What is a car VIN number and what does it consist of?

The introduction of common standards always makes life easier for manufacturers and helps to create projects that help people at one time or another. VIN (Vehicle identification number) is no exception. In 1981, when the United States created unified standards for vehicle identification, improvements were made in many areas involving cars. For example, using the VIN code, you can now view the history of a vehicle in any country, check the vehicle in the theft databases, and more.

Do all cars have a VIN code?

Today, it is difficult to find cars that are authorized for use on public roads and do not have a VIN code. All car manufacturers apply unique codes to their vehicles to allow them to be sold and certified, and moreover, each manufacturer has its own "series". Seeing the first letters of this code, you can understand which brand a particular car belongs to.

VIN code standards

The main standards are:

  • The length of the VIN code is between 5 and 17 characters

  • The letters I, O, Q are not used. According to the standards, they look like numbers, and that is why it was decided not to use them

  • The identification code must contain at least 1 number

  • The VIN code allows you to have Cyrillic letters, namely  Б, Г, Д, Е, Э, Ж, З, И, Л, П, Ф, Ц, Ч, Ш, Щ, Ю, Я

Decoding the VIN code by letters

The VIN code of a car has most of the necessary information for the end user or future buyer. By decoding the code, you can see such information as:

  • Year of manufacture

  • Mark and model

  • Equipment

  • Country of manufacture

Decoding of the VIN code (17 characters):

  • The first 3 letters are WMI (World Manufacturers Identification). These letters are responsible for determining the world manufacturer index

  • The next 6 characters are VDS (Vehicle Description Section). This part of the code is responsible for describing the vehicle according to its construction documentation

  • The last 8 characters are VIS (Vehicle Identification Section). This part contains information about the year of manufacture, serial number of the car and the manufacturing plant

Where is the VIN code in the car?

The most common places for the identification number to be located:

  1. On the windshield. Usually in the lower corner closer to the hood

  2. In the hood space. The VIN code is often located on the body in the hood space

  3. On the middle body pillar. When you open the front door, you can find a label with information about the car, including the VIN code

  4. Under the floor paneling on the front passenger seat. Remove the carpet under the passenger seat and find a rectangular small cutout in the floor. Lift it up and you will see the VIN number cut into the bodywork

  5. Under the arch of the right front wheel. This is the least commonly used option, but if you can't find the information in the previous steps, try under the arch.

Do I need to check the VIN code?

Information is one of the most important aspects of our lives. If you know the right information, you can warn yourself in advance. The same goes for the vin code. If you are planning to buy a car and do not check it, then this purchase can be called a "pig in a poke".

There are many free and paid services that provide not only decryption of car data, but also a possible history. For example, whether the car was involved in an accident, or whether scheduled maintenance was recorded, or whether the car was sold at auction and photos with damage were available, etc. Knowing this information, you will already be 99% sure whether you need this car or not.

Of course, there are different cases, but you just need to know that there are options for checking.