Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) are unique codes used to identify individual motor vehicles. While the most visible VIN is often found on the dashboard or door jam, many vehicles have hidden VINs stamped in various locations to help verify the authenticity of the car, especially for classic cars. In this post, I will show you the hidden VIN locations on vehicles that you can always use to check whether a car is legit or not.
What is a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and What Does It Tell Us?
Every car gets a VIN when it’s manufactured. The VIN helps with recalls, history, and finding details like the manufacturer, manufacturing date, and more. You also need the VIN to identify stolen or stolen-recovered cars when buying used ones.
The very first VIN character tells you the country where the vehicle was made. For instance, if the VIN starts with 1, 4, or 5, it’s from the United States. Now, the third character, be it a number or a letter, gives a hint about the type of vehicle—whether it’s a car, truck, bus, and so on. The 10th character tells you the model year of the vehicle.
Hidden VIN Locations on Vehicles
You can find your car’s VIN in a few different spots. Here are some hidden VIN locations on vehicles.
One of the usual hidden VIN locations on vehicles is on the dashboard near the windshield, on the driver’s side. If it’s hard to spot, you can also look in your car’s owner’s manual for help.
If you can’t find the VIN on your car’s dashboard, check near the engine. The VIN is usually stamped or engraved on the engine block. But sometimes, it might not be there. In that case, you can also find it on the dashboard or the door. However, this might not always match the body’s VIN, especially if the engine has been replaced.
Beneath the hood, near the cowl vent, you should be able to see the VIN when you lean in closely.
The door frame
You can usually find the VIN on the driver’s side door, close to the door latch. It’s usually near the bottom of the door frame, and it might be stamped into the metal. If you’re having trouble, check your car’s manual or ask your dealership for help.
Rear wheel well
Look up, right above the tire.
Inside the driver-side doorjamb
Open the door and check under where the side mirror would be if the door were closed.
Near the Blower Motor
The VIN is stamped upside down near where the blower motor mounts.
Sure, just open the door and check near the latch, close to where the seatbelt goes.
Underneath the spare tire
One of the hidden VIN locations on vehicles that often goes overlooked is underneath the spare tire. It makes it harder for potential thieves to locate and alter it.
What to Do If You Can’t Find Your Car’s VIN Number
You can find your car’s VIN yourself using an OBD2 scanner and an app. Just plug the OBD2 scanner into your car’s computer, and it will read the VIN for you. This is the best way to get the original VIN, especially when you buy a used car.
Car sellers sometimes change the VIN on the car or in the documents to commit fraud. But with an OBD2 scanner, you can easily find your car’s real VIN by accessing its system.
OBD2 scanner is easy to use to locate the hidden VIN locations on vehicles. First, plug the small adapter into your car’s OBD port. Then, open the scanner app on your phone. With just one click, you can see all your car’s information, including the VIN.
Your Car Must Have a VIN Number
VIN will help to find details about your car, including the vehicle make, model year, and the current owner. Cops also use VINs to find stolen cars. If your car gets stolen or in a crash, the VIN helps the police find and return it.
Read also: How to Register a Car with No VIN Number