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How to Determine Year by the VIN on a Kawasaki

Updated February 21, 2017

Kawasaki is a manufacturer of motorcycles, ATVs, watercraft and various utility vehicles. This company is over 100 years old and has set the standard for small personal vehicles. Like any vehicles which are allowed on the roads, all Kawasakis have a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). This number gives each vehicle its own code that can be used to determine vehicle history and ownership. All of the digits of the VIN number have some sort of meaning, and you can actually determine the year of the vehicle by knowing what each digit of the VIN number means.

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  1. Locate the VIN number on the side of the steering head or on the Safety Certification Label, which is usually on or near the steering head.

  2. Count the digits until you reach the 10th one. This is the year designator. This number will be either 1 through 9 or A through Y (excluding I, O, Q and U).

  3. Determine the year of the motorcycle. VIN years started in 1971 with the number "1", then went to "2" in 1972, "3" in 1973, and so on. In 1980, the digit switched to "A" and then went through the alphabet until it got back to "1" in 2001 and then "A" in 2010. Therefore, if the 10th digit is "R," you can determine your bike was made in 1994.

  4. Warning

    Double check the number a couple of times to get the right digit. VIN numbers are long and have check digits interwoven among the information digits to ensure the vehicle is not stolen.

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Things You'll Need

  • Kawasaki motorcycle

About the Author

R.L. Cultrona is a San Diego native and a graduate of San Diego State University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater, television and film with a minor in communications and political science. She began writing online instructional articles in June 2009.

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