VIN Numbers 101: How To Identify Your Vehicle

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    The Ultimate Guide to Your 17 Digit VIN Number

    We all know that cars have a license plate that helps set them apart, but did you know that cars also have something called vehicle identification numbers, or VINs? Well, they do! Every vehicle has a string of 17 digits located on the dashboard that identifies your car. 

    By knowing how to decode your VIN, you can learn a lot about your car.

    How to Read Your Vehicle Identification Numbers 

    VINs are easy to read once you get the hang of it. And, each number in the sequence tells you something different about your vehicle. Don’t know your VIN? Check VIN on

    The first three numbers in your vehicle identification stand for the country or region where the car was made, the manufacturer, and the division of manufacturing. 

    Numbers four through eight are a little more complex; these are used to tell a variety of different specifications about your car, including the weight, platform, model, trim, engine size, or horsepower of the vehicle. 

    The ninth number in your VIN sequence is a calculated digit which simply validates the VIN. It’s chosen using the other digits in the sequence. 

    The tenth number in your car’s VIN specifies the model year of the vehicle and the eleventh number details the plant that the car was manufactured in. 

    The last six numbers in the VIN sequence are your car’s serial number, and help to identify your car to the manufacturer.

    VINs and Crime Prevention

    Did you know that your VIN number can prevent fraud, theft, and missing vehicles? Unfortunately, auto crime is fairly common, and VINs are one of the many ways that police can help recover lost and stolen vehicles or put a stop to vehicle fraud. 

    Vehicle Fraud

    Detectives use VIN numbers to flag suspicious vehicle activity. For example, a car that’s been registered in Florida for the last five years suddenly turns up for registration in California. A week later, the car is being registered in Florida again. This raises an alarm and lets police know that there could be a case of fraud by vehicle cloning. Before purchasing a vehicle, it’s always important to check the VIN on a database such as


    Theft is another big issue facing car owners. The good news is that your VIN can act as a theft deterrent. By etching your VIN onto the windows and the windshield of your vehicle, you make your car easily identifiable, and you make it costly to cover up the crime. 

    On top of that, if you suspect that a car has been stolen, you can ask for the VIN and put it into an auto site like to find out if the vehicle has been reported stolen.

    Don’t Risk It: Know Your VIN

    Knowing or having a record of your VIN is more important than you thought. In case of an accident, missing vehicle report, or theft having your VIN can make the police’s job far easier to help you. A good idea is keeping a photo of your VIN on your phone so that you’re prepared for the worst at all times. Stay safe and learn your VIN!

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