VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number, and it’s a unique identifier for your car. Consider it the social security number for your vehicle. No two VINs on the planet are the same and they hold a lot of information, which is why they are so long.
There are several places you can look for your car’s VIN. You can find it on the driver’s side of your vehicle, where the dashboard meets the windshield, and it’s easiest to read if you are on the outside of your vehicle looking in. It’s also found on the driver’s side doorjamb, your vehicle’s title and on your insurance card.
A total of 17 characters and numbers make up the VIN of a vehicle. Although they look like gibberish to most people, the VIN actually has an important meaning. Stuff You Should Know
has a great breakdown, but here are the highlights:
Although there are slight variations amongst types of vehicles, the first part of your VIN (first 3 digits) recognizes the vehicle’s make or manufacturer.
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The next 5 characters describe the specs of your vehicle and will tell the reader what type of vehicle you’re driving (car, truck, van, etc.), the drivetrain, the model, body-style and engine type.
The next three digits all stay the same, no matter the manufacturer:
The ninth character is used to calculate all of the other numbers, so a doctored or mistyped VIN will be identified quickly
- The tenth character stand for the model year
- The eleventh digit represents the plant where the car was manufactured
The last six digits are unique to your vehicle, and help sort out the mass of cars being produced by some manufacturers
Many of these characters use complicated coding to get, for example, the model year of a vehicle down to one digit, so don’t stress about decoding your VIN. Just be glad that you have one.
A VIN tracks the history of every vehicle, so this is what you rely upon when you get a vehicle history report. It will tell you everything that could have possibly gone wrong in your vehicles past, including accidents, title history, how many owners the vehicle has had, and any recalls that are currently affecting your particular vehicle.
Never purchase a vehicle that has a tampered or missing VIN. Only bad can come from this. Even if it seems like a great deal, you are not dealing with an honest seller, and you should look elsewhere.
CashForCars.com uses a vehicle’s VIN to help people looking to sell their cars get a quote
even faster. Although it’s not necessary to have it on hand when you get an official quote, your offer will be more accurate if you are sure of your vehicle’s damage history, trim levels and model year.
Now you know the power of the VIN. Doesn’t it make your car feel just a little more special?