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How to Check the VIN to See If It's a Flex Fuel Vehicle

by Paul Dohrman

A vehicle’s identification number (VIN) is located on the dashboard, and is visible from the outside through the windshield. The number is used not just for vehicle identification as an anti-theft measure, but also to convey information about its origin and make. For example, the first digit conveys what the country the vehicle was manufactured in. Digits four to eight identify the manufacturer. You can also learn from the VIN whether the vehicle is a flex fuel vehicle, in other words, if it can accept fuel that is 85 percent ethanol.

Step 1

Find the VIN on your vehicle. While the VIN used to be put on a sticker in the door, nowadays; manufacturers wedge into a corner of the dashboard. If you see a 17-digit number, you’ve found the VIN. The VIN may also be in your owner’s manual or on the gas cap.

Step 2

Look up a flex fuel table of VIN numbers (see Resources).

Match up the year, make, engine type and the eighth digit of the VIN to what you see in the table. Some tables give the second, third and eighth VIN digits. You must match all of these up to make sure that the vehicle can handle non-traditional fuels like E85. There is no single digit of the VIN used to denote fuel compatibility. Digits have to match in combination.

Items you will need

  • VIN table

About the Author

Paul Dohrman's academic background is in physics and economics. He has professional experience as an educator, mortgage consultant, and casualty actuary. His interests include development economics, technology-based charities, and angel investing.

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