How to Decode a Chrysler VIN Number

by David Curtis

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique number assigned to every vehicle. The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration instituted a standard 17 alphanumeric character VIN format in 1981 in which all manufacturers were required to follow. Decoding your Chrysler Vehicle Identification Number can give you information about the origin of your car along with engine and safety equipment information.

Locate the VIN number. It is found on the driver's side under the windshield molding connected to the dash. It can also be found on the title.

Interpret the first character. This indicates the country of origin where the vehicle was manufactured. The digit 1 is for USA, 2 for Canada, and 3 for Mexico.

Interpret the second character. This letter designates the manufacturer. The letter A is for Imperial, B for Dodge, C for Chrysler and P for Plymouth.

Interpret the third character. This number indicates the vehicle type. The number 3 is used for a passenger car and 4 for a multipurpose passenger vehicle.

Interpret the fourth character. This letter indicates the safety restraint system. The letter A is for a driver and passenger air bags and active side air bags; B for manual and active Uni-Belt; D is for no air bags; E for active driver and passenger air bags; H for 6,001 to 7,000 lbs GVW; and J for multi-stage air bags.

Interpret the fifth character. This letter indicates the car line. There were several models produced over the years. Some of the more common codes are A for the 300/300C/SRT-8 rear wheel drive; G for the Sebring and Stratus coupe; J for the Cirrus; K for the 300 all-wheel drive; L for the Sebring sedan; N for the Crossfire; S for the Neon; and Z for the Viper.

Interpret the sixth character. This digit indicates the vehicle class. The number 1 is for an Economy Class, 2 for Low Line, 3 for Medium, 4 for High Line, 5 for Premium, 6 for Sport, and 7 for Special.

Interpret the seventh character. This digit indicates the body type and style. The number 2 is for a two-door hardtop; 5 for a two-door convertible; 6 for a four-door sedan; and 9 for a specialty coupe.

Interpret the eighth character. This indicates the engine type used. There are many engine codes and they changed from year to year. Some of the more common engines codes are C for a 3.5 liter engine; F for a 2.0 liter; Z for an 8.3 liter V10; 2 for a 5.7 liter Hemi; and 3 for a 6.1 Hemi engine. The ninth character is a check digit to verify the VIN.

Decode the 10th character. This indicates the model year. The letter A is used for a 1980, B for a 1981, C for a 1982, D for a 1983, E for a 1984, F for a 1985, G for a 1986, H for a 1987, J for a 1988, K for a 1989, L for a 1990, M for a 1991, N for a 1992, P for a 1993, R for a 1994, S for a 1995, T for a 1996, V for a 1997, W for a 1998, X for a 1999, and Y for a 2000. The number 1 is for a 2001, 2, for 2002, 3 for 2003, 4 for 2004, 5 for 2005, 6 for 2006, 7 for 2007, 8 for 2008, and 9 for 2009.

Locate the 11th digit. This letter indicates the plant location. The letter D is for the Belvidere plant, H for Bramalea, N for Sterling Heights, and V for the Conner Avenue plant.

Decode the remaining six characters. The last six digits are the serial number and designate the production sequence of the vehicle.

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