How to Identify the Year of a Jeep

by Tony Ehrike
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Voiture Jeep image by foxytoul from

If you are looking at a Jeep and need to determine the year it was built, several factors come into play. The easiest way to determine the model year of the Jeep is to check the vehicle title. However, if you don't have access to the title, you will have to look for other details and labels found in various places on the vehicle to determine the year it was built. The VIN number can help you pinpoint the year of a Jeep.

Step 1

Open the car door on the driver's side and locate the sticker on the door jamb that reveals the year, make, model and other production information for Jeeps built during the 1970s to the present. For Jeeps built from 1945 to the 1970s, open the hood and look at the back of the firewall, behind the motor on the battery side of the engine compartment. Look for a metal plate riveted to the firewall that reveals the year, make, model and manufacturer information. If you can't find the plate on the battery side, check the opposite side of the engine compartment.

Step 2

Examine the vehicle identification number (VIN). This tag can be found in the lower section of the windshield on the driver side of the Jeep. The VIN is comprised of 17 alphanumeric characters. Locate the tenth character of the VIN, counting from left to right. This character will tell you the year of the Jeep (this only applies to Jeeps built after the 1970s).

Step 3

Convert the tenth character of the VIN to the model year by using the following guidelines. For Jeep Wranglers in the YJ series, you will find either the letter "H," meaning the Jeep is a 1987 model, or "J," denoting a 1988 model. For Jeep Wrangler TJ, you will find either a "V" (1997), "W" (1998), "Y" (2000), the number "1" (2001), "2" (2002) or "3" (2003).

For a Jeep Wrangler XJ, the model year is represented by one of the following: "E" (1984), "F" (1985), "G" (1986), "H" (1987), "J" (1988), "K" (1989), "V" (1997), "W" (1998), "X" (1999), "Y" (2000) or "Z" (2001). For older Jeeps, such as those produced between 1945 and 1986, you will need to refer to a VIN decoder list, such as that provided on the website (see Resources). The Morris 4x4 Center website has a Jeep Identifier with detailed information regarding what Jeeps were made in which years, including photos.

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