Real car enthusiasts or those, somehow involved in automotive industry, will provide an immediate answer to a bit confusing question “What does VIN number mean?”. Let’s be honest: very few of us have time and desire to puzzle out the meaning of perplexing automotive terms like the mentioned. However, it doesn’t require a degree to figure out, what VIN is, and its primary purpose. We can assure you: after reading this article, you’ll get it.
VIN is an abbreviation for “Vehicle Identification Number”, so there is no need to say “number” after “VIN”. It is presented as a unique, highly structured code, which identifies a particular vehicle. A 17-character sequence contains various combinations, and seems incomprehensible at first sight. Most people perceive VIN as just a random series of digits, however, each of them bears a special meaning. Obviously, you will fail to find two vehicles with the same VIN, as each code provides essential characteristics, specifications and features of a certain vehicle.
Thanks to VIN check, law enforcement representatives are able to carry out their investigations. It’s a common practice of the police inspector to examine vehicle VIN during roadside inspection. At some point, you may also have a desire to check your VIN, purely out of interest. But when it comes to buying a second-hand vehicle, VIN check is no longer just satisfying of one’s curiosity, but much more serious matter. Hardly anyone wants be ripped off in a purchase, so revealing concrete history details by VIN is a guaranteed way to make sure you aren’t. Undoubtedly, before the purchase each vehicle should be inspected physically, but if you know the VIN, you can easily check a vehicle history distantly, at any time and in any place.
Besides a number of documents, such as registration, service records, insurance policy, sales agreement, title, VIN can be detected on a vehicle itself. The 2 common places for it are: the dashboard on driver's side (better seen from the outside) and the door jamb, also on the side of a driver. It depends on vehicle’s price and year of production, what the VIN will look like. It may be a piece of aluminum, or a plastic tag. Still, if you have problems with locating VIN, consult your vehicle manual or request your dealership (or even vehicle manufacturer) for guidance. Once you manage to know your VIN characters, you should record/remember them, as this information will be helpful in a number of situations.
For some purposes, it’s useful to check VINs of old vehicles: whether it’s a nostalgia or a strong desire to find the vehicle you once owned, business matter or obtaining number of a special edition vehicle. No matter, how many years old the vehicle is, it’ll be always useful to learn as many history details as possible. The difficulties may arise, when you start locating VIN of old cars or trucks. Sometimes, stickers and plates with a VIN code can be missing. But there always exists another way to obtain VIN number - to look for it in these documents:
Many people are unsure if there is any difference between VIN decoder and vehicle history report. Both provide valuable automotive information, but there is a difference: in core functionality of data providers and the data itself.
The function of VIN decoder is to extract the information from the 17-character VIN code. In other words, to decipher all these numbers and letters to get basic details about vehicle, such as year, make, model, engine, body, etc.
As for vehicle history reports, they include additional details of vehicle history, and let obtain the details like number of previous owners, mileage reading, damage and auto auction records, and much more.
The ability to read VIN characters turns out to be an invaluable life-hack. In VIN each character has its own separate meaning. Moreover, altogether they compose particular sections, giving information on a vehicle manufacturing company, a model year and a vehicle description. Revealing all the hidden information by deciphering the 17-character code is known as VIN decoding. It’s not as weird as it seems, even despite the fact that letters and numerals, included in VIN, can create almost any combination. So let's finally get this sorted out. If to view the VIN elements separately, they’re subdivided into 3 basic groups:
Any of us can become a VIN decoding expert. To make VIN decoding process even easier and faster, you can use an online decoder. There are lots of online services, which provide basic VIN decoding. Some of them require payment, while others, like TrustVIN service, will help you decipher VIN characters for free and within seconds!