How to Decode Volvo VIN Engine Codes

Written by christina sloane
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How to Decode Volvo VIN Engine Codes
The letters and numbers on a VIN code tell a lot about your vehicle. (volvo xc 70 image by Harald Soehngen from

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a standardised number that codes information about your car's model, country, year and other variables. The 17-digit VIN number is located on the windshield of your car, while the engine's VIN number is an abbreviated number which should share the last six digits of the longer VIN number.

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  1. 1

    Locate the 17-digit VIN number on the windshield of the driver's side of your Volvo. Write it down and compare it to your engine's VIN number. If the last six digits match, your engine is the original engine, and you can find out information about your car from the longer VIN number.

  2. 2

    Look at the first character in the VIN number to find information about the country in which your vehicle was manufactured; 1 or 4 for the United States, 2 for Canada, 3 for Mexico, J for Japan, K for Korea, S for England, W for Germany and Z for Italy.

  3. 3

    Look at the second character in the VIN number to verify that it is a "V" for Volvo.

  4. 4

    Look up the 3rd through 9th characters in the VIN number using an ID number catalogue or an online resource such as Vin Power or Vehicle Identification Numbers (in the Resource section) to determine information such as the car's vehicle type, engine type, features and attributes.

  5. 5

    Determine the year by checking the 10th character. Numbers 1 through 9 refer to the years 1971 to 1979 or 2001 to 2009, while the letters A through Y (excluding the letters I, O, Q and U) refer to the years 1980 to 1999. 2010 is also A.

  6. 6

    Look at the 11th character to determine the assembly plant for the vehicle, and the 12th through 17th characters to check the order in which your specific car came off of the production line.

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