How Do You Interpret the VIN Number of a Volkswagen?

Written by caleb schulte
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Volkswagen is a German manufacturer of automobiles, whose products are offered worldwide. They are known for their renowned German engineering, offered at economy prices. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a small plate that can be found in the corner of the front windshield that is a code for information pertaining to the particular vehicle in which it is located. Knowing how to read the VIN will allow you to interpret what the code means.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Look at the first three digits in the VIN number. The first digit listed is the country of origin, which is where the vehicle was imported from. This digit can be "3" for Mexico, "W" for Europe and "9" for Brazil. Determine the manufacturer from the second digit. Vehicles produced in Brazil are represented by a "B," and all others are represented by a "V." The vehicle type is listed as the third digit. The passenger car is listed as a "W," and the SUV is listed as a "G."

  2. 2

    Look to the fourth and fifth digits of the VIN. The fourth digit represents the series of the vehicle. The series dictates the model of vehicle and a detailed list of everything included within the package that comes included with it. The engine litre and horsepower size is denoted by the fifth digit. Contact your local VW dealer to discover what these digits denote.

  3. 3

    Look to digit number six, which is a reference to the type of restraint system. The restraint system is made up of air bags within the vehicle. Contact your local VW dealer to discover what this digit represents.

  4. 4

    Look to digit numbers seven and eight to determine the VW model that the vehicle is. The models digits are "7L" for the Touareg, "1C" for the New Beetle, "1Y" for the Convertible New Beetle, "3C" for the Passat, "3D" for Phaeton, "1K" for the Jetta and "1J" for the Golf/GTI.

  5. 5

    Determine the check digit by looking at the ninth digit position. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) assigns a code from "0 to 9" or "X" to ensure the validity of a complete VIN.

  6. 6

    To find the year of the VW, look to the tenth digit. This digit is an alphanumeric cycle "1" through "9," followed by "A" through "Y" with the omission of letters "I," "O," "Q," and "U." The years 1971 through 1979 were represented by the numbers 1 through 9, before switching to the letters for years 1980 through 2000. For years 2001 through 2009, the switch was made back to the numbers 1 through 9, before switching back to the letter system in 2010.

  7. 7

    Discover the assembly plant by looking to the eleventh digit. Your VW was put together at one of eight assembly plants. The codes are "4" for Curitiba, "W" for Wolfsburg, "P" for Mosel, "H" for Hannover, "M" for Mexico, "8" for Dresden, "E" for Emden and "D" for Bratislava.

  8. 8

    Look to the last six digits. Digits 12 through 17 are representative of the vehicle's serial number. These digits are always numeric and are sequential to the order that they rolled off the production line.

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