What exactly are VIN codes?


Your car’s VIN or Vehicle Identification Number, is unique to your car. It is a series of letters and numbers that act as your car’s fingerprint. VIN’s track changes in ownership, problems with the car, and help to stop theft. VINs can also help you find out about the history of a used car.


Vehicle Identification Numbers are 17 numbers and letters that can be found on each truck, car, or trailer manufactured after 1981 in the US. VINs can be located on the driver’s side dashboard and can be seen through the windshield. It can also be found on the inside of the driver’s side door on a sticker. It is sometimes found in the car’s glove compartment and is always on titles and insurance papers.



The DMV tracks valuable information, such as the VIN, when the car passed inspection, when it was sold, and whether it’s been a major accident or flood.  All of this information is crucial for future sales, or in the event of a lawsuit.


The US’s current VIN system was set up in 1981 by the United States Department of Transportation. A specific meaning is assigned to each letter and number in a VIN and VINs come in certain sections. The first section of 3 numbers and letters, lets you know things about the manufacturer.


  1. The first character tells you what country the vehicle originated in. If the car was assembled containing parts from different countries, this digit lets you know exactly where the car was assembled.
  2. The next digit represents the manufacturer of the vehicle. In the United States, the Society for Automotive Engineers issues manufacturer codes.
  3. The third digit represents the vehicle type


Your car’s VIN tells a lot about your car and serves you in many ways. It is important, therefore, that you know where to find your VIN, both on your car, and on documents.