Although the 17-digit code looks unnecessarily complicated and confusing, there’s a lot you can learn from your VIN. Vehicle identification numbers are used to provide your vehicle with a unique identity and make it easy to find information specific to your car.
The format for vehicle identification numbers was formally standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 1981. Since then, we use vehicle identification systems as a method to pull up information on practically any car put into production.
This blog post looks at the six car lessons you can learn from your VIN!
1. VINs Tell You About Your Vehicle’s Origin And Manufacturer
The world manufacturer identifier is a code used to identify the manufacturer of your vehicle. The world manufacturer identifier is found in the first three digits of your vehicle identification number. The first three characters in your VIN tell you which corporation is responsible for producing your car and the country where manufacturing took place.
For example, dodge trucks have VIN’s that indicate they were made by Chrysler or Daimler-Chrysler, depending on what year the truck was made.
2. VINs Also Carry Information About Your Vehicle’s Model
The fifth to seventh digits in your VIN indicate your car’s model. These numbers can tell you what features the car had when it left the factory. If you’re buying a used car, you can easily use this information to see if someone is trying to pass off aftermarket additions as features that came with the car.
These digits also tell you basic information about the car such as the number of doors, the body type, number of cylinders and the platform of the vehicle (van, truck, sedan, etc.).
3. You Can Learn About Your Car’s Manufacturing Data And Location
The tenth digit in your VIN is used to specify the year your car was built. Each year from 1980 – 1999 used a letter as a code. The year 2000 used the letter Y. From the year 2001 onwards, VIN’s switched to using numbers: 2001 is 1, 2002 is 2 and so forth.
4. VINs Tell You Your Car’s Production Number & Verifies Authenticity With A Check Digit
The final six digits of your VIN tell you how many vehicles of your make and model were made before your specific car. If your VIN ends with 60, then your car was the sixtieth of its make and model to be manufactured.
The ninth digit of your VIN acts a security measure to prevent fraud. The other numbers in your VIN go through a series of calculations to ensure the 9th digit is the right one. If the 9th digit doesn’t match, they’ll be an error showing that your VIN isn’t authentic.
5. Help Find The Right Parts For Your Car
If it’s a mechanics first time working with your car’s model, they’ll probably use your VIN to find compatible parts. Your VIN number lookup acts as a resource for anyone working on your car to ensure they’re using the right parts and troubleshooting in a way specific to your car.
6. Ensure The Authenticity Of A Used Car
Another situation where you’d need the information from your VIN is when you’re researching a used car. VINs allow you to see how many owners the car has had in addition to when the last inspection was and if your car has ever been classified as a lemon. You can also learn if the used car has ever been stolen or if the odometer has been rolled back to hide the true mileage.