How to Find Factory Options With a VIN Numberby Jen DavisUpdated June 29, 2023
Your car's vehicle identification number (VIN) contains a wide variety of information about the car. You can use your car's VIN to determine where the car was made, what kind of car it is, when it was manufactured and even what options it came with when it left the factory. It’s basically a unique code with an attached vehicle history report that tells car owners about the motor vehicle – the vehicle manufacturer, body style, country of origin, and towing history, among other things. If you’re buying a used car, doing a VIN lookup is a good idea to ensure you know everything you should about the car.
There are several ways to access your car's VIN report and specs. You can decode the VIN yourself at home, or contact your car's manufacturer to learn the information contained in the VIN.
Locate the VIN
Find your vehicle's vehicle identification number. The VIN will be stamped or on a sticker on various locations throughout the car, including the dashboard on the driver’s side near the airbag and inside the doorjamb. Depending on the type of vehicle and if it’s a new car, the VIN wil be located in different places. You can also find your vehicle's VIN on the insurance card or policy papers, vehicle title and registration. It is a 17-digit number.
Lookup the VIN
Enter the VIN into an electronic VIN decoder to do an autocheck. The fourth through eighth digits of the VIN will contain factory options information.
Call the dealership or manufacturer's service number if you still want to find out more information about your specific vehicle's factory options. You can call any manufacturer dealership's service department, provide them with the VIN, and ask them to tell you the options information. They will be able to do so by running the VIN through their computer system. You should also be able to go on the manufacturer’s website and access a free VIN decoder through there to do a VIN check about your car’s options, warranty, and other information.
Vehicles manufactured in quantities of more than 500 must have a VIN number. The VIN coding follows international standards set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1979 and 1980, as well as by the European Union and the United States.
World Manufacturer Identifier
The first three characters are the World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI). The first character represents the country where the vehicle was built. The second character signifies the manufacturer and the third shows the vehicle type or manufacturing division.
Vehicle Descriptor Section
The fourth through ninth characters make up the Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS). Characters four through eight represent the model, body type, restraint system, transmission type, and engine code. The ninth character is a check digit or security code that authenticates the VIN.
Vehicle Identifier Section
The Vehicle Identifier Section (VIS) begins with the tenth character, which represents the model year. The 11th character identifies the assembly plant.The last six characters are a serial number assigned by the manufacturer.
Things You'll Need
- Vehicle identification number
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.