What is a VIN Vehicle Indentification Number?

It is a 17 character code that includes special designations that signify what your car's make and model are as well as the model year and a serial number.  Each car has a unique 17 character code.  All vehicles in the United State have been required to have a VIN since 1954.  It is illegal to possess a motor vehicle that as a damaged or removed VIN.

How do I find or locate my VIN Vehicle Identification Number?

You can find your VIN in several places, both in the vehicle and elsewhere.

In your Vehicle

There are many common places where the VIN might be displayed on your vehicle.  The most common is on the top of the dashboard.  But you'll need to look through the windshield to see it.  It should be in the very front corner in front of the steering wheel.

Here are the many locations that you might find it:

  • Front of the Dashboard
  • Inside the driver-side door on the doorjamb.
  • On the driver-side doorpost.
  • Underneath the spare tire
  • Rear wheel well.

Where else can I find my VIN?

Because it represents the unique identifier for your vehicle, you will usually find it on any legal documents associated with your vehicle.

  • Vehicle Title
  • Registration Crd
  • Vehicle History Report
  • Body shop records
  • Insurance documents
  • Owner's manual
  • Police reports

How do I read/decode the VIN?

It's rather complicated to decode the VIN.  Partly due to there being multiple standards being used.  The best description can be found at wikipedia.

What can I do with my VIN?

  • You'll need to know it when buying or selling a car.
  • You can lookup a Vehicle History Report with you VIN.
  • You can use it look up for recalls on your car at safercar.gov.