How to Decode the VIN Number on a Peterbilt

by Larry Darter
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Knowing how to decode the vehicle identification number (VIN) on a Peterbilt can be important to those in the market for purchasing a used truck. The unique, 17-character alpha-numeric VIN number offers a considerable amount of information about the vehicle, like manufacturer, model year, engine type, assembly location and country of origin. That information can be used to confirm the accuracy of important details claimed by a seller. Since 1981, all road vehicles manufactured, as noted by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, have been required by The National Highway Safety Administration to have an assigned VIN.

Step 1

Locate the vehicle identification number on the truck and write it down it for easy reference for decoding. Physical location of the VIN plate (a metal plate with a VIN stamped on it) can vary by year of manufacture. According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, a VIN plate may be located "on the front corner of the dash, driver's side door edge or door post or on an interior wall near the driver's seat.

Step 2

Access a VIN decoder. One simple source of a decoder for Peterbilt vehicle identification numbers is a website, like VIN Query. This site, as well as a host of others, offers basic VIN decoding information to the public free of charge.

Compare the actual VIN recorded from the vehicle with the decoding information. Each of the 17 positions contains specific information. The first position records country of origin. The numeral "1," for example, indicates that a vehicle was manufactured in the United States. The first three positions together identify the vehicle manufacturer. The identifier for Peterbilt, a U.S. manufacturer, is 1XP. Positions 5 through 8 identify characteristics like body style and engine type. This information can be double-checked in the vehicle owner's manual. Position 9 is known as a "check digit" used to determine if a VIN is valid to prevent VIN fraud. The tenth position indicates model year and may be a number or letter; for example, the letter "A" in position 10 indicates model year 2010. The 11th character contains the code for actual assembly location. The remaining six positions provide the sequence of manufacture, the order in which the truck came off the assembly line.

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