Car vin number lookup

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Decode the VIN

If you're like most people, you probably think a vehicle identification number (VIN) is just a series of random characters. Actually, each character in this highly structured code has its own meaning. In fact, deciphering these codes is a hobby for some car enthusiasts, including collectors who want to own one of the first or last cars to come off an assembly line.

When you're considering purchasing a pre-owned vehicle, it's always a good idea to obtain a vehicle history report (VHR) or VIN check. Knowing how to read the VIN could help you make an informed decision before you buy.

Decoding a Sample VIN

The infographic below provides a simplified look at a sample VIN. Keep in mind that vehicles manufactured before might have fewer characters than today's standard VIN of 17 characters.

vin branded

Model Year & Country Codes

As shown above, the 10th character of the VIN indicates its model year.

  • A: or
  • B: or
  • C: or
  • D: or
  • E: or
  • F: or
  • G: or
  • H: or
  • J: or
  • K: or
  • L: or
  • M:
  • N:
  • P:
  • R:
  • S:
  • T:
  • V:
  • W:
  • X:
  • Y:
  • 1:
  • 2:
  • 3:
  • 4:
  • 5:
  • 6:
  • 7:
  • 8:
  • 9:

Country of Origin Character Codes

The 1st character in a car's vehicle identification number indicates the country in which it was manufactured.

Some of the country codes include:

  • 1, 4, 5: United States
  • 2: Canada
  • 3A Mexico
  • J: Japan
  • VF-VR: France
  • 9: Brazil
  • WA-W0: West Germany
  • S: Great Britain

VIN Decoder & Lookup

What is a VIN Number (Vehicle Identification Number)?

How many characters:17 (digits and capital letters)
Where to find:Dashboard on the driver's side
First digit stands for:Country of manufacturer

A vehicle identification number (VIN) is a unique code assigned to every motor vehicle when it's manufactured. The VIN is a character string of letters and numbers without intervening spaces or the letters Q (q), I (i), and O (o); these are omitted to avoid confusion with the numerals 0 and 1. Each section of the VIN provides a specific piece of information about the vehicle, including the year, country, and factory of manufacture; the make and model; and the serial number. VINs are usually printed in a single line.

How to Find the Vehicle's VIN Number

On most passenger cars, you may find the VIN number on the front of the dashboard on the driver's side. The best way to see it is to look through the windshield from outside the car. You may also find the VIN number on the driver's side door pillar. Open the door and look around the area where the door latches to the car. A motorcycle's VIN is usually on the steering neck below the handlebars, although sometimes it's on the motor or on the frame near the motor. A semitrailer's VIN is located on the front part of the semitrailer on the left side.

If you can't find the VIN number on the vehicle, you should also be able to locate it on your vehicle's title or liability insurance documents.

How to Use the VIN Decoder to Do a VIN Number Check

Enter your vehicle's character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in the field above to look up and receive an instant report on its manufacturer, brand, make and model, body style, engine size, assembly plant, and model year. The information is provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from the data submitted by the manufacturers to NHTSA. The VIN Decoder lookup is intended for use with vehicles manufactured since If your vehicle was made before , the VIN will most likely contain 11 characters.

How to Decode the Vehicle Identification Number

Wondering what all the characters in your vehicle's VIN stand for?

Why the VIN Is Important

There are situations in which you will want to check a vehicle's VIN, since many data registries use it to record details of the vehicle's history. If you're interested in buying a used car, you can do a VIN lookup to get the vehicle history report and find records of its previous owners, accidents, and repairs. You can also find out if the manufacturer had ever issued a recall of the vehicle and whether those repairs were made. Finally, law enforcement agencies do a VIN check to identify vehicles that have been stolen.

Model Year Character Codes


World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI): Country of Origin Character Codes

The first three characters of every VIN number uniquely identify the manufacturer of the vehicle. This is called the World Manufacturer Identifier or WMI code.

A-HAfricaAA-AH = South Africa
J-RAsia>J = Japan
KL-KR = South Korea
L = China
MA-ME = India
MF-MK = Indonesia
ML-MR = Thailand
MS = Myanmar
PA-PE = Philippines
PL-PR = Malaysia
RF-RG = Taiwan
S-ZEuropeSA-SM = United Kingdom
SN-ST, W = Germany
SU-SZ = Poland
TA-TH = Switzerland
TJ-TP = Czech Republic
TR-TV = Hungary
TW = Portugal
VA-VE = Austria
VF-VR = France
VS-VW = Spain
VX-V2 = Yugoslavia
XL-XM = The Netherlands
X3-X0 = Russia
YA-YE = Belgium
YF-YK = Finland
YS-YW = Sweden
ZA-ZR = Italy
North America1, 4, 5 = United States
2 = Canada
3 = Mexico
Oceania6A-6W = Australia
7A-7E = New Zealand
South America8A-8E = Argentina
8F-8J = Chile
8X = Venezuela
9A-9E, = Brazil
9F-9J = Colombia

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Be Smart, Check in Advance. CARFAX — Your Vehicle History.

CARFAX — Your Vehicle History Expert

Sometimes what you don't know can't hurt you, but that's not the case when buying a used car. As an independent vehicle history provider, at CARFAX we've made it our mission to tell you everything you need to know by uncovering as many events as possible from the previous life of a used car. Our primary goal is to help you get to know your next car from the inside out before deciding to make an investment that will be part of you and your family's everyday life. We believe your next car shouldn't be hiding anything from you.

CARFAX Vehicle History Reports contain over 28 billion historical records from 20 European countries, the US and Canada, which are updated daily with new information.

Even if you live in a country we don't collect vehicle data from, it's still always worth checking the Vehicle Identification Number without obligation. The used car import and export market is booming and many owners would be surprised to find out exactly what happened to their vehicle during its previous life abroad.

Privacy for Customers — Transparency over Vehicles

Let's be clear: Although we strive to find every detail of a vehicle's life so far, we are focused only on the vehicle's history, and do not collect any information on previous owners. The information we provide relates solely to the vehicle, its odometer reading, any accidents that have been covered up, where the vehicle comes from and much more — it never gets personal. We've uncovered irreparable damage several times in the past, but other times our vehicle history checks draw a blank — and sometimes that's actually a good thing.

Second Hand — Not Second Best

Did you know that considerably more used cars are sold than new cars? We think this second-hand system is nothing short of fantastic. However, it goes without saying that it gives rise to different methods and tactics: Some sellers will disguise a car that's been in an accident under a fresh coat of paint, tamper with the odometer or conceal theft. This is one of the less appealing aspects of buying second hand. Our goal is to establish trusting relationships between buyers and sellers, since this is the best way to help customers make the right decision. Your new car should be reliable and make you feel safe, as well as make you feel like you haven't paid too much.

But more than anything else, we don't want you or your family unknowingly sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle that isn't % safe. This is why we strive to take these vehicles off the road, which not only makes the used car market safer but our streets safer too.

CARFAX — 35+ Years of Experience in Vehicle Histories

CARFAX was founded in the US in and expanded into Europe in Around team members spread across six European offices process vehicle information from 22 countries.

Fostering strategic partnerships with registration authorities, law enforcement agencies, government departments, insurance companies, inspection centers and numerous other leading companies around the world has enabled us to compile a unique international database for vehicle histories. We use this database to help make the used car market more transparent. We give everyone in the process of buying a used car access to what is currently the world's most comprehensive source for vehicle history reports, and is growing day by day.

We remain neutral and independent despite our partnerships — our sole purpose is help customers make an informed choice and ensure their safety and the safety of their family. This includes never collecting any personal details — we do not accept any PII from data sources amongst the information we provide about a vehicle. We ensure that data protection laws are observed at all times. Furthermore, we always collect our data in compliance with legal and regulatory frameworks — in all the countries in which we are active. We expressly distance ourselves from illegal activities such as data theft, scraping and hacking.

How to decode car chassis number or VIN vehicle identification number - - 2020 -

The first three digits are the world manufacturer identifier, indicating where the vehicle was built and what type of vehicle it is. The next five characters are the vehicle descriptor section, which breaks down the vehicle's brand, engine size and type. The final nine characters are the vehicle identifier section. The first is a security code to prove that the VIN is valid. The next indicates model year: The format started with B for , C for and so on. In car manufacturers switched to numbers, with 1 signifying , 2 signifying and so on through In the format switched back to letters, using A for , B for and so on. This will continue through The letters I, O, Q, U and Z are not used in a VIN. The next character indicates the car's factory code, which is determined by each manufacturer. The final six act as the car's serial number, and are unique to each manufacturer but usually indicate the order in which the vehicle came off the plant's assembly line. For example, the th such vehicle off the line will likely include the number in the VIN.


Number lookup vin car

If you own a vehicle or a motorcycle you have probably heard of the term 'VIN.' Although a car's VIN provides important information, many people may not exactly be sure what this acronym stands for or when they are actually supposed to make use of it. In this article, we provide some clarity on what a VIN is, how you can do a VIN # lookup, and what information you can obtain by decoding it.

What is a VIN?

VIN is short for Vehicle Identification Number. Every car receives a unique code when it's manufactured, which serves as a car's distinctive identifier or fingerprint. explains that a VIN is normally printed on a single line and consists of 17 characters that are made up of both numbers and letters. If your vehicle was manufactured before , your VIN number may have fewer than 17 characters.

To prevent people from accidentally misreading the letters Q, I, and O for 1s or 0s, these letters are not included in the character string. The VIN characters aren't random. They actually provide useful information about the vehicle, for instance, the year, country, make and model, serial number, and factory where the car was manufactured.

How Do I Find My VIN on My Car or Motorcycle?

Depending on the car you're driving, the VIN can be located in different places. Many passenger cars feature the VIN number on the dashboard in front of the driver. If you're having difficulty viewing this area clearly from inside the vehicle, you may have better luck if you step outside of the car and look at the dashboard through the windscreen.

If you cannot see the VIN there, suggests that it may be located on the side door pillar on the driver's side, and more specifically, where the door connects to the body of the car. Other possible locations include on the inside of the hood or on the engine.

If you're a motorcycle owner, you may find the VIN on the motor or on the frame in the vicinity of the motor. It may also be located on the steering neck in the area beneath the handlebars. If you're having problems with finding your VIN number, you can also consult your vehicle's title or liability insurance documents, as this information will be included.

You should note that only motorized vehicles that are registered with state DMVs carry a VIN number. This means that a bicycle, for instance, won't come with a VIN number. Your bike will feature a serial number, though, which you can use to register it with your local municipality. As all-terrain vehicles like four- or three-wheelers are motorized, they will come with a VIN that's typically displayed somewhere on the frame.

How to Decode Your VIN

If you're curious or need to access the information that your VIN provides, you can do a VIN check. To do so, Vin Check says you should simply search for a VIN decoder online and enter your VIN there. VIN information is collected by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) from manufacturers who submit this data to the organization. Here is a breakdown of what the different characters in the VIN represent:

  • First character: This represents the country in which the vehicle was manufactured.
  • Second character: This character indicates the manufacturer's name.
  • Third character: With this character, you can find out what the vehicle type or division is.
  • Fourth to eighth character: This range of characters tells you more about your vehicle, for instance, the engine size and type, vehicle brand, model, series, and body style.
  • Ninth character: This character provides you with the security check digit.
  • Tenth character: Here you can view your vehicle's model year.
  • Eleventh character: This character informs you of the assembly plant where your car was produced.
  • Twelfth to seventeenth character: This range of characters provide you with your vehicle's serial number.

A VIN decoder lookup will only work for vehicles that were made after , as models that were produced before that time feature a VIN that probably consists of only 11 characters, which means that modern VIN decoders will not recognize the character string.

An Example of Model Year Codes

From, to provide you with an idea of how you will be able to link a character to specific information, here is an example that illustrates how different letters of the alphabet point to different model years.


B M 1 B L

C N 2 C M

D P 3 D N

E R 4 E O

F S 5 F P

G T 6 G Q

H V 7 H R

J W 8 I S

K X 9 J T

Why Are VINs important?

You may be wondering what the uses of VINs are. In fact, VINs are quite important and provide valuable information about your vehicle that you may need to access from time to time. Here are a few examples of times when a VIN may come in handy:

  • Buying a used car: If you're considering investing in a used car, it is important to do your homework to ascertain whether it would be a good investment or not. states that by doing a VIN lookup you can access valuable information about the second-hand car, including records of previous owners, accidents, and repairs. You can also find out whether the vehicle was ever recalled and what steps the manufacturer took to rectify the problem.
  • Auto shops: Vehicle repair shops often use VINs when servicing cars to gather information about, for instance, engine, brake, and transmission systems.
  • Law enforcement: Law enforcement agencies use VINs when identifying stolen vehicles, as number plates are often removed by perpetrators.

A VIN does not only serve as a unique identifier but also provides valuable information about your vehicle that can come in handy in many situations, for instance, when you're purchasing a used vehicle, want to claim from insurance, or need to have parts replaced.

Information and research in this article verified by ASE-certified Master Technician Duane Sayaloune of For any feedback or correction requests please contact us at [email protected].


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Smart car vin number lookup vehicle identification number is the first thing you should do

Free VIN Check in 3 Easy Steps

Watch out for these issues revealed by over , free vehicle history reports.

  • 1 in every 5 cars is a SALVAGED car
  • 1 in every 15 cars is REBUILT
  • 1 in every 25 cars has been involved in an ACCIDENT
  • 1 in every 50 cars has a TAMPERED ODOMETER
  • 1 in every cars has been DAMAGED BY FLOOD

What is a vehicle identification number (VIN)?

The VIN is the car’s fingerprint, a unique vehicle identifier composed of 17 characters (digits and capital letters). Each section of the VIN stands for the car’s unique features, specifications and make and model, and other information.

Where can I find the VIN number?

You can find the VIN outside the vehicle by looking at the dashboard on the driver’s side or on a sticker on the door jamb of the driver’s door. The VIN is also written on the title, the vehicle registration, and insurance documents.

What if my VIN doesn’t decode?

Make sure that you copied all the 17 number-and-letter combination of the VIN correctly. Check if it includes the letters O (o), I (i), and Q (q). The standard format does not include these letters to avoid confusion with numerals 0, 1, and 9).

Who is a vehicle report for?

A vehicle history report is basically for buyers as well as sellers of used cars. As a car owner, you may want to have a vehicle history report you can present to a buyer if you want to sell your car.  If you want to buy a used car, you’d want to run a VIN check to make sure it did not have any major issues in the past.

What is included in a free vehicle history report?

The free vehicle history report is a comprehensive page report that offers critical details on a used car collated from industry and government sources. Basically, it presents a used car’s past and current condition: vehicle specifications, equipment details, and the NMVTIS Report. It also includes value-added features such as market value, fuel efficiency, safety rating, inspection checklist, recalls and defects, and auto insurance information.


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