A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique code used by the automotive industry to identify individual cars, motorcycles, trucks, and other types of vehicles. The first VIN appears in 1954 in the United States. However, only in 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standardized the format of a 17-character VIN.
The best way to identify your VIN code is to review a vehicle’s documentation. The VIN should be located on the front of your registration card, title, owner’s manual, insurance policy, and body shop repair records. Another way to discover a VIN is a car inspection. Here’s a list of places where you can find a VIN:
Most VIN plates appear on the lower left-hand side of the dashboard, so just look on the dashboard in front of the steering wheel sitting in the driver’s seat. Also, you might be able to see the VIN standing outside your vehicle and looking through the windshield.
Front of the engine
Looking for a VIN, pop the hood and check the front of the engine. Some manufacturers affix a body plate that contains the VIN or a partial VIN (typically the last eight characters). Typically, this plate is attached to the firewall inside the engine compartment.
Front of the car frame
A VIN appears on the car frame near the windshield washer container. So, you should crouch down in front of the car on the driver’s side to get it.
The VIN can be located near the rear wheel on the driver’s side. You’ll need to crouch down beside the car and look up a rear wheel above the tire to find it.
A VIN can be located both inside the driver-side door jamb, underneath where the side-view mirror, and driver-side doorpost, near the spot where the door latches, not too far from the seatbelt return.
Underneath the spare tire
Above the all, a VIN is usually set underneath the spare tire, which is in the trunk. It’s necessary to pick up the tire to see it.
Though it is easy to locate a VIN, decoding the information contained in every VIN might be a challenge. That’s why we recommend you using the ClearVin VIN decoding system that breaks every VIN number down into dozens of data points to find out key vehicle specifications. If you’re looking to learn about the correct VIN structure, read our article.
Don’t forget to use a VIN finder or run a license plate number lookup on any vehicle you’re considering purchasing, as it can reveal important information about the car’s past.
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