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How to tell paint colour by the VIN

Updated July 20, 2017

If you'd like to know the original paint colour of a vehicle to repaint or touch up scrapes, one of the ways to find out is by looking up the Vehicle Identification Number, more commonly referred to as a VIN. The VIN is a 17-digit number that can tell you practically all of the information about a car, such as make, prior reported accidents and colour code. The dealership will be able to determine the paint code based on the VIN.

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  1. Locate the VIN on the vehicle. The VIN is usually screwed in to the dashboard near the base of the windshield on the interior of the vehicle. Write down the 17-digit code.

  2. Note what make your vehicle is; it will be somewhere on your car (if you don't know it). Look for symbols or badges on the boot of the vehicle, such as VW for Volkswagen or T for Toyota.

  3. Call the dealership associated with the make of your vehicle and let them know you'd like to be told the colour code of your vehicle.

  4. Read them your VIN. Each number or group of numbers can tell you a certain aspect of the vehicle. The groupings and number meanings differs from make to make, so there is no universal way of finding out your paint code. The VIN will not have the exact colour code, but the dealership will be able to find out the exact colour based on the VIN.

  5. Obtain the paint code from the vehicle dealership representative. They may simply read you the actual paint code. If you'd just like to know the colour of the paint, then ask for the colour as well as the code. Once you've obtained the paint code, then you can look up the code on various automotive paint websites in order to purchase the proper touch-up or body paint.

  6. Tip

    If you can't find the VIN, you can call your local dealership for help. A representative will be able to help you find the VIN, as long as you have the year, make and model of the vehicle.

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Things You'll Need

  • Vehicle Identification Number
  • Telephone

About the Author

Aaron Wein is a copy editor for Skagit Valley Publishing. He has been a writer and editor since 2004, contributing to Washington-based publications and clients such as the "Bellingham Herald," "Western Athletics," "GNAC Sports" and Microsoft. Wein obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism from Western Washington University.

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