A VIN (short for "Vehicle Identification Number") is
a seventeen-digit code that uniquely identifies a vehicle. Every
car, truck, motorcycle, trailer, etc. that is built is assigned
a VIN and DMVs and insurance companies use the VIN to keep track
of which vehicle is which.
In the mid 1950's American automobile manufacturers began stamping
and casting identifying numbers on cars and their parts. The vehicle
identification number has become referred to as the "VIN."
The obvious purpose was to give an accurate description of the vehicle
when mass production numbers were starting to climb in very significant
numbers. Research has shown that early Vin's came in all sorts of
variations which depended on the individual manufacturer at that
In the early 1980's the National highway Traffic Safety Administration
(U.S. Dept. of Transport) required that all road vehicles must contain
a 17 character VIN. This established the fixed VIN system for major
vehicle manufacturers as it is known today. Thus, establishing a
unique "DNA" style number for each unique vehicle which
rolled off the assembly line.
The VIN encodes specific information about a vehicle, including
country of manufacture, manufacturer, model, body style and even
engine and other information. This was standardized in the early
'80s and all major manufacturers follow the standard.
Common locations of the vehicle identification number vary and
some may be as follows:
Firewall of the vehicle
Left hand inner wheel arch
Radiator Support Bracket
Dash by windshield
Drivers door or post or passenger side
Guarantee & Maintenance Book *Vehicle documents
Machined Pad on front of engine
Component parts as listed above -eg- engine,frame, etc.
Choosing the right vehicle - Choosing the type of vehicle
you want and need is a very personal decision. Sport utility? Truck? Family
Sedan? Sport Coupe? Convertible? Performance? There are several very good
buying guides and magazines available to help you make that decision.
They have a good section of used car reviews from selected manufacturers
dating as far back as 1991. It's always a good idea to do your homework
and do some research on the type of vehicle your looking for.
Are there any outstanding recalls? - For you and your
passengers safety, it's always a good idea to find out if there are any
outstanding recalls on your vehicle. Online databases such as www.nhtsa.dot.gov
has recall information of all vehicle makes and models.