How to Find an Engine Number

by Daniel Hatter

Whether you are trying to track a vehicle's history or get replacement parts for your engine, finding an engine number, or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), is a simple process. The engine number is like a human fingerprint: it provides the means for identifying one vehicle from another. It is important to know how to locate this number as it is used to track the history, service record and parts needed.

Look at the dashboard underneath the windshield in front of the driver's seat. If your car is newer than 1981, the engine number will be 17-digits long. If it is older than 1981, it will be 11- to 17-digits long. If you cannot find the number here, it may be located on the inside of the driver side door. If it is not in either of these places, continue to steps two and three.

Turn off your vehicle and open the hood, latching it into place with the provided support mechanism. If your car was recently running, do not touch anything inside as the parts can be very hot.

Lean under the open hood and look at the wide metal part, most likely located right in the middle. This is the engine. On top of the engine, your engine number should be engraved into the metal.

If you don't want to look under the hood, check the car's registration, if you have it. The registration is required to include the VIN number, and it should be near the top of the form.

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About the Author

Daniel Hatter began writing professionally in 2008. His writing focuses on topics in computers, Web design, software development and technology. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in media and game development and information technology at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.