How to Read a VIN Number

by Contributor

Every vehicle on the road possesses a number that identifies the kind of car, its year, and manufacturer. This number is the VIN, or vehicle identification number. The VIN appears at a number of points on the vehicle to ensure that the car is not a conglomerate of a number of vehicles. This number aids the authorities in checking for stolen parts or vehicles.

Check the inside of the car at the point where the dash meets the windshield on the driver's side of the car for the small metal plate that contains the VIN number. The number is quite long and is comprised of both numbers and alphabetical letters. Take care in copying the number down as you read it from left to right. There is a distinct meaning for each of the numbers or letters.

Compare this number with the VIN that appears somewhere else on the car. The door post of the vehicle on the driver's side, the engine block on a machined plate and the vehicle firewall are just a few. If parts and pieces of other vehicles make up your vehicle these numbers may not match. You should check with authorities to make sure the vehicle is not a stolen one.

Perform a final check of the VIN by looking at the owner's manual for the car. The manufacturers enter the number there, as well. Make sure that if you have purchased a used vehicle or a salvage vehicle that all the VIN numbers appear on the title or bill of sale so that there are no legal problems when you try to title the vehicle.

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