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How to determine a vehicle's manufacture date

Updated July 19, 2017

There are a couple of ways to obtain a vehicle's manufacture date. But there is really only one way to find the month and year the vehicle was made. There is also a minor inconsistency in the automotive industry regarding manufacturing dates. Vehicles manufactured as early as July can be released as the next year's model. Vehicles made in September or later are always applied to the next year.

Locate the tire placard for the vehicle. Most often this is located on the driver's side door jamb. On a few models, it might be located in the glove compartment, on the gas cap door, under the centre console hatch door or on the passenger's side rear door jamb (Ford sedans only). There is a lot of information listed on the tire information placard, but the month and year the car was manufactured will be listed.

Locate the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). VINs are now required by law to be visible on a plate mounted to the driver's side dash just beneath the windshield. This standardised location is to assist police when searching for a specific or stolen vehicle. The 10th digit of the VIN determines what year the model was sold as. Letters were used to determine the year prior to 2000 and will be used again starting in 2010. But from 2000 to 2009, the 10th number of the VIN correlates to the year: 1 for 2001, 2 for 2002 and so on.

Open the bonnet and locate the engine displacement label. This label could be found on the underside of the hood, on the front frame rail, on one side of the frame rail or on a strut tower. This label will also present the model year under the vehicle emission information. Sometimes this label will be faded and unreadable, covered in engine grease build-up or missing if the engine has been replaced or bodywork has been done.

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About the Author

Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.