A VIN or vehicle identification number is an automobile identification code. Consider it as a fingerprint for your vehicle, as no two vehicles can have the same VIN. A vehicle identification number has 17 characters (including capital letters and numbers). Most people don’t know that a vehicle identification number has information related to a vehicle’s specifications, manufacturer and features. The number can also be used for tracking thefts, registrations, track recalls, insurance coverage and warranty claims.
Sometimes car owners get worried when their vehicle identification number is not 17 characters long. In that case, you need to first make sure that you have written or copied the numbers correctly without missing any in between. Once the verification has been made, if it’s still less than 17 characters, chances are your vehicle model is older than 1981.
Where the VIN is stamped in the car?
The vehicle identification number is normally issue by the car’s manufacturer. The number is stamped commonly on the chassis before the car leaves the factory. Depending on the model of the car, the VIN could be stamped anywhere but maintains a uniform sequence when the data/information is used. For example, automobiles that are manufactured in the EU countries are numbered ISO-377 which forms the 17 digit number. The same system is applied to vehicles manufactured in Canada, Japan, China and Australia.
What data is included in the VIN?
Using the VIN, certain information can be accessed about the vehicle and it can unlock the precise information about a car along with what it means.
The first three digits are called WMI number or World Manufacturer Identifier code. These three numbers help in identifying the car manufacturer and where the manufacturer is from. For example, if the VIN start from J then it means the manufacturer is from Japan and if it starts from 1then it means that the car is manufactured in the United States.
The second part is related to the vehicle identification. Every manufacturer has a unique way of coding these numbers and these numbers identifies whether the car has fitted leather seats, what parts were used, air bags and the class of the car.
Last few digits indicate the car’s validation. These numbers are generated using an algorithm and dictate if the previous ones were legally modified or not.
How to decode a vehicle identification number
You might ask what these 17 digits means in the vehicle identification number. Here we have broken down all these digits in segments. Suppose your vehicle identification number is:
Here are the segments:
1. The first character 1 indicates where the vehicle was built.
2. The second and third letter represent the manufacturer. In this case the HG indicates the manufacturer. However, the second, third and the eighth digit (J) indicate fuel flexibility in the vehicle.
3. From fourth to eighth character i.e. BH41J, indicate the brand, engine size and the type of vehicle.
4. The ninth character X is the security code which helps in identifying the vehicle identification number as being authorized by the manufacturer.
5. The tenth character M indicated the model year of the car.
6. Eleventh character N indicates the plant where the whole vehicle was assembled.
7. The last six characters are the vehicle’s serial number – 109186.
Where can the Vehicle Identification Number be found?
Finding the vehicle identification number is easy. You can find it on driver side of the dashboard. One of the easiest ways of finding the vehicle identification number is standing outside the car on the driver’s side and looking at the dashboard’s corner where it connects with the windshield.
In case, you cannot find the vehicle identification number there, open the door of the driver’s side and look at the door post. It is most likely you will see the VIN displayed at that location. Other place where you can find the VIN is vehicle title and registration documents or the car insurance policy papers.
Why is VIN important?
Your car’s VIN is the safest and perhaps the best way for you to know the car’s identity. Car manufacturers and vehicle registration companies carry databases with that number which allows them to identify and validate the car correctly just by typing in the number.
It is important for you to have you VIN someplace written. There are many online platforms where you can enter your VIN and get the vehicle report. Using the VIN you can easily find a vehicle’s model, style, year and country of assembly. Along with that, you will also get to know the vehicle’s history records which is very important while purchasing a new or old vehicle.
All in all, a car’s vehicle identification number has every information you need for its identification. It is also important that you make sure it is accurate and legally generated. Before purchasing any car make sure you gather all the information about the car using the vehicle identification number. Cheers!