top of page

What is a Vin Number?

What is a Car VIN Number?

A vehicle identification Number (VIN) is a vehicles’ specific identity code.  It has essentially got the same effect as a fingerprint, as no two vehicles will have the same VIN, and is made up of 17 digitals and letters that tells you when and where the car was built. The VIN number will never change during the lifetime of a vehicle.

What is the Purpose of a VIN Number?

The vehicle identification number identifies special features that are unique to that single car, such as the manufacturer, year, make, and model. The VIN is essential to a car as a it can be used for manufacturers to track their vehicles. It can also be used to track registrations, any warranty claims and theft and insurance coverage. 

Car VIN Number Meaning

The information that a VIN contains is split into three groups throughout the 17 digits: World Manufacturer Identifier, Vehicle Description Section, and the Vehicle Identifier Section. If the vehicle has a VIN number with more than 17 digits, then it was most likely made before 1980.

VIN Number Infographic GREY.png

World Manufacturer Identification

  • Digit 1: defines the country of origin/the final point of assembly of your vehicle

  • Digit 2: indicates the manufacturer and the region where your vehicle was produced

  • Digit 3: this is made from the first two digits, indicating the vehicles type or manufacturing division

Vehicle Description Section

  • Digits 4-8: describe vehicle’s model type, restraint system, transmission type, and engine code

  • Digit 9: the check digit, which is used to identify fraudulent VIN numbers. It is based on the mathematical formula developed by the U.S Department of Transportation

Vehicle Identifier Section

  • Digit 10: this only applies to vehicles built in or after 1980.  It displays the year, and is coded using the alphabet. For example, if the vehicle was built in 1980, it has the code ‘A’, whereas a vehicle built in 1981 has the code ‘B’, and so on

  • Digit 11: this indicates which manufacturing plant the vehicle was assembled at

  • Digits 12-17: these are the unique production serial number that the vehicle receives on the assembly line.

Vin number location.png

Where To Find the VIN Number?

There are a few places where your vehicles’ VIN number could be located:

  • On the dashboard on the driver’s side of the vehicle

  • On the driver’s side door either on a plate or as a sticker

  • Stamped on the engine’s firewall

  • On your insurance card and insurance policy

  • On your vehicle’s title and registration

Find VIN Number Online UK

If you do not have access to your car and are looking to find out what your VIN number is and you are in the UK, then all you need is to know what your registration plate number is.

1. Log onto the DVLA website

2. Enter your vehicles registration number into the vehicle search box, and then select your vehicle from the results provide

3. Once this is done, you’ll be able to see your vehicles basic information, including it’s make, model and VIN number

Can I Find My VIN Number Without My Registration Plate?

If you don’t have access to your car and you don’t know what your registration plate is, then there is another solution for looking up your VIN number. If you have your insurance paperwork accessible to you, then you can see your VIN number through that.

Why Is My VIN Number Important?

Your VIN number is important and an essential part of the car for keeping you car protected and properly insured. It can also help find your car if it is stolen, as the authorities can use the VIN number to match a stolen car with the rightful owner. For more about car safety, read our Keytek® Guide to Keeping Your Car Secure.

VIN Numbers also help to detect criminal activity, as running a VIN check and vehicle history report can also indicate any potential criminal activity surrounding a car. If there is any suspicious activity this has been discovered by running the VIN check, for example there being registrations in very different locations in a short space of time, then this could be that you have purchased a car with a criminally cloned VIN.

VIN numbers are also very important regarding safety recalls. A safety recall happens when a vehicle fails to meet universal safety standards, so doing a VIN check helps you stay on top of your safety recalls, especially as the majority of car owners won’t know if a safety recall has been issues for their vehicle.

Is a VIN Number the Same as a Chassis Number?

Yes! The VIN number is sometimes referred to as the ‘chassis number’ because the vehicle identification is stamped to the chassis of the car.

Contact Keytek Auto Locksmiths

If you’ve come this far and you’ve not found what you’re looking for, why not give us a call to get more information? Or if you’d rather us call you, fill out our form and we’ll give you a call back as soon as possible.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
bottom of page