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What Is a VIN?

Assigned by automakers, a vehicle identification number (VIN) is a combination of 17 characters (numbers and letters) assigned to a car or truck during production. Like a Social Security number for your car, a vehicle’s VIN number provides important information, such as the location of its original build and the type of engine. As of 1981 all vehicles have a VIN with 17 characters.

A VIN can normally be found:

  • Beneath the windshield on the driver’s side of the vehicle.
  • In the engine bay on the firewall.
  • On a sticker or metal plate on the driver‘s side doorjamb.

Breaking Down a VIN

Each of a VIN’s 17 characters designates unique information about your vehicle. Here’s what the numbers and letters will tell you: