News Find the VIN for a Car

Find the VIN for a Car


There are a lot of numbers associated with owning a car. The license plate number, the year a car was made and the VIN or vehicle identification number. There are various times when an automobile owner will need to find the VIN for a car.

Every automobile is assigned a vehicle identification number in the factory where it is made. This is a 17 digit number that is comprised of a combination of numbers and letters. The 17 different characters of the VIN on a car can be used for a number of reasons. The number may be used by auto insurance companies that cover a car, factory warranties that cover automobiles, theft of a car or auto recalls. The vehicle identification number for an automobile is located several different places on a car.

Find the VIN for a car on the dashboard

Inside of a car the VIN number is located in more than one place. The vehicle identification number is stamped on a small rectangle shaped piece of steel and fastened to the vehicle. Find the VIN or vehicle identification number on the dashboard of every vehicle. Simply check the dashboard on the driver’s side of the vehicle for the 17 digit unique identifier known as the VIN.

The easiest way to read the VIN is found on the dashboard through the car’s front windshield.

Find the VIN for a car inside of the car door

Inside of the car door post is another place to find a car vehicle identification number. The door post, where the door latches when closed of the driver’s side door has the VIN displayed.

Other places to find the VIN besides a car

There are other places to find a VIN besides a car. The automobile insurance card or title and registration are other places to find the VIN

What a VIN number looks like

The VIN number is always 17 characters long. There are only two reasons why a VIN is not 17 characters long

a) The car was made prior to 1981. Cars manufactured prior to 1981 have a vehicle identification number that is 11 characters long
b) Writing the number down wrong will produce a VIN that is not 17 characters long

These are the only two situations where a vehicle identification number will not be a combination of 17 numbers and letters. Additionally, a VIN will not be all characters or all numbers. It must be a combination of both.

What the 17 digits of a VIN mean

The 17 characters contained in an automobile’s vehicle identification number are not assigned at random; there is actual meaning for each character.

1st character-identifies where the automobile was constructed
2nd and 3rd character-the manufacturer for the automobile
4th through 8th characters-the vehicles brand along with the engine size and type
9th character-security code that says the VIN has been authorized by the car manufacturer
10th character-model year of the automobile
11th character-location of the auto plant that built the car
Final 6 characters-a serial number to identify the vehicle from all others

This is how to find the VIN for your car and what the 17 characters of a vehicle identification number means for an automobile.

Find the VIN for a Car
General Contributor
Janice is a writer from Chicago, IL. She created the "simple living as told by me" newsletter with more than 12,000 subscribers about Living Better and is a founder of Seekyt.

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