The VIN number location is crucial information. The 17 characters that identify your vehicle have more meaning than you may think. The vehicle identification number (VIN) tells insurance companies and manufacturers a lot about your car. This information will help you as well if you know how to translate it.
In 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the United States standardized the format. In fact, it required all on-road vehicles sold to contain a 17-character VIN, which does not include the letters O (o), I (i), and Q (q) (to avoid confusion with numerals 0, 1, and 9).
On most vehicles, you will find this number on your registration, insurance card, on the front of the dashboard on the driver’s side (look through the windshield to see it easily), and inside the driver’s door. A motorcycle will have it located on the steering neck below the handlebars. For RV’s there could be two VINs, one on the chassis and one on the finished RV. Also, for RVs, the VIN number location is on the driver’s door post, firewall under the hood, or the left side of the steering wheel.
Each character has a meaning and will help you learn more about your vehicle. Looking at the example above, we can learn where the vehicle was built, vehicle manufacturer, model, engine size, as well as type.
The first three characters will tell you the year and manufacturer. The next six characters will describe the type of vehicle, model, body style, engine type, how many doors and platforms. Above all, the last eight characters are unique to your vehicle. The vehicle identifier section offers information on the car’s equipment, serial number in production, and other information.
Your VIN can also tell you if a used vehicle has been in an accident, damaged, or title issues. Some providers charge for this service. Getting this information can save you from a scam or big issues affecting the vehicle; it will also help you know about the vehicle’s maintenance.
Lauren Fix is a nationally recognized automotive expert, media guest, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host. A trusted automotive expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics, energy and safety issues for both the auto industry and consumers. Her analysis is honest and straightforward. Follow Lauren on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram