Vehicle identification number

What is a vehicle identification number?

A vehicle identification number, or VIN, is the number that the manufacturer assigns to a vehicle. It appears on the vehicle’s title and registration form.

Deeper definition

You can identify an automobile by its vehicle identification number, as no two vehicles have the same number. Look at the car’s driver-side doorjamb, engine bay firewall or beneath the driver-side windshield to find the number.

The number consists of a combination of 17 numerals and letters. Vehicle experts compare it to a Social Security number for automobiles. You cannot change the VIN number. Once the manufacturer assigns the number, it stays with the vehicle forever.

Car buyers can use the vehicle identification number to receive more information about a vehicle’s history. Some of the events that the vehicle identification number traces are:

  • Repairs.
  • Service visits.
  • Changes in ownership.
  • Changes in the type of title.

Multiple companies track events traceable to vehicle identification numbers. If you want to learn more about an automobile, request a vehicle history report from the following:

  • Carfax.
  • AutoCheck.
  • The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System.

Though it seems like the numbers and letters that compose your vehicle identification number are random, a formula actually dictates their order. The first three digits indicate who made the vehicle; they are known as the world manufacturer identifier.

You can use these digits to identify that car’s manufacturer, country of origin, and the manufacturer division that made the car. Digits four through nine reveal the car’s model, body type, transmission type, engine code and restraint system.

The digits that compromise spots 10 through 17 reveal the year, make and model of the vehicle.

Vehicle identification number example

When it is time to purchase a new vehicle, use your potential purchase’s vehicle identification number to learn more about the car. For example, assume that you are ready to purchase a 2015 Honda Accord. You decide to run the vehicle identification number to secure a vehicle history report. Through the report, you learn that the vehicle was involved in a major accident that required extensive structural repairs. Information connected to the vehicle identification number helps you make an informed buying decision.

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