How to Decode Ford Serial Numbers

Written by stephania m
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How to Decode Ford Serial Numbers
Decode your Ford serial number using a VIN guide. (New Ford Fiesta image by zimous from

Vehicle identification numbers, or VINs, describe many details about a particular vehicle. VINs are useful in a number of situations, such as identifying vehicle repair parts for your Ford or verifying the authenticity of a Ford vehicle that you are planning to purchase. Using a VIN decoder, you can find out what each Ford VIN character means.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Check the first three characters in a VIN number to identify the place or the country of origin, the make and body type. For a Ford, a "1" represents the United States and "F" stands for Ford. The third character will vary, based on the specific body type.

  2. 2

    Check the fourth character to identify the restraint system (such as "B" for active belts in all seating positions).

  3. 3

    Check digits five through seven to identify the line, series and body type (such as "P38" for a Ford Focus ZTS).

  4. 4

    Check digit eight to identify the engine type.

  5. 5

    The ninth digit is a manufacturer check digit.

  6. 6

    Review character 10 to find the model year.

  7. 7

    Look at character 11 to identify the assembly plant.

  8. 8

    The final five digits are the production sequence number.

Tips and warnings

  • Refer to the Stangbanger VIN decoder to identify all possible Ford VIN characters and meanings.

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