Vehicle Identification Number – VIN Number 2

What Is A VIN Number?

A VIN Number is like a fingerprint for a car. Unlike a Fingerprint, though, a VIN Number contains quite a bit of information about your car.

A VIN Number (or Vehicle Identification Number) is a unique serial number used by car makers to identify the different types of Motor Vehicles; Cars, Trucks, Motorcycles, Mopeds, Trailers, and All Terrain Vehicles.

How Did The “VIN Number” Come Into Existence?

In 1954 (and going as far as 1981), there was no standardization of VIN Numbers, so different manufacturers used different formats. Finally, in May of 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decided that all “Over the road” vehicles being sold must contain a 17 alphanumeric-character Vehicle Identification Number (aka, a VIN. Commonly referred to as a VIN Number).

This established a standardized VIN Format for all automakers.

In 1987, the VIN Labeling process took another turn, where the Department of Transportation issued the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard to help reduce the amount of Motor Vehicle Thefts by requiring that major components be labeled with a Vehicle Identification Number, assisting Law Enforcement Authorities in tracing stolen motor vehicles by being able to track their parts.

Vehicle Identification Numbers, and Vehicle History

There are several services that offer VIN Check Reports to look up vehicle history. These Vehicle History Reports are never 100% accurate, but provide potential car buyers an ability to see any reported accidents, and title brands, that might have been a result of previous damage to the vehicle.

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2 thoughts on “Vehicle Identification Number – VIN Number

  1. Reply joe sedilko Mar 1, 2014 10:37 pm

    My 64 vette only has 11 digits in the vin. Why? 40837s10232

    • Reply admin Mar 14, 2014 6:00 pm

      Hello Joe.

      To answer your question, pre-1981 Vehicle Identification Numbers were not as “uniform” as post-1981 VINs, so manufacturers had more of their own say in what format the VINs were – allowing for different VIN Digit lengths (and making decoding them very difficult). If you’d like to decode your VIN manually, here’s a guide by bryk1979 that might help you.

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