How to Decode a Scion VIN

by Christie Kula

Vehicle Identification Numbers, also known as VINs, are unique serial numbers that identify a car. Every car sold in the United States has a 17-digit VIN, and its components can be broken down to tell a consumer about the vehicle. Since Scion is a Toyota product, the vehicles share VIN codes with the parent company.

Interpreting the First 5 Characters

1

Locate your Scion's VIN. It will be in the driver's corner of the windshield. It can also be found on a label on the side of the driver's door or door post.

2

Look at the first and second letters of the VIN. The first will always be a J, which is the country of origin and in this case stands for Japan. The second letter will be a T, which stands for Toyota.

3

Look at the third digit. It will identify your Scion as a passenger vehicle or a multipurpose vehicle.

4

Find the fourth letter, which will identify the body and drive type. For example, a Scion xB will have a K, which will identify it as a four-door hatchback with two-wheel drive.

5

Look at the fifth letter, which identifies the engine type. The Scion xA and xB will have a T; the Scion tC will have an E; and the Scion xD will have a U.

Interpreting Characters 6 to 9

1

Move on to the sixth character, which will identify the series. The tC and xD share a 1, along with several other Toyota vehicles. The xA will have a 6, and the xB will have a 3.

2

Identify the seventh character. For passenger vehicles, this will note the restraint system, which identifies how may airbags the car has. For multipurpose vehicles, it will identify the trim level of the car. There are several different listings for Scion vehicles.

3

Find the eighth digit, which is the car line. The xA, xB and xD will have a 4. The tC will have a 7.

4

Look at the ninth number, which is called the check digit. It is the last number determined in a car's VIN. Manufacturers use a mathematical equation to determine a check number and ensure that each vehicle has a unique VIN. To determine the check digit, a VIN's letters are assigned a numerical value and added with the other numbers of the VIN. The sum is divided by 11. The letter X is used to stand in for a double-digit result.

Interpreting Characters 10 to 17

1

Find the 10th digit, which will be a number or a letter. This is the model year. The first Scions were produced in 2004, so years 2004 to 2009 will have the last digit of the year as the number. The year 2010 yields an A.

2

Look at the 11th digit. This identifies the plant your Scion was built. Scions are assembled in Japan, so your VIN will have a number.

3

Find the last six digits of the VIN. The 12th through 17th digits are your car's serial number, which is unique to your car.

About the Author

Christie Kula has been a copy editor, designer, writer and news editor since graduating from the University of Florida's journalism program in 2004. She spent eight years working for a daily newspaper in Alabama and now writes articles for various online publications.

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