How to Check a Classic Car's Vin Number

by Julie Hurley
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Starting in the 1980s, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began requiring that all vehicles contain a 17-character vehicle identification number, or VIN. The VIN is a unique code, similar to DNA, that identifies each car as it comes off the line. Many classic cars also have VINs, but because the classification system was not standardized until the early '80s, it may not contain all 17 numbers or be found in the standard location within the vehicle.

Common VIN locations

Step 1

Look at the dashboard near the windshield. Visible from the outside, the VIN plate is commonly mounted right onto the dashboard.

Step 2

Using a flashlight, look inside the driver's side wheel arch.

Step 3

Using a flashlight, look under the steering column, which is located inside the vehicle under the steering wheel.

Step 4

Look for the VIN on the firewall of the vehicle or other component parts. The VIN is oftentimes stamped right onto the parts themselves.

Step 5

Open the driver's side door. The VIN may be printed on a sticker located on the door edge or door jam.

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