About VIN numbers

What is VIN Number?

The Chassis Number, or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), is a 17-digit unique identification number provided by the vehicle manufacturer that can be used to identify and track a vehicle. The chassis number does not include the letters I, O (o) and Q (q) to avoid confusing them with the digits 1 and 0. The chassis number series is standardized according to ISO 3779 (1983) and is uniform in all countries of the world.

What does the chassis number tell you?

The chassis number decoder reveals detailed vehicle specification information to provide a complete overview of vehicle characteristics:

  • Year, Make and Model
  • Country of manufacture
  • Trim
  • Body style
  • Engine type
  • Fuel tank size
  • City/Highway gas mileage
  • ABS
  • Front / rear brake type
  • Transmission type
  • Driven wheel type
  • Steered wheel type
  • Suspension type
  • Sping type
  • Front / rear trail size
  • Airbag availability
  • Total height / width / length
  • Tire type and size
  • All head / foot / and shoulder seat sizes
  • Loading capacity and cargo volume

Information on vehicles manufactured before 1981 is limited because chassis numbers were not standardized before that year.


Why is chassis number information so important?

The chassis number is like a car fingerprint that is widely used by the police and many other institutions in connection with the investigation and prevention of VIN counterfeiting, the detection of theft, and so on. The chassis number is also useful for those intending to buy a used car, as it offers detailed vehicle specifications and helps you search for vehicle history data.

Where is the chassis number located?

The chassis number is usually somewhere in the vehicle body and is easy to find if you know where to look.

List of places where you can find the VIN on a car:

  • Front of the engine block
  • Driver’s side dashboard (viewable through the windshield)
  • Rear-wheel well (directly above the tire)
  • On the driver-side doorpost
  • Inside the driver-side door jamb
  • Underneath the spare tire

A list of places where you can find the chassis number on a motorbike:

  • On the steering neck
  • On the motor near the bottom of the cylinders

You can also find the VIN on any documentation you have for the vehicle such as:
Vehicle Title
Registration Card
Owner's Manual
Insurance Documents
Body Shop Repair Records
Vehicle History Report

How do you decode the chassis number?

Although the chassis number is easy to find, decoding the information in the chassis number can be a challenge. The 17 digits of the chassis number are divided into segments and each of them carries some important information about the vehicle, e.g. year of manufacture, manufacturer, model, country and factory of manufacture, serial number, etc.

Use the description in the figure below:
The 1st character: Where the vehicle was built
The 2nd and 3rd characters: The Manufacturer
The 4th and 8th characters: Portrait of the vehicle-brand, engine size and type
The 9th character: Security code that identifies the VIN as being authorized by the manufacturer
The 10th character: Model year of the car
The 11th character: Indicates which plant assembled the vehicle
The 12-17 characters are the vehicle's serial number
Flexible fuel vehicles can be identified by the 2nd, 3rd and 8th digits of the VIN