How to Decode a VIN?

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Written By Larious

Larious is the Executive Editor of LowkeyTech. He is a tech enthusiast and a content writer. 





Last Updated on September 20, 2021 by Larious

Buying a swanky car is a dream of every commoner, and it is a cynosure of everyone’s eyes. Your dream might start falling apart when you encounter any issue with your car. Therefore, some car enthusiasts have a propensity for deciphering the VIN numbers.

If you want to buy a pre-owned car, it’s always necessary to perform a thorough VIN check. 

Amateur riders often neglect the VIN or vehicle identification number and think it’s just a series of random characters. Here, they are wrong, and every character or digit in that confidential code has specific significance. 

Let’s check out how to decode a VIN

What information can you gain through a VIN checkup?

When you use a VIN decoder, you can get the below-mentioned reports and check the authenticity of the dealer’s sugar-coated words:

  • Mileage accuracy
  • Safety and maintenance details
  • Previous images
  • Maintenance records
  • Theft record
  • Damage report
  • Vehicle’s registration place
  • Other crucial information

With information like this in detail, you will be able to make up your mind about whether to buy a vehicle or not and so on. VIN checkup will prevent anyone from fooling you in this way.

Where to find a car’s VIN number?

The VIN number is easily identifiable and mainly showcased in two to three places. These include:

  • A QR code on the door jamb sticker
  • At the driver’s side stamped plate where the windshield and dashboard converge
  • It can be remained stamped on the engine firewall
  • A sticker on the driver’s side, more precisely on the doorjamb
  • At the underneath of the windshield
  • The transmission housing
  • On a plate safeguarded to an area of the chassis
  • The left-center pillar

Why should you use a VIN decoder?

Decoding a VIN number is pretty straightforward, and you can do it perfectly at this VIN check. Ford VIN Decoder is a reliable VIN search solution being used by millions of users across the world. It will be best to use a powerful decoder to debunk the following:

  • Check car’s data before paying to the dealer
  • Verify the car’s history report 
  • Verify if the vehicle has been recalled or not
  • Find out whether the match parts and accessories are authentic
  • Find out if the car’s VIN offer by the dealer is a clone, fake, or genuine

ford vin decoder

How to decode the VIN?

That lengthy 17-character number could be broken down into numerous zones showcasing a plethora of valuable details. An example of a car’s VIN number is 1HGBH41JXMN109186.

Model year and country codes

The 10th character or letter of the 17-digit VIN number displays its model year, as mentioned above. 

  • 1980 to 2000 – A to Y, respectively
  • 2001 to 2009 – 1 to 9, respectively
  • 2010 to 2020 – A to L, respectively

Manufacturing or the country of origin character codes

The 1st one character of your car’s VIN showcases the country in which the vehicle was manufactured. Therefore, some of the country codes are following:

  • 1, 4, 5 is for the United States
  • 2 denotes Canada
  • 3A-37 represents Mexico
  • J for Japan
  • VF-VR denotes France
  • WA-W0 for West Germany
  • K for South Korea
  • S denotes Greater Britain

Decoding the VIN

From 1st character to 17th, all the associated VIN numbers are dedicated to a specific type of detail, which is mainly standard for all the manufactures and vehicles. Let’s unravel what precisely the number showcases and how you can efficiently decode it.

  • First character position

VIN’s first character lets you know the country where the car is manufactured. It could be a digit or a couple of alphabets or a unification of both. For example, the VIN number of any Indian car will have started with MA-ME, MZ, and in South American countries like Brazil, it begins from 9A-9E.

  • First three characters

The unification of the first three VIN characters is usually known as a world manufacturer identifier or WMI. It assists in determining the vehicle’s manufacturer. The third character of the VIN represents the manufacturer, and in some other cases, it may also indicate the vehicle’s type, for example, bus, car, or truck. 

  • Fourth to ninth characters

The fourth to ninth characters of VIN displays the Vehicle Description Section or VDS, which provides details about the type of vehicle, model, engine type, body type, and the platform on which it’s manufactured. 

However, the 8th digit is solely used for indicating the engine type. On the other hand, in some cases, the 9th character could either showcase the security code or the month, when the vehicle was built.

  • 10th character position

Here, the 10th character actually denotes the manufacturing year of the car. More precisely, it is represented by an assigned alphabet to each year since 1981.

  • 11th character position

Do you want to know the manufacturing year of the vehicle? Have a glance at the 11th character, which reveals the plant where the car was built.

  • 12th to 17th character position

The last 6 character positions on the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN are protected for the unique serial number to the car. It acts as the second mandated identification part for the vehicle.  

How to reveal VIN details online?

A VIN checkup is necessary to decode your vehicle’s VIN details. So, here is how you can check this out online:

  • Enter your car’s VIN

Visit a free VIN check website and enter the vehicle’s VIN in the search bar.

  • Data Search

When you have entered the VIN number, hit the search button.

  • Get report

Please wait for a few seconds; the VIN decoder will navigate through its enormous database and represent all the crucial details. 


The VIN number of your car is an inevitable code, which helps you debunk your car’s true identity. So, head towards your vehicle, and perform a VIN lookup, decipher the extended code, and try to fathom all of it. 

Hopefully, this article provides you a good understanding of how to decode the VIN, where to find your car’s VIN, and various details about this VIN.


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