What’s In A VIN?


Ever wonder what that long group of numbers and letters identifying your car means? There is some method to the madness. While the various bumper stickers on the back of your car tell people who you are, the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) tells the world who your car is.

Mechanics use the VIN to identify engine type and other parts to service a vehicle, law enforcement can use the VIN to identify stolen vehicles, and manufacturers use it to resolve safety recalls.

Where’s My VIN?

You’ve probably had to find the VIN on your vehicle at some point. Because the VIN unlocks information about your car, you’ll see it on car titles, insurance policies and auto service records.

The location on the car will vary by year and manufacturer, but you’ll usually find it on the dashboard (you’ll be able to see it through the front windshield), on a sticker inside the driver’s side door or on the engine block.

Cracking the Da-VIN-ci Code

Under standards set by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA), every car and truck model year 1981 or later has a unique 17-digit VIN. Here is how the VIN is assigned.

Additional Resources

With all of the information your VIN provides, there are online resources that will help you during the used car buying process or to learn more about your car. A little research can prevent a costly flood-damaged vehicle purchase or oversight of a dangerous safety recall.

Having your VIN handy makes getting a car insurance quote that much faster. It only takes a few minutes to find out how much you could save on GEICO car insurance. Start your fast, free quote here.

By Nathan Erb