Automotive guide: how to decode your vehicle’s VIN number

Undoubtedly, at some point you have had to resort to VIN numbering to solve situations and formalities with your car, whether you want to buy a second-hand car, sell your vehicle or post it on a spare parts site.

However, what is the basis for this alphanumeric sequence that is engraved on certain sites and documentation on your vehicle?

First of all, you should understand that VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number, and it is a series of characters consisting of numbers and letters with a total of 17 digits that help to know all relevant information about the car. You should also know that this sequence is a worldwide standardised number used by all producers in the automotive industry.

What is its function?

As previously mentioned, the VIN number or VIN code is a measure of self-identification that insurance companies, agencies, and spare parts sites as well as the producer himself, use on a daily basis in order to identify a particular unit and have knowledge about all the particularities and characteristics of the same.

Where to find it?

Generally speaking, as explained by the website, the VIN number can be found on the lower right-hand section of the front mudguard, under the driver’s carpet, as well as on the inside of the driver’s door, under the bonnet and, of course, on the vehicle papers and documentation.

Decoding the VIN number

In essence, the VIN consists of 17 digits divided into 3 groups. The first 3 positions represent what is known as WMI, i.e. World Manufacturer Identifier, which is a unique set of digits held by each manufacturer on a global scale and makes it possible to know the manufacturer and its location;

– The first position identifies the nation of origin or final processing plant.

– The second position determines the producing company.

– The third position in combination with the first two positions allows individualizing and determining the type of car: such as SUV, pickup or pickup truck.

– From the fourth to the eighth position various particularities of the unit are presented, such as the type of bodywork, the model of the car, type of engine and fuel it uses, etc.

– The ninth position is a verifier or checker of the veracity of the VIN.

– The tenth position indicates the year in which the unit was assembled.

– The eleventh position provides information on where the headquarters, plant or manufacturing company is based.

– From the twelfth position to the seventeenth position are various digits of manufacture by the producer. This last series of characters made up of 6 digits is called VIS and indicates the Vehicle Identification Section.

Now that you understand the function of each of the digits that make up the VIN code, using a free decoder such as the one offered by is an excellent way to avoid falling into a scam when buying a second-hand vehicle, or looking for the spare part you need, as well as having the possibility of knowing the history and specific characteristics of a vehicle.

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