What VIN Numbers mean?

Any vehicle, no matter what type, has a unique VIN number or code. VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number. It is a 17 alphanumeric code which contains information about the car, like the manufacturer of the vehicle, the year it was made, the engine type, the body of the vehicle, and other relevant information of the car.

A VIN decoder is a program, table or list that indicates or interprets the meaning of a certain VIN number. The first character in the VIN code represents the country where the vehicle was made. If the number starts with 1, then it was made in the United States, 2 for Canada, 3 for Mexico, and J for Japan. These are some examples, since other countries have different codes for their VIN.

The second and third numbers represent the manufacturer and the make of the car. Common codes are A for Alpha Romeo, B for Dodge, C for Chrysler, D for Daihatsu, F for Ford, H for Honda or Acura, J for Jeep, N for Nissan and T for Toyota or Lexus.

There are some that use 3 characters to represent the manufacturer of the vehicle. Some examples are TRU for Audi, 4US for BMW, SAJ for Jaguar, SAL for Land Rover, WP0 for Porsche, and WDB for Mercedes-Benz.

The tenth character of the VIN represents the year the vehicle was made. So if the VIN starts with B it was made in 1981, C in 1982, D in 1983, and E in 1984. The most recent cars would have 7 for 2007.

Knowing the VIN number is very important especially if you are going to buy a second hand vehicle. Since the VIN number is used for PPSR check to know the history of the vehicle, you will be made aware of the real condition of the car you wish to buy. Problems that the seller does not tell you will be revealed, like the number of times the car was repaired, number of accidents it was in, etc.

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