How to Decode the VIN Number on a Pontiac

by David CurtisUpdated November 07, 2017
itstillruns article image
Don Johnston/Photodisc/Getty Images

Pontiac produced its first car, called the Series 6-27, in 1926. This car was capable of speeds up to 50 mph and was priced at $825. An incredible 76,742 of the cars were produced during the first year. General Motors has discontinued the Pontiac line. Decoding a Pontiac Vehicle Identification number or VIN can give specific information about your car. The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration instituted a standard 17-character VIN format in 1981.

Locate the VIN number. It is found on the left side under the windshield molding attached to the dash panel. It can also be found on the title.

The first character indicates the country where the vehicle was manufactured. The digit 1 is for USA.

Interpret the second character. The letter G designates General Motors

Interpret the third character. This number indicates the division. The digit 2 is for a Pontiac.

Interpret the fourth and fifth characters. These indicate platform and series. HX is for the Bonneville SE, HY for the Bonneville SLE, HZ for the Bonneville SSEI, JB for the Sunfire, NE for the Grand Am SE, NF for the Grand Am SE1, NG for the Grand Am SE2, SL for the Vibe, SM for the Vibe all-wheel drive, WK for the Grand Prix SE, WK for the Grand Prix SE1, WP for the Grand Prix GT, and WR for the Grand Prix GTP.

Interpret the sixth character. This indicates the body style. 1 is for a two-door coupe, 2 is for a two-door, 3 for a two-door convertible, 5 for a four-door sedan, 6 for a four-door sedan hatchback, 8 for a two-door hatchback, and 9 for a four-door station wagon

Interpret the seventh character. This indicates the safety restraint system. 1 is for active manual belts, 2 for manual belts with driver and passenger front inflatable airbags, 4 for manual belts with driver and passenger front and side inflatable airbags, 5 for manual belts with front inflatable and driver's-side inflatable airbags, 6 for manual belts with front and side inflatable airbags with passenger occupant sensor, and 7 for manual belts with both front, side, and rear passenger side inflatable airbags.

Interpret the eighth character. This indicates the engine used. There are many different types of engine combinations for each model and year. Some used are 1 for a 3.8 liter L67, 4 for a 2.2 LN2, E for a 3.4 LA1, J for a 3.1 LG8, K for a 3.8 L36, N for a 3.2 LA3, W for a 2.8 L35, and X for a 3.1 LG5

Decode the 10th character. This indicates the model year. A is for 1980, B for 1981, C for 1982, D for 1983, E for 1984, F for 1985, G for 1986, H for 1987, J for 1988, K for 1989, L for 1990, M for 1991, N for 1992, P for 1993, R for 1994, S for 1995, T for 1996, V for 1997, W for 1998, X for 1999, Y for 2000, 1 for 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, and A for the final 2010 model.

Locate the 11th digit. This indicates the plant location. D is used for Doraville Ga.; E for Linden, N.J. and Pontiac Mich.; L for Van Nuys, Ca.; M for Lansing, Mich.; N for Norwood, Ohio; O for Lansing, Mich.; P for Pontiac, Mich.; and Y for Wilmington, Del.

Decode the remaining 6 characters. The last six digits designate the production sequence and serial number of the vehicle.

More Articles

article divider