How to Read a Mercury VIN Number

by Mark Slingo

Every automobile produced since 1981 has been assigned a vehicle identification number, or VIN. It consists of 17 characters---digits and letters---that together identify the particular attributes of the vehicle. The VIN's location on a Mercury is, as with most vehicles, along the inside base of the windshield in front and to the left of the driver. Vehicle identification numbers are engraved or stamped on a plastic or aluminum tag attached to the top of the dashboard.

Step 1

Identify the car as a Mercury. The second character in the VIN is the car code. In the case of a Mercury, the car code would be the letter "M." The first character in the VIN identifies the country code. The United States is identified by 1, 4 or 5.

Step 2

Identify the Mercury type. This is indicated by the third character, which will be a number representing the type or manufacturing division.

Step 3

Identify the engine model and type, represented by the fourth through eighth characters, which indicate various characteristics of the vehicle.

Step 4

Verify that your Mercury VIN is a genuine number. The ninth character of a VIN is derived using a special formula devised by the Department of Transportation. Each digit among the 17 characters is assigned its true mathematical value and each letter among the 17 characters is given a mathematical value according to the DOT chart. The value of each character is multiplied by a position weight factor. The sum of the addition of the products of each multiplication is divided by 11. The answer should be the same as the ninth digit in the VIN, proving it is genuine.

Step 5

Check the Mercury's model year. Look at the 10th character in the VIN. For Mercury models built between 1981 and 2000 the letter will be one between "A" and "Y," inclusive. After the year 2000 the year is represented by a number starting at "1" until 2010 when the system reverted to "A."

Step 6

Determine where the Mercury was manufactured. The 11th digit designates the plant of manufacture.

Step 7

Check the car's serial number. This is the last six digits of the VIN.

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