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VIN Number Check, VIN Decoder and the Anatomy of a VIN number

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 1

Doing a VIN number check on any used car, motorcycle, truck or van is vital. A VIN or a Vehicle Identification Number, allows you to find make or break buying information on a car. A VIN lookup or VIN number check can tell you where your car has been in terms of ownership, maintenance, manufacturing history etc. It can save you a host of trouble down the line by indicating that you've perhaps bought a lemon-before you've even decided to actually buy the car. A VIN number check can also give you additional leverage information especially if you've come across a few surprises on the VIN report that the owner never divulged

A Vin Decoder Breaks Down The Anatomy of a VIN number:

It indicates to you the make, model, manufacturer and more.

So why is VIN decoding important, aside from the usual VIN number check?

Well suppose you are going to a car auction and plan to look at many different types of cars. Of course you have your favorites, you like muscle cars. So you can decode a VIN to find out at least on first appearance, if the car's VIN seemingly matches the cars you are interested in. Trust me, when you at a car auction looking at dozens of cars, you won't have time to do a VIN number check on each car. It's not efficient or cost effective.

The Anatomy of a VIN Number:

Before 1981, a VIN didn't have to follow any sort of standard.

The numbers varied in length. But since 1981, there has become a standardization of VINs. The VIN standardization protects and empowers a car buyer in doing a VIN number check and using VIN decoders to better fight against buying a lemon or a car that simply is not represented factually.

The Anatomy of a VIN number is essentially that car's DNA.

It's broken down into several parts and is considered the world standard for European Countries and North America. The IS0377 standard has been adopted in other counties not including Europe and North America-again even with the ISO377 as well the 17 digits are standard with some minor variances discussed later.

1. World Manufacturer Identifier: The first three digits are comprised of the World Identifier. This is true for ISO377, Europe and North America. Similar to how it sounds the world identifier identifies where in the world the car was manufactured. Each three digit code is country specific.

2. Vehicle Attributes: The next five digits in North America and Europe are the Vehicle Attributes. This is comprised of the codes that identify vehicle type and body style. For the other parts of the world that use ISO377 it uses 6 digits to describe the vehicle attributes, which like North America and Europe consist of body type and style of the car.

3. Check Digit, Model Year and Plant Code: the next three digits are a check digit algorithm, model year and the code for the plant where the car was manufactured.

4. Sequential Number: For North America and Europe the last six digits identifies the actual vehicle in question. It may be comprised of specific options of that particular car like surround sound or automatic transmission. But it comes down to essentially identifying very specifically your vehicle. For ISO377 standards, the remaining eight digits identify similarly the vehicle's specific options and essentially is the number of the car.

The Anatomy of the VIN is really why people opt for a VIN decoder. It takes the simple attributes and calculations above and comes up with the first string of the VIN so that you aren't victim of a VIN swap or turning up with a car that you never intended to purchase.

But after doing VIN decodes never neglet to do the standard VIN number check. It both protects you and gives you negotiation leverage should you find any "surprises" in the report.


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Comments

Jan 27, 2011 10:39pm
aguy
This is awesome information!

I always figured there was a scheme to the VINs but never really bothered to look into it.
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