5 Things You Can Learn From a Vehicle Identification Number
Any vehicle that has been manufactured after 1981 has some form of Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN for short, as regulated by the International Organization for Standardization. Vehicle Identification Numbers are comprised of 15 to 17 digits of letters and numbers. However, the VIN serves two main important purposes: to uncover information about a car/its manufacturer and provide an identity for select agencies to uncover information about the vehicle’s owner. Whether you are buying a used car or simply want to learn more about your current vehicle, you can learn a lot when you check VIN number. Here are five things you can uncover when you do a VIN decode.
1. Vehicle Origin and Manufacturer
The first three digits of a Vehicle Identification Number comprise the ISO World Manufacturer Identifier code. When you look up these digits, you can find out both the manufacturer of the vehicle and the country it was produced. However, these digits don’t necessarily dictate what the vehicle’s make is, rather what company is in charge of its production.
2. Vehicle Model
The leftover digits can be decoded, varying on what kind of manufacturer it’s from. However, most companies use the same basic VIN coding structure. For example, digits five through seven explain the vehicle model, including the trim level. Trim levels are what kind of features the vehicle has, such as leather seats, anti-lock brakes, or power windows.
3. Universal Feature Designations
There are only two instances a digit represents the same information no matter who the manufacturer is. The fourth and eighth digits explain the type of airbag and engine it has, but the actual place of the digits is universal. Even if manufacturers aren’t using the same code, it’s the same for most car manufacturers.
4. Manufacturing Date and Location
The VIN can also help you perform a car history search. The tenth digit in the VIN is used to tell what year the vehicle was built, or how old it is, so to say. However, since the ISO system is 30 years old, it’s not uncommon for a vehicle to have more than one year of manufacture. The 11th digit of the VIN explains what manufacturing facility the vehicle was made in.
5. Production Number and Check Digit
Finally, the last six digits of a VIN are the vehicle’s serial number. Say for example, if the last digits were 000040, the vehicle was the 49th of its model and make to be assembled. However, to prevent vehicle VIN fraud, the ninth digit is used as authenticity. This is similar to the features on debit or credit cards to tell if the card number is actually valid.