How to Find Out the Gear Ratio With the VIN Number

by Jesse Dempsen

The vehicle identification number (VIN) is a 17-digit code that is used to identify and track every automobile produced. Each number and letter contained within a VIN reveals information about the vehicle, such as the make, model, production year and engine size. While it may be possible to derive information about an auto's gearbox ratio from its VIN, that depends largely on the information the manufacturer includes in the vehicle descriptor section (VDS) of the VIN.

Find the VIN of your vehicle. It can be found on the sticker on the inside of the driver's side door or on a stamped metal plate embedded in the dashboard above the steering wheel. It also is on your vehicle's title.

Identify the VDS section, the fourth through eighth digits of the VIN. This section typically includes information such as the vehicle model, engine size and body type. While not every vehicle manufacturer includes gearbox ratio information in the VDS, this will be where the information is found if it was included.

Find a guide online, such as Edmunds.com or Decode This, or contact an automobile dealer to help interpret the VDS. The order of meaning in the digits and the type of information included varies by manufacturer. Edmunds.com and Decode This are linked in the Resources section.


  • Many manufacturers do not include information about the gearbox ratio in the VIN.

About the Author

Jesse Dempsen has written professionally since 2010. His work can be found on various websites. He is a certified English teacher who has taught in a variety of fields including journalism. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Western Washington University.

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Photo Credits

  • old gearbox dumped in a rest area on the side of the road image by Undy from Fotolia.com