compliance with Standards

Meeting safety and emissions standards.

VIN assignment is not just a procedural step; it aligns with crucial safety and emissions standards. Safety standards, such as those outlined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), mandate specific information in the VIN to enhance vehicle safety and recall effectiveness ( NHTSA, 2022 ).

Explanation of Safety and Emissions Standards

Safety standards encompass various elements, including crashworthiness, occupant protection, and crash avoidance. The VIN is designed to incorporate details related to these safety standards. For instance, the VIN may encode information about airbag types, emission control systems, and other safety features. This ensures that safety-related information is readily accessible and traceable.

Alignment of VIN Assignment with Compliance

The VIN assignment process aligns with safety and emissions standards by ensuring that specific safety-related details are encoded accurately. Compliance is not only a regulatory requirement but also a proactive measure to enhance vehicle safety. A study by the European Commission on VIN and safety compliance emphasizes the pivotal role of VIN in ensuring that vehicles adhere to stringent safety and emissions standards ( European Commission, 2021 ).

International Standards for VIN Structure

In a globally connected automotive industry, the structure of VINs adheres to international standards. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has outlined standards (ISO 3779 and ISO 4030) to harmonize VIN structures globally ( ISO, 2021 ). The importance of uniformity in VIN structure is underscored by the fact that it facilitates international trade, regulatory compliance, and vehicle traceability.

Overview of Global VIN Standards

ISO 3779 provides the structure and content of the VIN, ensuring a standardized format that includes the World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI), Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS), and Vehicle Identifier Section (VIS). ISO 4030 further establishes a unique world numbering system for identifying, numbering, and coding road vehicles.

Importance of Uniformity for International Trade

The uniformity in VIN structure is paramount for international trade. According to a report by the World Trade Organization (WTO), standardized VINs simplify cross-border transactions, support regulatory compliance, and contribute to a level playing field in the global automotive market ( WTO, 2022 ).

Distribution and Retail Phase

Distributors’ responsibilities in vin management, updating vin during transportation and storage.

As vehicles move through the distribution phase, distributors play a crucial role in updating VINs during transportation and storage. This ensures that the VIN accurately reflects the vehicle’s current status and location. The following table outlines the procedures for updating VINs during transit:

Procedures for Updating VINs during Transit

During transportation, VINs are updated based on the vehicle’s movements. For instance, when vehicles are loaded onto carriers or transferred between distribution centers, the VIN data is updated to reflect the current location and status.

Importance of Accurate VIN Data during Storage

Accurate VIN data during storage is critical for several reasons. Firstly, it aids in inventory management, allowing distributors to track the location of each vehicle efficiently. Secondly, it ensures that the VIN information is up-to-date when vehicles are ready for retail, preventing discrepancies in documentation.

Collaboration with Dealerships for Accurate VIN Documentation

Collaboration between distributors and dealerships is essential for accurate VIN documentation. This collaboration ensures that VINs are correctly assigned to each vehicle, preventing errors in documentation and facilitating seamless retail processes.

According to a joint study by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, efficient collaboration between distributors and dealerships enhances overall VIN accuracy and compliance ( NADA & Alliance for Automotive Innovation, 2022 ).

Communication Channels between Distributors and Dealerships

Establishing effective communication channels between distributors and dealerships is key to accurate VIN documentation. Regular updates, data sharing protocols, and collaborative platforms streamline the process, ensuring that VIN data remains accurate and consistent.

Ensuring Accuracy in VIN Documentation through Collaboration

Collaboration is not just about communication; it’s about ensuring accuracy in VIN documentation. Distributors and dealerships work together to cross-verify VIN information, preventing errors that could have cascading effects on legal processes, customer records, and overall traceability.

Dealership Involvement

Finalizing vin assignment during the sale.

The dealership phase marks the finalization of VIN assignment during the sale. This involves specific steps to ensure that the VIN is accurately associated with the sold vehicle. The following table outlines the steps involved:

Steps Involved in VIN Finalization at the Dealership Level

During the sales transaction, dealerships verify the VIN against sales records to confirm that the correct VIN is associated with the sold vehicle. This verification is crucial to prevent errors in documentation and maintain legal compliance.

Role of VIN in Completing the Sales Transaction

The VIN plays a pivotal role in completing the sales transaction. It serves as a unique identifier that ties the vehicle to specific sales records, allowing for accurate documentation, invoicing, and registration processes.

Importance of VIN in Legal Processes and Customer Records

The legal significance of the VIN extends beyond the sales transaction. VINs are integral to legal processes, including registration, titling, and compliance with regulatory requirements. Furthermore, maintaining accurate customer records is essential for customer satisfaction and regulatory compliance.

Legal Significance of VIN in Documentation

VINs serve as legal identifiers in various documentation processes. From vehicle registrations to title transfers, the VIN is a key component that ensures the accurate identification of vehicles in legal documents. A study by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators emphasizes the legal importance of VINs in vehicle documentation ( AAMVA, 2021 ).

Role of VIN in Maintaining Accurate Customer Records

Accurate customer records are essential for providing excellent customer service and ensuring compliance with data protection regulations. VINs are used to update and maintain customer records, allowing dealerships to communicate effectively with customers and provide relevant information related to their vehicles.

Government Regulations and VIN

Regulatory oversight in vin assignment, national and international regulations for vin compliance.

Government agencies play a crucial role in overseeing VIN assignment processes. This section explores both national and international regulations governing VIN compliance and the distinctions between these standards.

Overview of Regulations Governing VIN Assignment

National regulations vary, but they all share the common goal of ensuring the accuracy and uniqueness of VINs. Regulatory bodies, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States and the European Commission in the European Union, outline specific requirements for VIN assignment to enhance safety, traceability, and compliance ( NHTSA, 2022 , European Commission, 2021 ).

Distinctions between National and International Compliance Standards

While national regulations focus on country-specific requirements, international standards provide a framework for harmonizing VIN structures globally. The distinctions between national and international compliance standards highlight the need for automakers to adhere to both sets of regulations to ensure seamless global trade and compliance.

VIN as a Tool for Tracking Recalls and Ensuring Vehicle Safety

The VIN is not just a regulatory requirement; it serves as a powerful tool for tracking recalls and ensuring vehicle safety. Government agencies leverage VIN data to identify and communicate with vehicle owners about safety recalls.

Role of VIN in Recall Processes

In the event of safety recalls, the VIN is a critical tool for identifying affected vehicles. This allows government agencies and manufacturers to notify vehicle owners promptly, minimizing the risks associated with potential defects or safety issues. The VIN acts as a key reference point in recall databases, streamlining the identification and resolution of safety-related concerns.

How VIN Contributes to Overall Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance

The role of VIN in ensuring vehicle safety goes beyond recalls. It contributes to overall regulatory compliance by providing a standardized method for encoding safety-related information. For example, specific VIN positions may indicate the presence of advanced safety features or compliance with emission standards. This transparency aids regulatory bodies in assessing and enforcing safety and environmental standards.

Challenges and Innovations in VIN Assignment

Emerging challenges in the vin assignment process, technological advancements and impact on vin assignment.

As technology evolves, so do the challenges in VIN assignments. Advanced manufacturing processes, digitization, and connectivity introduce new complexities. The integration of cutting-edge technologies, such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices and automated systems, requires continuous adaptation in VIN assignment practices.

Addressing Challenges Related to Counterfeit VINs and Fraud

The rise of digital technology also brings forth challenges related to counterfeit VINs and fraudulent activities. Criminal elements may attempt to manipulate or duplicate VINs for illegal purposes, posing risks to consumers and law enforcement. Countermeasures, including enhanced security features and digital authentication methods, become essential to combat these challenges.

Innovations in VIN Assignment

Implementation of blockchain technology for enhanced security.

In response to the challenges posed by technological advancements, the automotive industry is exploring innovative solutions. One such solution involves the implementation of blockchain technology in VIN assignments.

Blockchain, with its decentralized and tamper-resistant nature, enhances the security and integrity of VIN data. Research conducted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) suggests that blockchain can significantly reduce the risk of VIN tampering and fraud ( IEEE, 2023 ).

Role of Artificial Intelligence in Streamlining VIN Assignment Processes

Artificial intelligence (AI) is another frontier in VIN assignment. Machine learning algorithms can streamline the VIN assignment process by automating data verification, ensuring accuracy, and detecting anomalies. The application of AI in VIN assignment is a topic of ongoing research, with potential benefits for efficiency and error reduction ( Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE), 2022 ).

Future Trends in VIN Assignment

Integration of vins with smart and connected vehicles, leveraging vins in the era of smart and connected vehicles.

The automotive industry is entering an era of smart and connected vehicles, and VINs are poised to play a crucial role in this transformation. The VIN, traditionally a static identifier, is evolving into a dynamic data point within the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem. This evolution allows VINs to store and transmit real-time data about a vehicle’s status, performance, and maintenance needs.

Enhancing Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication through VIN Integration

As vehicles become more interconnected, VINs are evolving to enable effective vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication. By integrating VINs with V2V communication systems, vehicles can share important information, such as road conditions, traffic alerts, and potential hazards. This integration enhances road safety and traffic efficiency.

Sustainable Practices in VIN Assignment

Adapting vin assignment processes to align with environmental sustainability.

The automotive industry’s commitment to environmental sustainability extends to VIN assignment processes. Manufacturers are exploring eco-friendly materials and practices for VIN engraving and labeling. Sustainable sourcing and production of VIN components contribute to reducing the industry’s ecological footprint.

Exploring Eco-friendly Materials for VIN Engraving and Labeling

Traditional VIN engraving methods involve various materials, some of which may have environmental implications. Innovations in eco-friendly materials for VIN engraving and labeling are gaining traction. Research by the Green Vehicle Disposal Coalition indicates that transitioning to sustainable materials can positively impact the environmental sustainability of VIN assignment processes ( Green Vehicle Disposal Coalition, 2023 ).

Global Perspectives on VIN Assignment

Variances in vin assignment practices across regions, differences in vin structures and regulations globally.

The global automotive landscape features variances in VIN structures and regulations across regions. While international standards provide a framework for harmonization, regional peculiarities, and regulatory differences persist. Understanding these variations is crucial for manufacturers engaged in global trade.

Challenges and Opportunities in Harmonizing VIN Standards Internationally

Harmonizing VIN standards internationally is a complex task. Differences in regional regulations, market demands, and historical practices pose challenges to achieving a unified global standard. However, harmonization presents opportunities for simplifying cross-border transactions, reducing trade barriers, and fostering a more efficient global automotive market.

Collaborative Efforts for Standardization

International collaborations aimed at standardizing vin assignment.

Recognizing the importance of standardization, international collaborations are underway to establish common ground in VIN assignment practices. Organizations such as the International Standards Organization (ISO), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) are actively involved in efforts to standardize VIN assignment globally.

The Role of Global Organizations in Promoting Uniform VIN Practices

Global organizations play a pivotal role in promoting uniform VIN practices. The UNECE, through its World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, sets forth regulations and standards that member countries can adopt to harmonize their VIN structures. Such collaborative efforts aim to streamline international trade, enhance safety, and ensure regulatory compliance.

Ethical Considerations in VIN Assignment

Privacy concerns and data protection, addressing privacy issues related to vins and personal information.

As VINs evolve into dynamic data points, privacy concerns emerge. The increased connectivity of vehicles raises questions about the collection, storage, and use of personal information linked to VINs. Adhering to strict data protection principles is crucial to address these privacy concerns.

Implementing Ethical Practices in VIN Assignment to Protect Consumer Data

Manufacturers, distributors, and other entities involved in VIN assignment must prioritize ethical practices. Implementing robust data protection measures, obtaining informed consent, and ensuring transparency in data usage are essential to protect consumer privacy. Adhering to ethical standards aligns VIN assignment processes with contemporary data protection regulations.

Transparency and Accountability in VIN Management

Ensuring transparency in vin assignment processes.

Transparency is fundamental in VIN assignment processes. Stakeholders must clearly communicate how VIN data is collected, used, and stored. Transparent practices build trust among consumers and regulatory authorities, fostering a positive perception of VIN assignment as a responsible and accountable process.

Establishing Accountability Mechanisms for VIN-Related Errors or Misuse

In the event of errors or misuse related to VINs, establishing accountability mechanisms is crucial. This involves clearly defining responsibilities, implementing audit trails, and having protocols for rectifying errors. Accountability ensures that VIN assignment processes are conducted responsibly and ethically.

Continuous Improvement and Adaptation

Continuous evaluation of vin assignment processes, implementing regular audits to enhance vin assignment accuracy.

Continuous improvement in VIN assignment processes requires regular audits. Manufacturers, distributors, and dealerships should implement audit mechanisms to assess the accuracy and compliance of VIN data. Audits help identify areas for improvement and ensure that VIN assignment practices evolve with industry standards.

Feedback Loops and Improvement Strategies Based on Real-world VIN Challenges

Feedback loops are instrumental in continuous improvement. By actively seeking feedback from stakeholders and addressing real-world challenges, the automotive industry can adapt and refine VIN assignment processes. This iterative approach ensures that VIN assignment practices remain effective and resilient.

Adapting to Evolving Automotive Technologies

Incorporating vin assignment practices that align with evolving vehicle technologies.

As automotive technologies evolve, VIN assignment practices must adapt. New vehicle features, connectivity options, and manufacturing processes necessitate updates to VIN encoding and assignment methodologies. A proactive approach to incorporating VIN assignment practices that align with evolving technologies is essential for maintaining relevance and efficiency.

Staying Ahead of Technological Advancements to Enhance VIN Security and Efficiency

Staying ahead of technological advancements is crucial for enhancing VIN security and efficiency. Research and development initiatives should focus on leveraging emerging technologies to fortify VIN assignment against potential threats and streamline processes. Proactive adaptation ensures that VINs continue to fulfill their role as effective identifiers in the ever-changing automotive landscape.

Recapitulation of Key Points

Importance of vin as a unique identifier and its multifaceted role.

In summary, the VIN serves as a unique identifier that goes beyond a mere alphanumeric code. Its multifaceted role encompasses facilitating tracking, documentation, safety compliance, and recall management. The VIN is a linchpin in ensuring the integrity and transparency of information throughout a vehicle’s lifecycle.

Overview of the Sequential Process of Assigning a VIN to a Car

The sequential process of VIN assignment involves meticulous steps, starting from the initial assignment during manufacturing, through updates in distribution and retail phases. The chronological sequence is essential for accurate tracking, legal compliance, and maintaining a comprehensive vehicle history.

Significance of Collaboration Among Manufacturers, Distributors, Dealerships, and Government Agencies

The collaborative efforts of manufacturers, distributors, dealerships, and government agencies are paramount in ensuring the accuracy and effectiveness of VIN assignment. Smooth interactions and information sharing among these entities contribute to a seamless and reliable VIN assignment process.

Reflection on Manufacturer’s Role

Ensuring uniqueness and compliance with safety and emissions standards.

Manufacturers play a pivotal role in the VIN assignment process by ensuring the uniqueness of each VIN and compliance with safety and emissions standards. The encoding of manufacturing details, adherence to international standards, and commitment to safety contribute to the overall integrity of VINs.

The Global Perspective on VIN Structure and Its Importance for International Trade

Manufacturers operate within a global framework, and the adherence to international standards for VIN structure is crucial. The harmonization of VIN practices enhances international trade by providing a standardized platform for communication and traceability across borders.

Distribution and Retail Phase Insights

The critical role of distributors in updating vins during transit and storage.

Distributors serve as key players in updating VINs during the transportation and storage phases. Their meticulous attention to VIN updates ensures accurate tracking and documentation, laying the foundation for a transparent and efficient distribution process.

Dealerships’ Pivotal Role in Finalizing VIN Assignment and Maintaining Accurate Records

Dealerships, at the retail phase, play a pivotal role in finalizing VIN assignments during sales transactions. Their responsibility extends to maintaining accurate customer records, contributing to legal compliance, and fostering trust with consumers.

Government Regulations and VIN’s Role

Overview of national and international regulations governing vin compliance.

Government regulations set the framework for VIN compliance, both at national and international levels. The VIN’s role in tracking recalls and ensuring vehicle safety aligns with regulatory objectives, making it an essential tool for governance in the automotive sector.

The Crucial Role of VIN in Tracking Recalls and Ensuring Overall Vehicle Safety

The VIN’s pivotal role in tracking recalls and ensuring overall vehicle safety underscores its importance in the regulatory landscape. The ability to swiftly identify and address safety concerns through VINs contributes to public safety and regulatory effectiveness.

FAQ On When a VIN is Assigned to a Car?

How is a vin assigned during manufacturing.

During manufacturing, the initial VIN assignment involves encoding specific details such as the manufacturer, model, and production location. This ensures a unique identifier for each vehicle, facilitating accurate tracking and documentation.

Why is it essential to maintain a chronological sequence in VIN assignment?

Maintaining a chronological sequence in VIN assignment is crucial for effective tracking, legal compliance, and maintaining a comprehensive vehicle history. It ensures that VINs accurately reflect the timeline of a vehicle’s production and movement through the distribution and retail phases.

What are the challenges in VIN assignment?

Challenges in VIN assignment include adapting to technological advancements, addressing counterfeit VINs, and preventing fraud. Staying vigilant and incorporating innovative solutions are key to overcoming these challenges.

How do VINs contribute to global trade in the automotive industry?

VINs contribute to global trade by adhering to international standards for structure. This uniformity simplifies cross-border transactions, supports regulatory compliance, and fosters a level playing field in the global automotive market.

What role do distributors play in VIN management?

Distributors play a crucial role in VIN management by updating VINs during transportation, ensuring accurate tracking, and collaborating with dealerships to maintain data accuracy throughout the distribution process.

How does a dealership finalize VIN assignment during a sale?

The dealership finalizes VIN assignment during a sale by verifying the VIN against sales records to confirm accuracy. This involves meticulous steps to ensure that the VIN is correctly associated with the sold vehicle, facilitating seamless documentation and legal compliance. Additionally, the dealership updates customer records with accurate VINs, contributing to post-sale customer service and satisfaction.

Can VINs be altered or tampered with?

Altering or tampering with VINs is a serious offense with legal consequences. Such activities can lead to fraud, misrepresentation, and safety risks. The legal system imposes penalties to deter individuals from engaging in VIN tampering, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the integrity of VINs.

How does the government regulate VIN assignment?

Government agencies regulate VIN assignment through national and international standards. These regulations ensure compliance with safety and emissions standards, providing a framework for automakers to follow during the manufacturing, distribution, and retail phases.

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When Does a VIN Become Official: The Car’s Identity Revealed – Automotive Simple · 27 January 2024 at 07:08

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Massachusetts-Assigned Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

A Massachusetts-assigned Vehicle Identification Number will be issued for the following:

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Vehicle buying and selling have been a top business for decades. A basic understanding of VIN can save you from any potential wrong-happening.

A miscalculated purchase not only deprives you of your hard-earned cash but can also put you in legal trouble. To safeguard you from all these odds, we’ve prepared this short guide covering every aspect of VIN.

The VIN on your vehicle’s dashboard might look like a string of random numbers, but it contains a wealth of information that can help you make good decisions about purchasing a vehicle.

VINs are more than a set of arbitrary numbers. They are unique identifiers given to every car that provide clues about its history.

Without further ado, let’s dive  into every crucial detail of VIN.

Key Takeaways

  • VIN stands for “Vehicle Identification Number”
  • When cars are manufactured, they are assigned a VIN number
  • VINs follow global standards, and no two vehicles have the same VIN
  • VINs are also known as chassis numbers
  • The VIN is a 17-character series of letters and numbers without spaces
  • VINs do not use letters that can be mistaken for numbers, such as I, O, Q, U, and Z
  • Every location has a different VIN. It indicates the country or region where the vehicle was manufactured

The term “VIN,” which stands for “Vehicle Identification Number,” refers to a unique collection of numbers and characters assigned to each automobile at the time of construction. It consists of a single line of 17 characters without any spaces, except for any digits that can be mistaken for numerals, such as I, O, Q, and Z.

The Purpose of a VIN

A VIN is a unique identifier for a vehicle, which can be used for tracking actions like registrations, warranty claims, and recalls. You can use the VIN to learn about the car’s history when purchasing a used vehicle.

VINs are important tools for countering auto-related scams because they can give you essential information about the vehicle’s history, like insurance claims and thefts. Understanding the VIN is crucial for buyers and sellers, and knowing the basics of VINs helps you choose the best vehicle for you and your family.

Who Uses VINs

Every organization dealing with vehicles uses VINs to track and obtain information about them.

VINs are also used to identify cars in vehicle history reports, which are offered by various companies to report on things like the status of a vehicle title and the number of previous owners.

How Do You Find the VIN on a Car?

Where to find VIN Code on Car

The most common place for the VIN is the driver’s side dashboard. However, you can find VINs in several locations on a car.

  • On the Dashboard . By looking through your car’s windshield, you can see the VIN on the dashboard on the driver’s side. It is usually located near the bottom of the windshield on a metal plate.
  • Inside the Driver’s Side Doorjamb . When you open the driver’s side door, you can find the VIN on the inner wall of the doorjamb. It’s usually a sticker, and it may also contain other information in addition to the VIN barcode.
  • Under the Hood . VINs are displayed In the engine compartment in various locations, such as on top of the radiator or the front of the engine block.
  • Driver’s Side Quarter Panel . On older vehicles, VIN plates are sometimes located on the driver’s side quarter panel.

You can find VINs in various locations, depending on the make and model and when they were manufactured. Recently, some auto dealerships have started engraving the VIN on each window and the windshield to deter theft.

What Do The Numbers on a VIN Mean?

Not only does the VIN tell you what country a vehicle was manufactured in, but it also contains other information, like the year, make, and model of the vehicle.

Like your fingerprint, a car’s VIN provides a wealth of information. The production number, vehicle manufacturer, body type, and engine size can all be decoded from the VIN.

The VIN reveals the following information:

  • The first three characters of the VIN tell you where the vehicle was manufactured and its type and manufacturing division.
  • The following six characters contain information about the car’s model, body, and mechanical systems.
  • The last eight characters are used to identify the car’s year and the plant where it was manufactured, including its place in the assembly line.

You can use a VIN decoder to get specific information about a vehicle.

VIN Mismatches

VIN mismatches are more common than people think. They are usually the result of a transcription error made during the registration process. Your local DMV might need additional papers to resolve a VIN mismatch if it is wrong by more than one number.

A thorough examination of the VIN on the documentation and the vehicle’s body is recommended. If the VIN on the title and the automobile are entirely different, it indicates fraud.

The Importance of VINs

According to CNBC used car scam statistics, a new consumer complaint is filed every 90 minutes. As online car sales continue to rise, more and more car buyers are at risk of scams and fraud.

There are several used car scams, including fake websites, photo scams, and fraudulent mobile apps. With a VIN report, prospective buyers can get trustworthy information about the vehicles they are interested in and save themselves thousands of dollars by avoiding these scams.

The VIN is the best tool for countering car scams because it can give you important information about the vehicle’s history, including safety recalls, insurance claims, and thefts. Understanding the VIN is crucial for buyers and sellers, and knowing the basics of VINs helps you choose the best vehicle for you and your family.

History of Vehicle Identification

Vehicle identification numbers have been used in the United States since 1954. At first, every manufacturer used their own format to create VINs.

In 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began using a standardized VIN format to create a global methodology for tracking and identifying vehicles. VINs have evolved and become more sophisticated over the past few decades.

The importance of VINs in countering theft and scams is unparalleled. There are hundreds of online platforms to reveal information about any vehicle just with the aid of VIN. But, most of these options fail to provide accurate reports due to faulty databases or unreliable sources.

VINs are essential tools for tracking vehicles, and hundreds of online platforms use VINs to reveal critical information about a vehicle.

We’ve tested and reviewed the top VIN decoders that provide the most accurate information. Based on the precision of their results and the quality of their services, we recommend these VIN partners for all your vehicle identification needs.

Is the VIN & Chassis Number the same?

Strictly speaking, the chassis number is actually the same as the vehicle identification number. VIN is engraved on vehicles’ chassis; that’s why people commonly use these terms interchangeably.

What is the Difference Between Engine Number and VIN?

The engine is the heart of any vehicle. These are usually given special numbers highlighting the power output and other specifications. Though VIN’s 8th digit deals with the engine, that doesn’t completely elaborate it.

In addition, engine numbers can be changed if the engine blows up. In contrast, the chassis number or VIN remains the same throughout the lifespan of the concerned vehicle.

In simple words, an engine number is the identification number of the engine block.

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When should I expect my vehicle after VIN is assigned?


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As I understand it, that means that all of the parts have been ordered from the various vendors, like seats, trim, etc., that are not made directly in the factory. Depending on what is needed, it could be a couple of weeks yet. The dealer or if you call BMW with the production or VIN, should be able to tell you what week the vehicle is scheduled to be built in. Once the actual body is being made, it proceeds to painting and assembly quickly. A lot will happen in a couple of days once those steps are started. Mine sat awaiting carrier assignment and pickup for about a week after it was built. My dealer said, at least where I'm located, BMW is using a new carrier, and the projected delivery time could vary considerably over what it used to be. Mine actually came in a couple of days earlier than the original shipper's indication. On mine, the seats were backordered in the color I selected, and it got delayed, so it sat in that condition for over a month. That's not the norm, though.  

What is your build date ? Thanks  

Build date is 10/26 according to all paperwork we have seen. That is why it seems odd they've already assigned VIN. I've been told, once VIN is assigned, anticipate production within 7 days, that could be totally wrong though.  

Judy G

From what I understand the step you are at is just before actually production begins. Once the VIN number has been assigned no more changes can be made on your car. My car is a few weeks behind yours so I'm just hanging out here waiting.  

Thanks for your input, its an exciting time isn't it! My BMW Genius who placed the order has never placed an order on a Monday, and had a VIN number on Wednesday! It's very exciting for me! Even though I know it could still be the 26th before it enters the paint process.  

My production date is week #45. I'm not sure if that means its the completion date or when it gets started. I'm hoping for a late November early Dec delivery for our car to come to Central Ca. We will drive up and pick it up after it arrives, and yes it's very exciting. This is only the second BMW that we have custom ordered. We have been able to find a car on dealers lots in the last few years.  

I too have a week 45 production slot! Hopefully it's a good week for building X5s!  

It only takes a few days...your vehicle should be completed at least by the end of that week. Mine was finished at the beginning of my build week. Now, how long it takes to get it from there to you is another story, or had you planned PCD? That has to be arranged in advance.  


If you call the 800-831-1117, it will give you an ETA completion of production.  

Thank you for that number, I will be calling it. The screenshot provided above came from my BMW GENUIS who placed the order. I know that he will give me any crucial updates that he runs across; just wanted to see what the cool kids on here thought of the same info provided. Again, thank you for taking the time to reply and provide useful info/feedback! --John  


Thank you for this information.  


Production # issued 9/30/20 VIN # issued 10/19/20  


This is super exciting. My credit was pulled And I signed the paperwork for my new X5 on Sunday 11/22 (Mineral White, M package, coffee interior with aluminum tetragon trim). Yesterday dealer emailed me my production number. When I added it to my BMW garage it said “Scheduled for Production” yesterday up until this evening. Today 2 days later status changed to “Production Begins” and I have the VIN for the car. I’m wondering how fast it will arrive at dealer at this pace. I’m on Long Island. This would be a great Christmas gift!  


Mimithompson21 said: This is super exciting. My credit was pulled And I signed the paperwork for my new X5 on Sunday 11/22 (Mineral White, M package, coffee interior with aluminum tetragon trim). Yesterday dealer emailed me my production number. When I added it to my BMW garage it said "Scheduled for Production" yesterday up until this evening. Today 2 days later status changed to "Production Begins" and I have the VIN for the car. I'm wondering how fast it will arrive at dealer at this pace. I'm on Long Island. This would be a great Christmas gift! Click to expand...

Did your car arrive? If so when?  

Did your car arrive? If so, when?  

I was told that Production started and a vin number only means the car has a vin. The different parts for the car have been ordered. It may take a few weeks until it's actually started. Also keep in mind that the website is not always accurate. For example my car showed production begins for several weeks and then jumped into final inspection. Everything updated at once. It's now sitting in San Bernardino waiting for a truck to take it to the dealer (at least as far as we know right now). You will probably have a lot less transport time since you are on the east coast. I'm in Ca. My 2018 X5 was Mineral white with Coffee interior and its a great combination.  

VIN assigned happens shortly before the body is built. Production scheduled means just that and all of the parts are being ordered that aren't made in the assembly/production facility and a particular slot in the production has been stabilized. Think of it like making a reservation for your summer's scheduled. BMW buys lots of bits from various suppliers. The metal chassis and engines are made in BMW factories, but wiring harnesses, seats, shocks, springs, etc. along with a lot of the electronics, are not. This is true for most vehicles made in the world. Well, lots of things on the engines are not made by BMW either, like oil filters, spark plugs, and probably the cables, coils and who knows what else.  


Mine has been in production begins for a while now. Next week is the scheduled build date for me, and being on the east coast, expect a mid-December delivery. If that holds up, it will be about 6 weeks from order to delivery. Previous custom built cars have usually taken about two months, so this is right on schedule. The web sites definition of "production begins" is different than what most people think it means. It just means that you are in the production queue, even though most people would take that to mean it's on the assembly line. Unless the dealer was able to swap out an earlier production week for you, it's going to be tough I'd say to get it this year, but you still get locked with the current incentives or what's on delivery day, whichever is better.  

WHen your vehicle will be built is entirely (well almost!) up to which slot your dealer assigned your vehicle. It's possible for a dealer to reassign an existing order to you up until maybe as much as a week or so before it is scheduled to be built. Each dealer only gets a certain number of build slots, and he knows when they are. The actual slot is not assigned after you buy a car, but the dealer assigns YOU to one of HIS slots. His slots could be for stock on his lot, or a custom build for a customer. Once a build is identified as being assigned to a customer other than the dealer, it's priority changes, but the actual build slot doesn't. That could help if say an option was in short supply...a vehicle for an existing dealer's customer might get preference to it, and it might get built earlier in the week or moved up, if things go a little faster than expected.  

My car never updated through the system. The day of scheduled completion it showed all of the steps and that it was released to a carrier. Since I'm in So. Ca. it took 2 weeks from completion to pick up.  

Yeah, mine skipped several steps. I think the website doesn't get updated in real time. It seems to be several hours or even a day or two behind what's actually going on. Mine sat at 150 status for quite some time. I wanna say over a week, possibly 2 weeks. It's now sitting at the distribution center awaiting carrier to the dealer since the 4th. My dealer (same as Judy's) is only a couple hours away from the VDC I think so hopefully it'll be soon. Who knows cuz of COVID lockdown though. I'm just hoping that because it's a Priority 1 (sold car), it'll be released soon. Due to work, I kind of have a tight timeline to pickup as all of next week I'm totally busy. I've also run out of YouTube videos on the X5 to watch lol  

My truck arrived at the dealer yesterday (Friday) , however they are telling me I can’t pick it up until Wednesday/Thursday. Why would it take so long to prep. Such a tease!  

Mimithompson21 said: My truck arrived at the dealer yesterday (Friday) , however they are telling me I can't pick it up until Wednesday/Thursday. Why would it take so long to prep. Such a tease! Click to expand...

Waiting for pick up is the hardest part!!! Happy Holidays to you and your family as well Mimi.  

My baby is here. Turns out my advisor was on vacation (but didn't want to tell me)!  


Tire Wheel Mode of transport Automotive design Automotive lighting

I have a VIN now. It moved to Production Begins on Monday.  

Congratulations. It will probably be done on Monday or Tuesday at the latest. Then you just have to wait for it to ship. If you are on the west coast it takes a few weeks to get out here.  

It's taking a long time. Not sure how long the factory shuts down for the holidays but I'm still in Production Begins status after 2 weeks. I called the Genius line and it said the car will be done 1/19. That seems a lot later than week 51 which was what the original status report showed. I'm looking at delivery around 2/5 probably. That puts it almost 12 weeks from my order date (11/16). That's about the same timeframe it took me to get my 530 made in Germany. Has anyone else had delays with the 45e? I wonder if the battery recall slowed things down or if there is something else in my build that is backordered.  

Mine was delayed back in the summer because the seats I wanted were backordered. It's hard to say why the delay. With the fact that the factory itself gets many of the parts from outside vendors, if one of them has an issue, whether it's materials, labor, or shipping, it can throw a wrench in the works. In 'normal' times, things move along pretty predictably, but that's not happening again for awhile.  

My car finished today and is waiting to be put on a train. Two months to the day from when I ordered.  

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Alberta & Saskatchewan Assigned VIN Program

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Alberta and saskatchewan, all vehicles and trailers that go on public roadways require a visible vin showing the identity of the vehicle., prevention. precision. protection..

Every VIN Examiner employed by VIN Verification Services Inc. is current or former law enforcement. These staff members have many years of experience and substantial training to develop their expertise. The collective knowledge represented by VIN Verification Services’ VIN Examiners includes investigations related to stolen vehicles, cloned and fraudulent VIN’s, organized crime, economic crime and polygraphy.

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Increased Integrity

Increased integrity of the registries system

Greater scrutiny on VIN issuance ensures accuracy within the registry system and allows insurance firms to ensure the vehicles covered through their services are accurately identified.

Reduces Crime

Reduces crime

Dramatic reductions in the ability for organized crime to traffick in stolen vehicles. Increased rigor in verifying VINs is a major deterrent for criminal activity.  Force multiplier that frees up law enforcement resources to be deployed in other areas.

No cost to government

No cost to government

VVS offers a cost-effective service that frees up law enforcement officers to conduct other investigations thereby reducing the cost to the community. VVS provides this service at no cost to the government.

Province of Alberta


  1. VIN Number: How to Look It Up?

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  2. Translating Your VIN Numbers

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  3. How to Read a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)

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  4. What is a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)?

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  5. Where to Find VIN Number on Camper and Trailer?

    assigned vin number

  6. How to Find a VIN Number, Serial Number, and HUD Plate on Mobile Homes

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  1. VIN Assignment / Reassignment Process

    the $2.00 fee, and. a photo of the vehicle, or the physical vehicle if seeking a reassigned manufacturer's VIN. Step 5: Upon review and approval of the documentation presented, TxDMV will assign or reassign a number and issue the owner a Notice of Assigned or Reassigned Identification Number (Form VTR-68-N). Step 6: Owner applies for title at a ...

  2. VIN Lookup

    The first group of three numbers and letters in a VIN make up the world manufacturer identifier (WMI). In this group, the first digit or letter identifies the country of origin. For example, cars ...

  3. VIN Decoder

    Under NHTSA's regulations, each motor vehicle must contain a vehicle identification number, also known as a VIN, which is a 17-character number that encodes specific information about the particular vehicle. On, you can query a particular vehicle's VIN to identify specific information encoded in the number.

  4. Free Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Decoder & Lookup

    A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique code assigned to every motor vehicle when it's manufactured. This 17-character string of letters and numbers, excluding the letters Q (q), I (i), and O (o) to avoid confusion with the numbers 0 and 1, provides specific details about the vehicle's manufacturer, model, year, and place of production, without intervening spaces.

  5. How VINs Work

    Learn where to find your car's VIN, what the numbers mean and how you can use VINs to help prevent theft or learn about the history of a used car. Science Tech Home ... From the 1980s until 2000, each year had a letter code, with 2000 assigned Y. 2001 was given code 1, 2002 is code 2, and so forth. The eleventh digit is the plant code ...

  6. Vehicle VIN Lookup and VIN Decoder

    A VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) is a vehicle's serial number that is assigned when it is assembled at the factory. VINs are assigned to all road-going passenger vehicles, including cars, trucks, and SUVs, motorcycles, scooters, mopeds, semi trucks, and towed vehicles like trailers.

  7. State Assigned VIN

    State-assigned vehicle identification numbers (VIN) are issued to homemade or rebuilt vehicles which do not have a VIN, and to vehicles which have more than one VIN. Do I need a state-assigned VIN? More detailed information. Yes - If any part of the vehicle on which the VIN appears is replaced. Yes - If a vehicle part containing the VIN is ...

  8. What is a vehicle identification number (VIN)?

    What is a VIN? A Vehicle Identification Number, or "VIN," is the unique code that is assigned to an individual vehicle by its manufacturer and that distinguishes it from all other vehicles. No two vehicles can have the same VIN.

  9. VIN Decoding 101: Everything You Wanted to Know About VINs

    Part 1. The VIN acronym stands for Vehicles Identification Number. It refers to a unique number assigned to a vehicle that contains information to describe and identify the vehicle. While most people associate VINs with cars, they are used in the US and internationally for all variety of vehicles and equipment.

  10. Your car VIN: how to decode it

    First of all, we need a car VIN: WFOCXXGAECUT14577. Here's how the VIN numbers are assigned: The first three digits (WFO) represent the market responsible for the creation of the car - so in this case, WFO means Ford Werke A.G. (or Ford Germany)The fourth spot on the VIN (C) denotes the body style of the car.So, in this case, C means two-door coupe.

  11. When Does a VIN Become Official: The Car's Identity Revealed

    A vin (vehicle identification number) is assigned to a car at different stages in various regions. The vin assignment regulations differ from country to country and state to state. Several factors determine when a vin is assigned, including the release of the car's design blueprint, the availability of raw materials for fabrication, and the ...

  12. VIN Numbers Explained: What They Are and How They Work

    A vehicle identification number (VIN) is like a car's unique DNA sequence, a form of identification used by all modern motor vehicles. It contains data about the vehicle's manufacture and country of origin including some model-specific details and the vehicle's unique production serial number. The standardized length for modern VINs is 17 ...

  13. What is a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?

    Digit 9 is the check digit, which is assigned by the manufacturer to ensure VIN accuracy. Vehicle identifier section: The third section further identifies the individual vehicle.

  14. What Is a VIN

    A VIN, or vehicle identification number, is assigned to a car by the automaker and reveals a range of details about the car, including its model year, country of origin, serial number and even where it was assembled. ... Character 9 is a code completed by the manufacturer to confirm the accuracy of the VIN number. Character 10 indicates the ...

  15. When a VIN is Assigned to a Car?

    Published by Dustin Babich on 10 June 2023. A vin is assigned to a car during the manufacturing process before it is sold. The vehicle identification number (vin) is a unique 17-digit code assigned to every vehicle. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) serves as a cornerstone in the automotive industry, acting as a unique identifier for ...

  16. Massachusetts-Assigned Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

    A Massachusetts-assigned Vehicle Identification Number will be issued for the following: A Massachusetts-assigned Vehicle Identification Number contains the prefix "MA" and five digits. The Vehicle Identification Number is issued on a pressurized decal with adhesive backing and tamper-proof features. Each decal carries a control number for ...

  17. Specially-Constructed Vehicles

    An Application for Assigned Vehicle Identification Number (REG 124) for VIN assignment (not year model) completed by CHP. A Statement of Construction (REG 5036) form. If the vehicle is assembled from parts of a vehicle you already own, obtain and submit a junk receipt for that vehicle, before using the parts on the SPCNS vehicle.

  18. Assigned ID Number

    Replacement VIN (for vehicles where the VIN has been destroyed, obliterated or is missing) Homemade trailers Hull Identification Numbers (HIN): All motorboats are required to have a 12 digit Hull Identification Number that conforms with the Federal Boat Safety Act of 1972. The Department of Motor Vehicles issues Assigned IDs for the following:

  19. What is VIN? Learn Everything About Vehicle Identification Number

    VIN stands for "Vehicle Identification Number". When cars are manufactured, they are assigned a VIN number. VINs follow global standards, and no two vehicles have the same VIN. VINs are also known as chassis numbers. The VIN is a 17-character series of letters and numbers without spaces. VINs do not use letters that can be mistaken for ...

  20. When should I expect my vehicle after VIN is assigned?

    Once the VIN number has been assigned no more changes can be made on your car. My car is a few weeks behind yours so I'm just hanging out here waiting. 2021 G05 M-Sport 2021 G20 M-Sport 2018 G30 M-Sport 2014 535i M-Sport. ... VIN assigned happens shortly before the body is built. Production scheduled means just that and all of the parts are ...

  21. Welcome to VIN Decoding :: provided by vPIC

    VIN Decoder. Version: 3.44 last updated on 2/17/2024 Release Notes Subscribe/Unsubscribe. NHTSA's VIN decoder allows you to query a particular vehicle's VIN to identify specific information encoded in the number. VIN. Partial VINs are also accepted. Model Year. If entered the year from VIN will be ignored. Canadian Vehicle Specifications.

  22. PDF DR 2408 (06/26/15) COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE State of Colorado

    The State will count and assign sequential page numbers for all documents submitted with the Colorado Assigned Vehicle Identification Number Application form (DR 2408). Once approved, the entire packet of documents will then be forwarded to the Colorado State Patrol who will contact you for an appointment to physically afix the VIN plate to ...

  23. Alberta & Saskatchewan Assigned VIN Program

    Assigned VIN Program Alberta and Saskatchewan All vehicles and trailers that go on public roadways require a visible VIN showing the identity of the vehicle. Apply Now. ... VIN Verification Services Inc. (VVS) offers a flagship program that focuses on properly identifying and issuing VINs to vehicles and trailers. The VVS program adds value in ...