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How to Check the Engine Number

Updated February 21, 2017

Some cars produced before 1954 don't have a prominently displayed vehicle identification number (VIN). To register these cars with the department of motor vehicles, you need to have the engine number, also known as the motor number. The engine number also may be useful if you are replacing the engine or are considering purchasing another engine for a particular vehicle. The engine number indicates the size of the engine, where and when the engine was manufactured and the identification number.

Raise the hood of the vehicle, and prop it up securely.

Locate the engine block, which is the main part of the engine that contains spark plugs and the oil cap.

Look for the engine number stamped somewhere on the top of the block. The exact location varies by vehicle. For example, many Hondas display the engine number on top of the block, on the driver's side. On some older Chevys, the engine ID is stamped on the right side of the cylinder head or on the passenger side of the block behind the distributor.

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About the Author

Si Kingston has been an online content contributor since 2004, with work appearing on websites such as MadeMan. She is a professional screenwriter and young-adult novelist and was awarded the Marion-Hood Boesworth Award for Young Fiction in 2008. Kingston holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.