What Does The VIN Tell Us about A Car

Call it VIN, VIN code, or body code, all these terms refer to one thing viz. the DNA of a vehicle. While you’re planning to purchase a vehicle, VPN is another crucial thing to watch out for along with other factors like price, model, engine types, and the like. But what does the VIN tell us about the car itself?

If the words of vehicle experts are to be believed, check out VIN and decoding is probably the first thing that any prospective buyer needs to check out. Are you aware of this term or know its actual worth?

If yes then it’s superb as this shows you’re an informed buyer. If this term sounds unfamiliar to you, we have got your back with this post. We have explained every crucial thing about VIN in this post. Just have a look at it and enrich your understanding of VIN.

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Definition of VIN

VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number. It is a code, featuring unique combinations of 17 characters. Digits and alphabets are used to form a VIN. VIN is allotted to the car at the time of manufacturing and stays with it until it goes to the scrape house.  

fancy, red sports car parked on a city street

The concept of allotting VIN to cars or other vehicles started in the 1950s. But, the process back then was too cumbersome as there was no standard format, and manufacturers were granted full freedom to decide the format as per the convenience.

It was towards the middle of 1981 when a standard VIN format came into being and decoding or understanding VIN became an easier task. All the manufactures were guided to follow that official format to allot the car VIN.

Where to Spot a VIN?

Before you decode a VIN to find out which all information it’s storing, spotting a VIN is crucial. VIN is mentioned on few vehicle documents like insurance cards and registration paper and can also be spotted on the car.

If you’re trying to grab the VIN from your car then look for it at the below-mentioned places:

  • Dashboard of the car 
  • On the bottom of the windshield on the driver’s side 
  • On the side of the door on the driver’s side
  • On the engine block
  • On the underside of the hood
  • On the fender 

Most of the car manufacturers provide VIN in all the above-mentioned places. So, keep your eyes wide open and look for VIN in these places. Still, having trouble spotting car VIN? Contact your dealer and details will be provided.

Is It Wise To Decode VIN Manually?

Honestly speaking, figuring out what actual information a VIN is holding manually is a tedious job to do as one has to gather too much information. All these hassles can be reduced significantly by using an online VIN decoder homepage.

screenshot from toyota-vin-decoder.com

It’s so quick and advanced that a car VIN will be decoded in the blink of an eye. All you need to do is enter the VIN correctly and hit “Enter”. 

Within a fraction of a second, a detailed VIN report will be right in front of your eyes. The report can be saved or downloaded on a device of your choice. 

The powerful AI will hunt down accurate information from thousands of databases. But, you have to bear certain things in mind while decoding a car VIN online. 

Make sure the VIN entered is accurate. Don’t try to memorize it as it is a complex thing. Better to note it down or capture it and then enter it on the online VIN decoder. Cross-check it once before fetching the results!

More about What a Car VIN Conveys and its Specialties

Here are some of the key characteristics of a car’s VIN:

  1. It’s unique; just like human DNA and fingerprints. No two cars will have the exact looking VIN. They may feature the same sort of characters but the sequence will be the same.
  1. Every manufacturer is bound to allot VINs to the cars manufactured.
  1. There is a set format for VINs which is followed by each manufacturer.
  1. Each of the characters/digits mentioned in VIN points towards a piece of specific information. For instance, the very first letter/digit in the car VIN provides details about the place of manufacture.

Now that the meaning and format of VIN are clear, it’s time to figure out what a VIN conveys. 

To explain this thoroughly, let’s consider a dummy VIN, 1VW-BN7A35-BBXXXXXX

As you can see, the example VIN is divided into three sections. It’s done to provide all the related information in a certain section. Let’s decode it.

The first set features three characters and includes information about the car manufacturer. It is also called a World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI). The first digit of this set tells about the country in which the car is manufactured. It could be an alphabet as well.   

Here the first digit is 1 which refers to North America. The second and third characters of this set refer to the manufacture of the care. In the example, VM stands for Volkswagen car made in the USA.

Now, let’s understand what the middle part of a VIN indicates. This part is called the Vehicle Descriptor Section and lets others know about the details of vehicle type. 

Keep in mind that each manufacturer has a unique VDS format, due to local rules and regulations. In the middle part, there are five characters and they provide details related to the car model, body style, engine type used, automobile platform used, and so on. 

The last section of a VIN is known as Vehicle Identifier Section (VIS) and includes 8 characters. This part is unique for every car as it’s the serial number of a car, using which the manufacturer can spot a vehicle. It reveals everything related to the production year and the car’s original equipment used. 

Ending Notes 

As an informed car buyer, it’s wise to check the VIN of the car and figure out its meaning. Once you have a full VIN report, using an online VIN check platform then only you’ll have a clear picture about the authenticity of the car. This way, no one can fool you out and you will make a good purchase. 

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