How to Identify a Kawasaki Muleby Jillian O'Keeffe
Even though Mules are not road-going creatures by their nature, the utility vehicles still have Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) stamped on their chassis by their Kawasaki makers. Instead of trying to figure out whether the vehicle is a Mule, or what model of Mule it is by looks alone, the quickest and easiest way is to find the VIN and use a VIN decoder to decipher it.
Find the VIN on the vehicle. You can locate the VIN for a Kawasaki Mule on the frame. It may be on a plate welded to the frame near the front of the vehicle, or stamped on the frame just under the seat. Clean off the VIN to avoid a mistaken reading of the characters. If the digits are worn, make a rubbing with pencil and paper to lift the characters.
Ensure the code you are looking at is a 17-digit code, if the vehicle appears to have been made after 1981. For older vehicles, the VIN code could be shorter.
Check the beginning of the code. Kawasaki product VINs begin with "JK," "JS" or "LM." The first digit refers to the country of manufacture ("J" for Japan, for example) and the second character to the manufacturer ("K" for Kawasaki proper). If your vehicle does not have any of these codes, it may have been made prior to 1981 or it is not a Kawasaki.
Find out the year the vehicle was manufactured by looking at the 10th character of the VIN. This character represents the year of manufacture for vehicles made after 1980. The code begins with an "A" representing 1980 and runs alphabetically until 2000, when the letter is "Y." Vehicles manufactured in 2001 carry the digit "1," and the sequence continues until 2009 when the digit "9" is reached. For 2010 onwards, the alphabetical system resumes. (The letters I, O and Q are never used in a VIN, and U, Z and zero are never used in the year section.) Once you know the vehicle year and that is a Kawasaki, you may be able to identify the model by comparing it to other models of that year.
Enter the entire VIN code into a Kawasaki VIN decoder such as the one on the Motoverse website (see Resources). The free decoder will provide you with a breakdown of the information on the VIN. The rest of the code contains details of the vehicle engine and style, assembly factory and production sequence number, along with a check digit to prevent vehicle fraud.