The Location of the VIN on an Engine

by Lisa Gaytan-Berg
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Auto Engine image by Andrew Breeden from

Since 1954, car manufacturers have stamped all vehicles with a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). These stamps range in size from 11 to 17 characters in a combination of letters and numbers. In 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration required that every vehicle be stamped with a 17-digit formatted identification number. The VIN is used to establish a history that is unique to each vehicle. The number can be found on the transmission, doors, dashboard, various panels on specific vehicles (e.g., trucks) and on the engine.

Step 1

Locate and pull the hood latch inside your vehicle to release the hood. The release hood latch should be located around the steering wheel inside the cabin of the vehicle. Usually, there is an icon or label on the latch.

Step 2

Lift the hood carefully. Make sure to secure the support to keep the hood up to prevent injury.

Step 3

Locate the engine. Most engines look similar in nature with tubes and multiple parts stemming from it. Most of the other parts circle the engine.

Step 4

Look for the VIN stamp located on the front of the engine block. You may need to use a rag or a flashlight to read the number as debris or oil may have splashed onto the plate. Some VINs on engines are etched on little plaques that are attached to the engine while others are engraved directly on the engine. If you need the VIN number for your records, make sure to jot down the number in a notebook.

Step 5

Unlatch the support holding the hood and close it firmly but carefully.

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