What is a VIN and How Does it Work

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Buying a vehicle comes with great responsibilities and you need to address every step very carefully. The vehicle identification number (VIN) is one of the essential factors in registering, buying, or inquiring about a new or old vehicle. To help you get a better understanding of what a VIN is and how it works, we give a brief overview in this article.

What is a VIN and How Does it Work

A car’s VIN works as an identification number of a vehicle, just like a fingerprint is used to identify a person. It is composed of 17 characters in a unique sequence that doesn’t match with the VIN of another vehicle so that no other car can be registered with the same vehicle number as yours. While buying a car, there are times when you need to cross-check all the information and history related to that particular vehicle to evaluate its value and performance level.

For that, you can get access to the vehicle’s record database through the VIN of that vehicle. Investigating whether your car has been involved in an accident in the past, who were the previous owners of the car, and whether the vehicle was involved in a serious criminal case, a car crash, or flood before it was put up for sale, are all the questions you can quickly get answers for using the vehicle’s
identification number.

What is a VIN?

VIN was first introduced in the US by the United States Transportation department in 1981 to unify the coding system. Before the VIN system, all the car manufacturers had their coding procedures. However, after the VIN system, a proper database is formed where all the records of the state vehicles are maintained. It is also according to the standard of the International Organization for Standardization. Each VIN has a 14 character sequence that is different from any other vehicle code; this helps keep the identity of a vehicle unique and easily identifiable. Each character of the code identifies or denotes something. Following are the categories of meanings of the characters in a VIN.


  • 1. 1-3 Character

    1. The first three characters help to identify the manufacturer of the automobile. The first character denotes the country or region where the vehicle is manufactured. Since the parts used in a car can be taken from any part of the world, the first digit helps understand where the vehicles have been assembled. Moreover, the second code helps to identify the car manufacturer. While the third character helps to identify the division between the manufacturer and general vehicle type.
  • 2. 4-8 Characters

    1. The characters from four to eight help identify the automobile’s model, weight, size, engine type, and other body styles. Firstly, the fourth code denotes the vehicle’s weight and horsepower. The fifth code represents the vehicle’s platform, whether a pickup truck, van, sedan or other types. Next, the sixth digit helps to identify the model of the car, for instance, whether it’s a Mustang, Corvette, Jeep, etc. The seventh character of the VIN can determine the vehicle’s body type, showing either the car is a convertible, four-door, two-door, or hatchback. Lastly, the eighth digit symbolized the engine displacement and the number of cylinders.
  • 3. Ninth and Tenth Characters

    1. The ninth digit helps to check the VIN of vehicles through careful steps. It is used to identify a VIN theft or error, while the tenth digit denotes the model year.
  • 4. Eleventh Digit

    1. The eleventh digit is a plant code that identifies the factory or plant where the automobile was assembled or originated.
  • 5. Last Six Digits

    The last six digits are reserved for the serial number that differentiates a vehicle from others. Every car manufactured in a single year has different VIN codes that help the databases to keep their records.

Importance of a VIN

A vehicle identification number is not only an identification code but is also an essential source while buying or leasing a used car and upgrading new advancements in your old car. You don’t always have to spend an expensive amount on a new car, especially when living near Fort Lauderdale since there is a wide range of local car dealers who offer a variety of new options.

People mostly prefer getting an old car upgraded with the repairs and recent advancements, and as this Fort Lauderdale dealer suggests, one should opt for more accessible services that have the option of online payments and appointment schedules. Since not many people can afford to buy a brand new luxurious car, some people decide to purchase or lease a luxury car at affordable prices. However, if not appropriately investigated, a used car can be more costly due to its maintenance if its track record is not clear. For this, a VIN helps you check the vehicle’s history or vehicle you want to purchase.

How a VIN Helps to Recover Stolen Cars?

Every VIN code of your vehicle is enrolled in the databases of law enforcement. If you suspect that your car is stolen or any part of your vehicle is missing, you can easily report a police complaint. The police will find the stolen automobile or its details using the identity code. There are several cases where car thieves change the codes of the number plates. However, the VIN is on different parts of the vehicle and can determine theft.

How a VIN Helps to Recover Stolen Cars?
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A VIN is an essential part of every vehicle since its identity is acknowledged through it. Whether you want to check the track record of a vehicle or change the automotive parts of your old car, you need a VIN to handle all the vehicle-related problems and dealings. The government is benefitting from it the most as they have all the track records of their citizens’ vehicles. If any criminal theft or vehicle case is reported, the police can quickly investigate. That’s why it’s always better to keep track of your automobile’s VIN, and whenever buying a new or old vehicle, cross-check all the information.

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