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How to Tell the Production Date by the VIN

by Jesse Dempsen

The vehicle identification number, or VIN, is a 17-digit combination of numbers and letters unique to every vehicle. Each number and letter in the sequence represents a different piece of the vehicle's history, including the country in which it was manufactured, the division or class to which the vehicle belongs, the body type, the transmission and engine size, etc. The VIN also identifies the year that the vehicle was manufactured. All you need to know is which number or letter represents the production date.

Locate the VIN on your vehicle. It is usually on either the left side of your dash or the driver's side door panel sticker.

Find the tenth digit. This is the beginning of the Vehicle Identifier Section (VIS) of the VIN, and represents the model year.

Find the corresponding year. The tenth digit started with B, which represents 1981. The letters follow consecutively for each year thereafter, down to Y, which represents 2000. The letters I, O, Q, U and Z are not used, so those should be skipped in the order. Beginning with 2001, numbers are used to represent the years, so 1 is for 2001, 2 is for 2002, etc. Starting with 2010, the tenth digit becomes a letter again, starting with A.

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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