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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.
- Georgia Department of Revenue: An explanation of where you can find your vehicle identification number.
- Michigan Department of Vehicles: This offers an explanation of how to find your VIN if you do not currently have your car with you.
- Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles: This explains how to find your VIN on your dashboard and with the engine plate in your car. You will need to scroll halfway down the page to find the information.
- New York Department of Motor Vehicles: Photos of where you can find your VIN on your car registration and title.
- Washington State Patrol: An explanation of why your VIN is important and instructions on how to get it inspected.
- Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles: Diagrams that indicate where the Vin would be for a car, truck, trailer or camper.
- California Department of Motor Vehicles: An explanation of the process of having your VIN verified. It also explains how to compare the number on the title to the number in your vehicle.
- Cranston Police Station: A photo of possible locations of the vehicle identification number.
- Oregon Department of Transportation: An explanation of the VIN inspection process, and the cars that must be inspected according to Oregon state law.
- Weber University: A breakdown of the different codes in Toyota vehicle identification numbers and what they mean.
- University of Florida: This is a decoder page for a Mustang’s VIN. This shows the location and explains the numbers.
- Columbia University: Explains how etching the VIN onto different parts of your automobile can help to prevent theft.
- National Insurance Crime Bureau: A tool to look up your VIN to make sure your vehicle was not stolen before you purchase it.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: An article about vehicle identification numbers and using etching to prevent theft.
- Montana Department of Justice: An explanation of the different levels of VIN inspection in Montana.
- Felony to Remove VIN: This explains that it is felony to alter or remove a vehicle identification number under federal law.
- Idaho Transportation Department: This guide talks about dealing with abandoned vehicles, but explains where to find the VIN in a car.
- USA.gov: Discusses how you can use the VIN to research the car’s history before you purchase a used car.
- Pennsylvania Attorney General: A guide to checking a car to see if it was in a flood. It talks about how to use the VIN to make sure your car was not salvaged.
- Toyota.com: Provides a clickable link that will show you were to find your Vin on your registration, title, and various parts of your vehicle.
- Edmunds: This breaks down your VIN and helps you understand the numbers in it.
- Pennsylvania Department of Transportation: This article provides information on VIN tracing.
- SAE International: VIN information for manufacturers of cars and other vehicles.
- CarFax: Offers a VIN check which allows you to see the car’s history and accident reports.
- Ford: This provides information on VINs for For