The infographic below provides a simplified look at a sample VIN.
Keep in mind that vehicles manufactured before might have fewer characters than today's standard VIN of 17 characters. As shown above, the 10th character of the VIN indicates its model year. The 1st character in a car's vehicle identification number indicates the country in which it was manufactured.
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A motorcycle's VIN is usually on the steering neck below the handlebars, although sometimes it's on the motor or on the frame near the motor. A semitrailer's VIN is located on the front part of the semitrailer on the left side. If you can't find the VIN number on the vehicle, you should also be able to locate it on your vehicle's title or liability insurance documents.
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Enter your vehicle's 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 VIN Decoder lookup is intended for use with vehicles manufactured since If your vehicle was made before , the VIN will most likely contain 11 characters.
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There are situations in which you will want to check a vehicle's VIN, since many data registries use it to record details of the vehicle's history. If you're interested in buying a used car, you can do a VIN lookup to get the vehicle history report and find records of its previous owners, accidents, and repairs. You can also find out if the manufacturer had ever issued a recall of the vehicle and whether those repairs were made.
Finally, law enforcement agencies do a VIN check to identify vehicles that have been stolen. Enter your email below and we'll send you another email. A VIN decoder can help you decipher some very useful info about a vehicle, such as the country where your vehicle was built, the actual factory at which it was assembled and more.
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VINs come in two flavors, or lengths in this case — 17 characters or 11 characters. Fortunately, manufacturers tend to put them in four spots:. Those characters look too similar to 0 and 1! As you can see, the most intelligible characters in your VIN are the first and the 10th.
The first character of your VIN is a specific number or letter to indicate country of origin. Beginning back in , automakers gave each model year its own code. It went on and on through the years — skipping I, O, Q and Z, as well!
Then at the turn of the millennium, a new system using numbers one through nine was implemented. The numbers system worked until , at which point auto manufacturers started the alphabet all over again to indicate model year.
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