As you very well may know, your vehicle is identified by a unique number found on your automobile's dash, windshield, and various other parts. But have you ever given thought as to what these numbers are actually used for? Just what purpose does this number serve? In fact, your car's VIN is used in several very important ways.

What is a VIN?

Every vehicle that is manufactured is given a unique identifying number, referred to as a Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN. This series of 17 alpha-numeric characters is basically your car's automotive fingerprint. It is what distinguishes your particular automobile from all the others, and provides a form of identification that is used throughout the lifetime of your auto, from the factory to the scrap yard......

The VIN is used to track everything related to that automobile, including insurance coverage, warranty claims, thefts, recalls, and registrations. Without the VIN, there would be no effective way to track all of this information.

History of the VIN

The roots of this coding and tracking system can be traced back to the mid 1950's. It is then that Detroit automobile manufacturers began stamping and casting identification numbers into cars and their independent parts. This practice began in an effort to accurately describe vehicles as they began to be produced on a large scale.

In the early 1980's the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration effectively required all automobile manufacturers to provide a 17 digit identification number for every auto produced. This resulted in the modern 17 character VIN in which we are familiar with today, giving every individual vehicle a unique "fingerprint".

VIN Meaning

The VIN on your vehicle is not just a random set of characters, nor are VINs simply sequential. Rather, each individual digit of the VIN has a specific purpose. For example, the first character of the VIN identifies which country the car was manufactured in. If the means of transportation were produced in the United States, the first digit would be a 1 or 4. Japanese cars' VINs begin with a J, Korea with a K, Germany with a G, and so on.

The second character of the VIN identifies the manufacturer. As with the manufacturing country, each manufacturer has a specific character symbolizing it. Chevrolet uses a 1, Chrysler-C, Ford-F, General Motors-G, and Pontiac is identified by a 2 or 5, etc.

The third digit refers to the vehicle type or manufacturing division, and digits 4-8 are known as the Vehicle Descriptor Section, or VDS. This section describes individual attributes of the auto, such as body style, engine type, model, etc.

Each of the 17 VIN characters describes yet another aspect of the automobile it is found on. It is these codes that provide the vehicle identification number, giving your car, truck, motorcycle, or moped its own unique fingerprint.

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Author: Mr. Oliver is a marketing agent of Heat Reward. The auto theft prevention program provides help to eliminate auto theft throughout Virginia. For more information on their Auto Theft Prevention please visit their website.

About Your Vehicle's Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)


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