A VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) is a unique ID given to every car when it’s manufactured. It carries information on the history of the car. Now, you might ask, “How many VIN locations on a car?” There is no specific number of locations; VINs can appear in multiple places.
VINs are now vital when it comes to insurance and paperwork. They also help the police locate stolen cars. Moreover, companies use VINs to check if your car is under warranty or if it has been recalled.
What Does VIN Mean on a Car?
A VIN is a unique 17-character code of a car issued when it is manufactured. It works as an ID card that reveals the vehicle make, manufacturer, type, and more.
You can usually find the VIN on your dashboard, door jamb, or engine block. This number is handy for registering your car with the DMV. It’s also used by insurance companies to measure the risk of your car before approval.
Manufacturers use the VIN to track any recalls or important messages about certain models and years. When you buy a car, you can use the VIN to know its history.
How Many VIN Locations On a Car?
There is no specific number of VIN locations on a car. That said, it can be found anywhere. Cars have multiple VIN locations, and their positions can be different. One consistent location is at the bottom of the windscreen on the left-hand side. Other frequent VIN locations include the engine bay, front door jambs, and the boot or rear luggage area. VINs can be hidden anywhere.
The VIN is not just limited to a single plate; it’s stamped on various significant parts of the car. For instance, on a Chrysler 300, the VIN can be found on the dashboard, and the frame, and is also digitally stored in multiple electronic control units (ECUs) like the PCM, radio’s ECU, gauge cluster ECU, and ignition ECU. When connected to a dealership-level diagnostic tool, it displays all ECUs and the current VIN, as well as the original VIN if parts were replaced.
If there’s ever a doubt, the visible VIN should match the intended VIN of the car. Some of these VINs are hidden intentionally, known mainly to law enforcement and individuals who discover them during car restoration or repair.
For example, the Corvair has its VIN stamped in the frame rails, which can be seen after removing the front suspension. The Dauphine has its VIN on the floor next to the right front door, concealed under the carpet. Early Mini models didn’t have them, but later versions included the VIN in the hood’s gutter below the windshield.
Why Are VIN Numbers Important?
The VIN is really important for cars since it helps people choose the right car to buy. Not only that, it keeps a record of its history, which makes it easier for owners to take care of it.
You can find a car’s VIN in different places, including the exterior. You can check the bottom of the windshield on the driver’s side, but it might be in a different spot depending on the automaker. The easiest way to find it is through the windshield from the exterior.
When buying a used car, make sure it has no altered VIN. This number helps you find out the history and if any parts have been replaced as a result of accidents or theft. For example, if they change the whole steering wheel or airbag, it might affect safety, and regular inspections might not detect the problem.
What Do the Characters in a VIN Number Mean?
The vehicle identification number is a unique set of characters that all vehicles have that identifies the vehicle where it was made and the type of equipment that it has. So let’s go over the characters of the vehicle identification number and see what they mean.
Let’s use 2G1WG5EK4B1222635 for this illustration.
- The first vehicle identification number is a digit, and this tells where the vehicle was manufactured. In this case, the number two indicates that the vehicle was manufactured in Canada.
- The second character identifies the manufacturer; in this case, the G is for General Motors.
- The third character identifies the vehicle type or the manufacturing division.
- The 4th through the 8th vehicle characters are usually the ones that we refer to most in an online or electronic catalog because these identify things like body style, engine type, model, and so forth.
- Electronic catalogs refer to the 8th character quite often because that refers to the engine type.
- The 9th character is a check digit that the manufacturers used to verify the previous VINs at the factory.
- The 10th character of the vehicle identification number is another one that we use quite often because it reveals the year of the vehicle.
- The 11th character reveals the assembly plant for the vehicle.
- The 12th through the 17th characters indicate the sequence of the vehicle for production as it rolled off the manufacturer’s assembly line.
So for vehicle identification numbers, refer to the number at the base of the windshield. You can also check the vehicle’s registration or even the insurance card to get the information that you need when looking up parts for your vehicle.
Read also: How to Damage a Car Without Leaving Evidence