VIN Decoder & VIN Lookup
Use our free VIN check to Decode your Vehicle Identification Number
The vehicle identification number (VIN) is a unique code that contains information about your vehicle. If you want to learn more about your car, then a VIN Decoder or VIN Lookup can be used to locate information on the car’s history, specifications, model year, build plant, and more.
What Is a VIN Number?
The standardized VIN is composed of 17 capital letters and numbers, and just like a snowflake, no two VINs are the same. The 17 digits of the VIN number uniquely identify a vehicle and are given to all vehicles manufactured. The VIN can be used by the DMV, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, and others to identify vehicles and obtain relevant information, such as the vehicle’s title and vehicle history. Information on the car's trim, body style, engine size, vehicle manufacturer, and more can also be obtained from the encoded digits.
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What Does a VIN Search Reveal?
Apart from the information that can be revealed from the letters and numbers of the vehicle’s VIN, a VIN search can decode the information within the VIN and reveal even more about a car. A VIN decoder can be used to obtain a vehicle history report, which can contain data on previous accidents and the car owner's history. A VIN search can also provide data on any recalls as well as any major issues that other cars of the same makes and models often experience.
Where is the VIN number located?
The four key VIN number locations
Where Can You Find the VIN Number on a Car?
Manufacturers often stamp or place the vehicle identification number on multiple locations of the motor vehicle. There are five primary locations to search if you want to find the VIN:
- Driver's Side Dashboard — The easiest way is to look through the windshield near the bottom of the driver's side dashboard. There should be a plate or engraving with the car's VIN.
- Engine Block — Near the front end of the engine block, manufacturers will usually stamp the VIN onto the firewall.
- Driver's Door — Below the door pillar on the driver's side doorjam, there should be a printed sticker that contains information about your vehicle, including the VIN. The sticker should be located below the door latches.
- Spare Tire — Occasionally, the factory will place the VIN underneath where the spare tire is located.
- Rear Wheel Well — Some cars have the VIN stamped on the inside of the driver's side rear wheel well.
- Under the Hood — In addition, it's good advice to check this area; often there's a label called the emissions label that positions the VIN as an example of vehicle information. This label affixed on the underside or inner part of the hood, offers details related to emission controls but also commonly provides the VIN for reference.
How Can a VIN Be Used?
If you want to buy a used car, then the VIN can be used to learn more about the car's title history, past problems, specific parts, and specifications. It can also be used to verify a car's legitimacy. Scammers may try to sell a car that was stolen. In these cases, you can look up that particular vehicle's VIN to verify the owner's identity and see if the vehicle was reported stolen.
However, scammers sometimes replace the car's VIN with a different one. In these cases, the VIN can still be used to see if the information the VIN provides about the vehicle matches the used car you want to buy. It is also important to check for signs of VIN tampering to avoid confusion. When buying passenger cars, especially in the USA, being involved in the industry gives you an upper hand in understanding the intricacies of the purchase process. Damaged or tampered VINs are a red flag, and consumers should be open about asserting their rights before finalizing any purchase.
How to Read a VIN Number?
Our VIN decoder tool can identify specific information encoded in your 17-digit VIN and provide a VIN report with information on your vehicle. Simply enter your vehicle identification number in the field, click the search button, and our VIN decoder will do the rest. You'll receive information on the vehicle's specifications, including its model, manufacturing year, engine type, and more details — along with vital records, such as a vehicle history report and salvage records.
While each manufacturer has their own mathematical formula for determining the VIN for each vehicle, there is still a general format that is followed. The VIN number can be broken down into three main sections:
1. World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI)
The World Manufacturer Identifier consists of the “origin character codes” or the first three characters of the VIN. The WMI code identifies the vehicle’s country of origin, the manufacturer of the car, and the WMI region from which the vehicle was produced.
|A-H||Africa||AA-AH = South Africa|
>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
SA-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
XS-XW = USSR
X3-X0 = Russia
YA-YE = Belgium
YF-YK = Finland
YS-YW = Sweden
ZA-ZR = Italy
1, 4, 5 = United States
2 = Canada
3 = Mexico
6A-6W = Australia
7A-7E = New Zealand
8A-8E = Argentina
8F-8J = Chile
8X-82 = Venezuela
9A-9E, 93-99 = Brazil
9F-9J = Colombia
2. Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS)
The Vehicle Descriptor Section consists of the fourth through ninth characters. This section can vary depending on the manufacturer, but it generally includes the model year character codes and information on the vehicle’s specifications, such as its make, model, engine size, etc. The ninth digit is known as the “check digit” and is used to verify the VIN’s validity.
3. Vehicle Identifier Section (VIS)
The Vehicle Identifier Section consists of the remaining numerals and a serial number used to identify the motor vehicle. This section contains information on the year the vehicle was built and the assembly plant where it was manufactured. It also includes a unique serial number that sets that particular vehicle apart from other cars of the same type.
Model Year Character Codes
Examples of VIN
The numbers and letters within the VIN’s 17-digit code contain a plethora of information. Here are some examples of vehicle identification numbers and the information that they hold:
- 1FTPX14524NB00101 — 2004 Ford F150 1/2 ton P/U 4WD (8 Cylinders 5 5.4L FI SOHC 330 CID)
- 1G1BU51H2HX113345 — 1987 Chevrolet Caprice (8 Cylinders H 5.0L Carburetor OHV 305 CID)
- 1FVACWDU1BHBB3474 — 2011 Freightliner M2 106 (6 Cylinders 6.7L Turbo Dsl OHV 408 CID)
Frequently Asked Questions
Can any vehicle’s VIN be decoded?
Yes. While older models can be a bit more difficult to decode, our VIN decoder has access to a vast database of information and can decode most VIN numbers.
Can you look up vehicle specs by VIN number?
Yes. The VIN does contain specific information on the vehicle’s history and specifications, including its make, model year, trim, vehicle manufacturer, engine type, etc. It can also be used to obtain essential records such as accident history and recalls.
Can I run a VIN check on older vehicles?
Yes. You can run a VIN lookup/check on most cars, old and new, through our VIN decoder.