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VIN Numbers and How to Decipher Them

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of a vehicle is a number that is assigned to a motor vehicle upon production. It consists of 17 characters, a combination of numbers and capital letters unique to each vehicle. Like a fingerprint or social security number, a VIN serves to identify a vehicle throughout its lifespan. VINs were first used in 1954 and have since been used on cars, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds and more.

Where Can You Find Your VIN Number?

 

The VIN on most cars and trucks can be found on the front of the dashboard on the driver’s side. It is most easily viewed through the vehicle’s windshield. It can also be found by opening the driver’s side door and checking the door pillar in the area where the door latches to the vehicle body. More challenging locations to find a VIN include on the front of an engine block and on older cars, the front end of the body frame.

When Are VIN Numbers Used?

VINs are used throughout the life-cycle of a vehicle beginning when it is first produced and shipped to a car dealer. They are used in maintaining inventory for car dealers and are critical in the paperwork when they are initially sold, and each ownership transfer thereafter. They are used to verify the make, model, year and other aspects of the vehicle to government agencies, the Department of Motor Vehicles and to insurance companies. They help determine a vehicle’s history and can also be used to verify that any part purchased is designed to fit a particular vehicle.

What Do the Numbers and Letters Mean?

You can decode your VIN to find out some basic information about your vehicle. VIN decoders can be found online to help decipher your VIN. VINs are designed to show the following information:

1st Character: This indicates the region where the vehicle was produced

2nd & 3rd Character: The manufacturer

4th thru 8th Characters: Shows the brand, engine size, and type

9th Character: Manufacturer security code

10th Character: Model year

11th Character: Manufacturing plant

12th -17th Character: Vehicle serial number

How VINs Protect Owners

VINs protect vehicle owners in a variety of ways, including identifying a vehicle, assuring the title is legal and correct, whether the vehicle has been involved in an insurance claim and even if it has been flooded or repaired to the point of being assigned a “salvage” title.

When acquiring vehicle insurance you will need the VIN number, which will be included on your ID cards and policy.

Your VIN assists our independent agents in securing accurate insurance quotes quickly. By having your VIN number ready when contacting us, it makes the process more efficient. It is our goal to find you the best quote for your particular vehicle. Your VIN can help us accomplish this.

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