Thinking about purchasing a new car? Use our new Car Loan Calculator to estimate your monthly car payment!

How to Find Out Exact Packages Using a Vin Number

by Dawn Marcotte

The VIN or Vehicle Identification Number can be used to determine many facts for a vehicle. The 17-digit number has been used since 1980 to identify the make, manufacturer, model year and package information. Each VIN is unique to the specific vehicle and can be used to determine history of the vehicle from manufacture to scrap. Vehicles made prior to 1981 also have a VIN, but it is not standardized to 17 digits.

Determining a Vehicle Package


Locate the VIN on the vehicle. Most cars and trucks have a VIN on the dashboard on the driver’s side, but it may be on a sticker on the driver side door, the front of the engine block or the front of the vehicle body.


Write down the VIN.


Locate digits in the fourth through eighth position for a vehicle made after 1981. This five-digit series of numbers will identify the features of the vehicle such as body style, engine type and model. If the VIN is less than 17 digits the entire sequence may be required to identify the package.


Utilize a website such as to decode the VIN. This site has links for specific vehicles, including those that were manufactured prior to 1981. Click the link for the specific vehicle and enter the VIN.


  • Manufacturers such as Ford, Chevrolet and GMC have websites that can be used to decode the VIN. You can also contact a local dealer and provide the VIN for decoding.

Items you will need

About the Author

Based in Minneapolis, Dawn Marcotte has been writing for more than 10 years. Her recent writing has turned to nonfiction and includes articles on home and garden, education, crafts and automotive subjects. She currently has several eBooks published and available online. Marcotte has a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the University of Iowa.

More Articles

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images