Welcome to our free VIN decoder service! This is the most important check you can perform when evaluating a potential vehicle or motorcycle for purchase. We provide the VIN look up for free and enhance the results by providing additional details about the vehicle to give you a complete picture.
What is a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)?
Every car has a unique 17-digit code called a VIN or Vehicle Identification Number. The VIN tells you where and when your car was made, who made it, and what features and options it has. You can also use the VIN to check the history of any used car you might want to buy by using services like FAXVIN, which tracks all the records of a car based on its VIN.
The VIN also has a hidden code that helps you verify that it is genuine. This is useful for buyers, lenders, and lawyers who want to make sure the car is authentic.
The VIN looks something like this: 1C6SRFFT8LN218916. The International Standards Organization (ISO) developed this format in 1981, and it is applicable to all cars today. Each digit can be a number from zero to nine or any letter of the alphabet except "I", "O" or "Q" to avoid confusion with the numbers one and zero.
To make sense of the VIN, you can break it down into different parts: 1C6-SRFFT-8-L-N-21-8916. We’ll explain what each of these parts means below.
Examples of VIN
Here are some examples of vehicle identification number comprising different vehicle types and models:
What does Each Digit Mean in a VIN?
You can learn a lot about a vehicle from its VIN number. The first digit tells you which country made the vehicle. And the next two digits inform you about the maker or manufacturer and the type of car. Vehicle attributes, such as the brand and size, are attributed to the next five digits.
The ninth digit is a security code that verifies whether the maker authorized the VIN. With the tenth digit, you can tell the model year of the vehicle. And the eleventh digit tells you which plant assembled the vehicle (see table below). The last six digits are the serial number.
Here is a table simplifying the VIN:
|VIN Digit||Meaning||VIN Digit||Meaning|
|2nd||Region / Maker||11th||Assembly Plant|
|3rd||Vehicle Type||12th||Sequential Number|
|4th||Vehicle Attributes||13th||Sequential Number|
|5th||Vehicle Attributes||14th||Sequential Number|
|6th||Vehicle Attributes||15th||Sequential Number|
|7th||Vehicle Attributes||16th||Sequential Number|
|8th||Vehicle Attributes||17th||Sequential Number|
World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI)
The first three digits of the VIN are called the WMI code. It stands for World Manufacturer Identifier, and it tells you where the vehicle was made, who made it, and what kind of vehicle it is. If a manufacturer makes less than 1000 vehicles a year, they use 9 as the third digit and the next three digits of the VIN for more identification.
- Country. The country is indicated by the first letter of the VIN, which ranges from A to Z. For example, if your VIN starts with AA* – AH*, that means your car was made in South Africa.
1st WMI Digit Region WMI Country A–C Africa AA* – AH* South Africa J–R Asia J Japan KL* – KR* South Korea L** China MA* – ME* India MF* – MK* Indonesia ML* – MR* Thailand MS* Myanmar NL* – NR* Turkey PA* – PE* Philippines PL* – PR* Malaysia RF* – RG* Taiwan S–Z Europe SA* – SM* United Kingdom SN* – ST* Germany W** Germany SU* – SZ* Poland TA* – TH* Switzerland TJ* – TP* Czech Republic TR* – TV* Hungary TW* – T1* Portugal VA* – VE* Austria VF* – VR* France VS* – VW* Spain VX* – V2* Yugoslavia XL* – XM* Netherlands XS* – XW* USSR X3* – X0* Russia YA* – YE* Belgium YF* – YK* Finland YS* – YW* Sweden ZA* – ZR* Italy 1–5 North America 1** United States 4** United States 5** United States 2** Canada 3** Mexico 6–7 Oceania 6A* – 6W* Australia 7A* – 7E* New Zealand 8–9 South America 8A* – 8E* Argentina 8F* – 8J* Chile 8L* – 8R* Ecuador 8X* – 82* Venezuela 9A* – 9E* Brazil 93* – 99* Brazil 9F* – 9J* Colombia
- Manufacturer. The second character of the VIN tells you which manufacturer produced the car. For instance, if the second character is 1FD, it indicates that Ford Motor Company made the vehicle in the US.
WMI Manufacturer WMI Manufacturer WMI Manufacturer 1FT Ford Motor Company 1FU Freightliner WAU Audi 1FD Ford Motor Company 1FV Freightliner 1XK Kenworth USA 1GC Chevrolet 1HT International Truck 1NP Peterbilt 1GT GMC Truck JH2 Honda 1NK Kenworth 1GT GMC Truck 1XP Peterbilt 1M2 Mack Trucks 4X4 Forest River 1FM Ford Motor Company 2GC Chevrolet 1GB Chevrolet 1HD Harley-Davidson 2FT Ford Motor Company 1GD GMC JYA Yamaha Motor 1FA Ford Motor Company 4YD Keystone 1G1 Chevrolet 1GN Chevrolet WBA BMW WF0 Ford Motor Company WVW Volkswagen
- Vehicle Type. The third character in the VIN indicates the type of vehicle. For example, 1G1 is a Chevrolet passenger car.
Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS)
The VDS code is a part of the VIN that contains information about the vehicle’s features. It consists of the 4th to 8th characters of the VIN and varies depending on the manufacturer. Some of the common data encoded in the VDS code are:
- Vehicle Attributes. This section describes the engine, body type, and restraint system of the vehicle.
- Check Digit. It’s the ninth character of the VIN and serves as a security code to validate the VIN. It is calculated using a mathematical formula based on all VIN characters.
Vehicle Identifier Section (VIS)
The vehicle identifier section (VIS) is a part of the vehicle identification number (VIN) that provides specific information about the vehicle. The VIS consists of eight characters from the 10th to the 17th position in the VIN. These characters indicate the following details:
- Year. The 10th character shows the model year of the vehicle according to a standard VIN-to-Year chart. For example, A stands for 1980, B for 1981, and so on.
Code Year Code Year Code Year Code Year Code Year A 1980 M 1991 2 2002 D 2013 R 2024 B 1981 N 1992 3 2003 E 2014 S 2025 C 1982 P 1993 4 2004 F 2015 T 2026 D 1983 R 1994 5 2005 G 2016 V 2027 E 1984 S 1995 6 2006 H 2017 W 2028 F 1985 T 1996 7 2007 J 2018 X 2029 G 1986 V 1997 8 2008 K 2019 Y 2030 H 1987 W 1998 9 2009 L 2020 1 2031 J 1988 X 1999 A 2010 M 2021 2 2032 K 1989 Y 2000 B 2011 N 2022 3 2033 L 1990 1 2001 C 2012 P 2023 4 2034
- Assembly Plant. The 11th character identifies the plant where the vehicle was manufactured. Each manufacturer has its own set of codes for different plants.
- Sequential Number. Characters (12th to 17th) are the serial number of the vehicle, assigned by the manufacturer in sequential order.
How is a VIN Used?
VINs are useful to different people throughout the vehicle’s lifetime. The unique ID is useful to the following parties:
- Mechanics. They can use the VIN to find out the engine type and other parts that the vehicle may require for servicing or repairs.
- Insurance companies. They need the VIN to verify the details of the vehicle they are insuring, such as the make, model, year, and safety features.
- Manufacturers. The VIN identifier helps track their vehicles and recall them if necessary.
- Police. Law enforcement agencies request VINs to record accidents or follow up on theft and criminal cases.
- DMV & BMV. The state agencies use the VIN to register the vehicle and issue a title and license plate.
- Buyers. Interested parties may use the VIN to perform a background check on a used vehicle before buying it. This can help them avoid buying a vehicle that has a history of accidents, damage or mechanical problems.
Where to Find the VIN Number?
You can find the VIN on the vehicle itself and on the documents related to it. It is very important to check that the VIN on the record matches the one on the vehicle, especially if you are buying a used car.
You should also visually confirm that the VIN is stamped on the vehicle’s frame and look for any signs of tampering or alteration. A mismatched or tampered VIN could indicate a stolen or salvaged vehicle.
A mismatched or tampered VIN could indicate a stolen or salvaged vehicle.
On the Vehicle
- Dashboard. It’s the most prominent location for the VIN on most cars, trucks, and even commercial vehicles because of its easy-to-access spot. The VIN plate will be affixed to the lower left-hand side of the dashboard (driver’s side). While you can get a glimpse of it by sitting in the driver’s seat and looking at the dashboard in front of the steering wheel, it’s easier to see it by looking through the windshield from the outside.
- Driver-side door. The VIN may appear on the Federal Safety Certification Label found in newer cars. It’s affixed to the driver’s side door in the following spots:
- On the driver-side doorpost. Open the door and look at the section where the door latches. Or the sticker may be near the seatbelt return.
- Inside the driver-side door jamb. With the door open, check the sides of the door jamb frame.
- Under the spare tire. You may find the VIN underneath the spare tire, which is usually in the trunk. It may be necessary to remove the spare tire to access it.
- Front of the car frame. Some vehicle models will have the VIN under the hood and stamped on the frame. You can check the car frame near the windshield washer container. It may be necessary to crouch down in front of the car on the driver’s side to check for this placement. Note that the code may belong to the frame or engine.
Please consult your manual to see other places on the car where the VIN may be located.
VIN on Paperwork
The vehicle’s unique identifier is used on all official car documents. You can find it by checking the following documents:
- Vehicle title. The VIN appears on the first page of the title document. You’ll find it listed along with the vehicle’s model, make, and body type on the title’s header.
- Owner’s manual. The vehicle identification number should also be listed in the owner’s manual. You should have the owner’s manual if the vehicle is brand new. However, if you purchased a secondhand vehicle, you may not have access to it.
- Insurance card. When insuring a vehicle, the insurance company will ask for the title so that they can determine the vehicle’s VIN. The VIN will then be listed on the insurance card or policy.
- Registration card. If you have a registration card, you can find the VIN on the front of the card. You need to contact your Department of Motor Vehicles to ask for the registration card for the car, if you don’t have it.
- Body repair records: Repair facilities will typically ask the owner for the VIN, as it’s useful when ordering the right parts or recording any relevant details about the kind of damage.
- Police reports: Following thefts or accidents, the police will require the VIN to identify the vehicle and file relevant reports.
Is it Safe to Give Out My VIN?
You should definitely share your VIN with potential buyers of your car. Otherwise, they might doubt the accuracy of the information you provide about your car’s features.
Sharing your VIN does not pose any security risk to you, as it is not a confidential piece of information like your social security number.
In fact, your VIN is visible in some parts of your car, such as the dashboard. Moreover, you expose your license plate every time you drive your car, and anyone can easily convert a license plate to a VIN.
What does a VIN Lookup Reveal?
When you use FAXVIN’s VIN number lookup to decode a VIN, you can access a lot of useful information about the vehicle you are interested in. Here are some of the categories of data you can see:
- Make. This tells you the brand of the vehicle, such as Chevrolet, Toyota or others. This can help you narrow down your search and compare similar vehicles from different manufacturers.
- Model. It informs you about the specific name of the vehicle, such as Camry, Impala or others. If their model name is not clearly visible, some vehicles might be difficult to distinguish. You can also spot inconsistencies between the model stated on the listing page and the actual model based on the VIN.
- Year. It’s the model year of the vehicle, and this will influence its price and performance. You can better research potential problems or recalls that may affect that particular year of production.
- Trim. It gives you details about the level of features and options that the vehicle has, such as leather seats, a sunroof, a navigation system or others. Trim options can affect the value and comfort of the vehicle. For instance, if you are looking for a vehicle with off-road capabilities, you may want to know if it has a higher trim level with more rugged features.
- Manufactured Place. It tells you where the vehicle was built, such as the USA, Japan, Germany or others. Knowing the manufacturing plant can indicate the quality and reliability of the vehicle, as well as its availability and compatibility with parts and services in your area.
- Body Style. You can tell the shape and design of the vehicle, such as sedan, coupe, SUV or others. This can help you identify changes that were made to a vehicle over time, such as modifications or repairs. It can also help you determine if the vehicle suits your needs and preferences.
Extra Buyer Details
On FAXVIN, you can perform a VIN lookup for free and save the time you’d spend figuring out how to use VIN charts. But aside from providing basic details, our VIN search lists other useful features to make your comparison and search easier:
- DriveTrain. The engine type and drivetrain of the car, such as whether it is front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
- Seating. Standard seating capacity and configuration of the car, such as how many passengers it can accommodate and whether it has leather seats or cloth seats.
- Fuel capacity. Fuel-related details of the car, such as the tank level, fuel economy, and fuel type.
- Braking. The braking system of the car, for instance, whether it is fitted with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), whether the rear brakes are disc type or drum type, and the availability of a brake assist feature.
- Wheels and Tires. Size and type of the wheels and tires of the car, such as the size of the spare tire, the recommended tire pressure, and the tire tread depth.
- Pricing. Pricing information, including the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price), the dealer invoice price, and the average market price.
- Entertainment options. Availability of entertainment features, whether there is an AM/FM radio, a CD player, an MP3 player or a navigation system.
- Other additional details. You similarly obtain other important details, such as the suspension type, the dimensions, the safety ratings, interior and exterior colors, warranty coverage, and more.
The additional details provided by FAXVIN give you a powerful perspective on the vehicle you’re considering, making your purchase safer, easier, and cost-effective.
Decoding VIN Examples
The following example shows what you can see by checking the VIN:
|1FTFW1CT5DFC10312||2013||Ford||F-150||3.5L V6 TURBO||FX2 SuperCrew 5.5-ft. Bed 2WD|
|1GC5CZEG0F0017106||2015||Chevrolet||Silverado||6.0 Li||3500 LT|
|4T1BG28K81U790207||2001||Toyota||Camry||2.2L L4 DOHC 16V||CE|
|WBA5B3C50GG252337||2016||BMW||5-Series||3.0L L6 DOHC 24V||535i xDrive|
|7SAYGAEE7PF684052||2023||Tesla||Model Y||ELECTRIC||Long Range AWD|
VIN Decoder vs. a Manual VIN Lookup
Decoding a VIN by manually matching each character to a chart is quite time-consuming and even confusing, as some characters may be quite hard to understand.
Now, the better option is to use an online tool that can instantly generate a detailed report of your car’s specifications. But note that the VIN decoder cannot reveal the history of your car, such as past repairs, services or damages. For that, you need to use the car’s VIN to run a comprehensive vehicle history report that can show you how the car has been treated or maintained.
What Vehicle’s VIN Can Be Decoded?
VINs have been standardized since 1981 in the USA, but they do not apply to all types of vehicles. They are mostly assigned to the following vehicle types:
- Commercial Truck;
- RV and Motorhome;
- Trailer and Camper;
- Moped and Scooter;
How to Do a VIN Lookup?
To use FAXVIN to get your vehicle specs by VIN, you only need to do these four steps, and you will get free information about your vehicle in no time.
- Type your VIN into the VIN search bar.
- Press the "Decode VIN" button.
- Get free information about your vehicle instantly.
- You can view the report on your laptop or your phone.
As you can see, the process is very simple, and our VIN number lookup free service lets you save money. So, don’t take any chances when you want to buy a used car and get the vehicle specs by VIN.
Checking the VIN for free online is a good idea, as it allows you to obtain basic information about the manufacturer’s specifications. FAXVIN handles this task professionally by providing you with VIN details as well as extra details of your car’s dimensions, drivetrain, entertainment, fog lights, pricing, interior trim, exterior color, and more.
However, if you want to get usage insights about your car, you’ll need to do a full VIN look up history check that gives you a comprehensive account of all incidents that impact your car’s condition and value.