Where’s Your Car Been? VIN Number Tells All

Vehicle Identification Numbers, or VIN for short, are essentially the serial number for your car. They consist of a combination of 17 letters and numbers and tell you everything from what country the car was produced in to what model year your car is. VIN numbers have three parts essentially, the World Manufacturer Identifier, the Vehicle Description Section, and the Vehicle Identification Section.

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World Manufacturer Indentifier (WMI): The first 3 letters or numbers can tell you where your car was manufactured. The first two tell you the country where it was produced while the third identifies to the manufacturer what kind of vehicle it is. This is helpful for the manufacturer to track their inventory and the quantity that they’ve sold of each model.

The Vehicle Description Section (VDS):
The next five numbers or letters are for the vehicle description. This is the part that tells the manufacturer vehicle model, engine type, body style and so forth. Many of this information we already know from the specs sheet on the car and most obvious through some badging (V8, Hemi, etc.).

Position 9 on the VIN Number has actually nothing to do with the cars information surprisingly. This is where the VIN Check Digit is which tells you if the VIN number is correct or not. This is really only used in North America and not on foreign cars like Citroën, BMW, Renault, Audi, and Fiat among others.

Vehicle Identification Section (VIS):
These last seven digits, 10-17, are specific to the year the car was manufactured (which is always in position 10) and what packages and options are included on the vehicle such as engine and transmission choices. This is the last bit of information that the manufacturers and dealerships use to identify their cars.

So there ya go! Every car is different and each VIN number is solely exclusive to that car. By knowing what each section means and utilizing the included lists you yourself can identify where your car has been!

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