Leland-West Insurance

Interpreting Your VIN Number

General Topics:

A vehicle identification number tells you about your car, where it was made, and the year it was made. It is also used to identify your car if it is stolen as well as to track salvaged and destroyed cars. The vehicle registration number can be found on your title and registration information. It is also in your car, on a plate at the front of the dashboard, inside the engine block and towards the front of the frame of the car.

Understanding Your VIN

Once you have found your VIN you can use the codes in the number to determine information about your car. The VIN is a seventeen-digit number. The first three numbers are the World Manufacturer’s Identification. The next five numbers are the Vehicles Description Section. The ninth number is a number used to verify the other information in the code up to this point. This number is the result of an equation designed by the transportation part. The last seven digits are the Vehicle Identification Section.

World Manufacturer’s Identification (WMI)

The WMI identifies where the vehicle was made, and who built it. The first digit may be a letter or a number, but each letter or number represents a specific country where the car was built. The second number or letter identifies the make of the car, such as Chrysler or Saturn. The last number indicates the type of the car it is.

Vehicle Description Section (VDS)

The VDS indicates the type of systems in your car. It contains information about the engine type and body of the car. It also contains safety information for the car such as the braking system used. These numbers can help a car mechanic determine what type of parts to use in your car. This system makes it easy to track the features of specific car models.

Vehicle Identification Section (VIS)

This section gives more specific information about the car. The first two numbers list where and when the car was built. The last six digits are the car’s serial number. This is a specific number unique to your vehicle. In reality there will be many cars that have very similar vehicle identification numbers to yours, but the last six digits will be different. This makes it possible to tell your car apart from another one.

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Article by
Matt Robertson
Matt is the Managing Partner at Leland-West Insurance Brokers, Inc. He started with the firm while still a college student, way back in 1984. According to Matt his only remaining hobby is Motorsport ... because its all he can afford ("will work for tires"). Reach him at matt@lelandwest.com