In fact, deciphering these codes is a hobby for some car enthusiasts, including collectors who want to own one of the first or last cars to come off an assembly line. When you're considering purchasing a pre-owned vehicle, it's always a good idea to obtain a vehicle history report VHR or VIN check.
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- What's a VIN Number (Vehicle Identification Number)?!
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- Free (VIN) Vehicle Identification Number Decoder + Lookup.
Knowing how to read the VIN could help you make an informed decision before you buy. The infographic below provides a simplified look at a sample VIN.
VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)
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. Knowing how a VIN is created can help you accurately transcribe the number.
These letters can easily be confused for a 1 or 0, so they are never used. If you see an I, it is probably a 1. Likewise, if you see an O or Q, it is probably a 0. Next, understand how a VIN is created.
Each VIN is created in the same way. The first digit indicates the country where the car was manufactured, while the second represents the manufacturer and the third the type of vehicle. These three digits are followed by a five-digit sequence that will tell you specifics about the car including model, engine information, series, etc.
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The 9th digit is a security check--it has no special meaning, but it does confirm that the manufacturer has authorized the VIN for a specific car. The 10th digit tells the year associated with the car model, and the 11th the plant where the car was assembled.
Finally, the last six numbers of a VIN are a serial number for the car. This number will allow you to track exactly when your car was produced. This can be helpful if there were assembly errors between certain dates. Only cars manufactured between those dates will need to be fixed.
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- How to Decode a VIN?
Between and , VINs varied widely by manufacturer. If you have a car manufactured within this time frame, your VIN may look completely different from the standard we are used to today.
Decode Your VIN
The length and meaning of a VIN issued between and can vary widely. VIN: What is it? How long is the VIN number?
The most common place is the driver's side dash.
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