17 Facts About VIN Numbers

Were you aware there’s a number displayed on your vehicle’s dashboard that can tell Schaefer Autobody Centers your car’s most intimate details? VIN numbers have been around for decades, and they’re still as useful as ever.

Here are 17 facts about VIN numbers:

  1. VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number.
  2. Every car has a unique 17-digit VIN number.
  3. VIN numbers were first instituted in 1954 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  4. In 1981, the VIN was standardized to the current 17-character format; previously, the length of the VIN varied by manufacturer.
  5. The VIN number can be found in several places on a car, including the dashboard, doorjamb and engine.
  6. The VIN number is used for vehicle registration and title transfer.
  7. The VIN number can be used to determine a car’s manufacturer, model, year and other specific information about the car.
  8. VIN numbers can be used to track the history of a car, including previous owners and any accident reports.
  9. The first three digits of a VIN number identify the manufacturer.
  10. The fourth to eighth digits of a VIN number identify the car’s attributes, such as the model, engine size and body style.
  11. The ninth digit of a VIN number is a security code used to verify the authenticity of the VIN number.
  12. The tenth digit of a VIN number indicates the model year of the car.
  13. The eleventh digit of a VIN number identifies the plant where the car was manufactured.
  14. The last six digits of a VIN number identify the individual car within the manufacturer’s production.
  15. VIN numbers are standardized worldwide and are regulated by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
  16. Some states require VIN numbers to be etched on all windows of the car for theft prevention.
  17. Tampering with a VIN number is a crime and can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment and fines.

As complicated as vehicles can be, it’s a relief automakers agreed to a standard such as the VIN number. The 17-digit sequence is exceptionally helpful in ensuring our service writers and parts coordinators order the correct panels and parts for your vehicle. The next time someone asks a specific question about your vehicle, point to the VIN!