How Can I Tell What Year My Chevy Truck Is?

by Brenda Priddy
Old Grunge Truck image by Brenda Carson from

When purchasing a used or a classic car, in many cases the manual or other paperwork that originally came with the car may be lost. The year when the truck was manufactured is usually mentioned in the car manual. Without the car manual, the VIN number is the easiest way to determine the model year of a Chevy truck. Any Chevy truck manufactured after 1972 has a VIN number.

Step 1

Locate the VIN number for the vehicle. The VIN number is usually found somewhere inside the cab. In some models, the VIN number is located on one of the doors, and in other models it is located somewhere on the front dash. The VIN number looks like a little plate, with information imprinted on it: a string of numbers and letters. It is often stamped directly onto the metal or plastic of a car's component.

Step 2

Write down the numbers and letters on the VIN plate. You may need to shine a flashlight on the VIN number to be able to read it correctly. Double-check all numbers to make sure they are correct.

Step 3

Look up the VIN number online. General Motors has a website that explains all VIN numbers of each year of Chevy truck (see Reference 2 for a link to the website).

Step 4

Examine all of the VIN number examples until you have determined which one matches your truck. The year position varies from year to year, so make sure to check all of the likely years to ensure that you find the right VIN number for your truck.

Consult with a professional after you have determined the model year for your truck. He or she can help confirm that you have found the correct year for your truck. It is important to get this professional confirmation because sometimes there is little difference between car model years.


  • Another way to tell the year of a Chevy truck is to look at the body structure differences. Before 1972, all Chevy trucks lay very low to the ground. Essentially the truck looked like a car with a truck cab. From 1973 to 1987, the body was redesigned, but stayed basically the same the entire time. These trucks are part of the "rounded line" design, and have a long truck bed, a long front and a rounded cab. From 1992 onward, the design gradually changed to become more rounded overall. Knowing these important body differences can help determine the time period for dating your particular truck.

Items you will need

  • VIN number
  • Chevy truck
  • Flashlight
  • Paper
  • Pencil

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