How to Decode an RV's VIN Number

Written by alan edwards
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How to Decode an RV's VIN Number
RV sales lot (Streamlined Motor Homes image by K. Geijer from

Recreational Vehicle VINs (Vehicle Identification Number) are located in many places on the RV. There are no standard places that manufacturers put them but common places to look are on component parts, such as the engine or frame. Check the "Guarantee & Maintenance" book, radiator support bracket, dash by the windshield, firewall of the vehicle, left-hand inner wheel arch, steering column, driver's door or the post on the passenger side. On late model recreational vehicles you may find it on the left instrumentation panel, the dash plate by the window, the driver's door or post or the firewall.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Flashlight
  • Computer

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  1. 1

    Using the flashlight find the RV's VIN number and write it down.

  2. 2

    Carefully follow the chart below to decode the VIN number.

    1st digit--Country of origin

    2nd digit--Manufacturer

    3rd digit--Make

    4th digit--Line

    5th & 6th digits--Body style

    7th digit--Restraint system

    8th digit--Engine

    9th digit--Check digit

    10th digit--Year

    RVS manufactured after 2000 show numerical designations. For example, 2001=1, 2002=2, etc. Those manufactured before 2001 show alpha designations; for example X=1999, and Y=2000. After 2009 the tenth character will revert back to alpha: 2010=A

    11th digit--Assembly plant

    12th to 17th digits--Sequence number

  3. 3

    Turn on your computer and select your favourite browser. Go to a vin decoder website (see Resources). These sites are free and will give you information on the vehicle for which you enter the VIN. If requested, fill in the CAPTCHA code.

  4. 4

    Wait for the site to return the information on the RV. The report may include information on the serial number, the model name and number, the features on the vehicle and the engine specifications.

Tips and warnings

  • Paid services will provide more information such as if the car was in an accident, if it was stolen and found and how often the vehicle has been sold.

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