Every car that is manufactured has a vehicle identification number (VIN). The VIN is a group of numbers and letters that gives information about the car, from make and model to where and by whom it was manufactured. Every part of the number is essential to identifying a car.
- Skill level:
Find the VIN where the right side of the windshield meets the dashboard.
Split the number into specific parts. The first digit is the country where the car was made--"J" for Japan, "U" for the United States, etc. The second digit is the manufacturer, such as a "T" for Toyota. The third digit is the type of car, such as passenger car or truck.
Find the next two digits, which indicate the make of the car. For example, a sedan is a 53, and a 12 is a minivan with a raised roof.
Find the next two or three digits, which indicate the make of the engine. For example, "S" is a two-speed, three-speed or four-speed; "2" is for a 2-liter, 3-liter or 4-litre.
Find the two or three digits that indicate the model of the car. These letter combinations have nothing to do with the make or model name; they are merely codes for the model. The code "BUT" represents Supra.
Find the next three digits, which represent the model code (a company specific code) and the check digit (to verify that the VIN is correct and not faked).
Find the next two digits, which indicate the year it was made, and the last two digits are the plant where it was manufactured.
Find the last set of digits, which is the manufacturer's serial number for the car.
Tips and warnings
- When writing down the VIN, write it twice to make sure you have it correctly.
- If you can't find your number, there should be one on the back window, as well as inside the driver's side door.
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