VIN code decoding

Deciphering the VIN code: what does the VIN consist of?

Since 1981, American, European and other car manufacturers have used a single vehicle identification number (VIN VIN) to identify and describe vehicles. This is a unique number assigned to each car produced. It consists of an alphanumeric sequence of 17 characters and, as a result of a simple decoding of the VIN code, allows you to accurately identify the vehicle.


17 characters in the VIN number are divided into three segments:

WMI (Manufacturer Identifier) ​​- the first three characters, which contain the geography of production and the designation of the automaker. 

VDS (Descriptive part) - characters 4 to 8 - indicate general information about the car: body type, class, engine type, etc. Also look here if you need to find out the complete set by wine code.

VIS (Identification Part) - the last 8 characters - includes the year of manufacture, data on the assembly plant and a unique 6-digit serial factory number.

There are differences in the location of the VIN and in the systems used for the VIN; they may vary by year of production and between manufacturers.

VIN decoding - allows you to find out important information about the car you are planning to buy: the country of origin in order to choose the right parts for effective repairs, the exact date of issue, the VIN equipment and much more. With the increasing globalization of manufacturing, this is becoming increasingly important when identifying options that are unique to certain assembly plants. In addition, a unique VIN code allows you to track and check the history of the car, including such unpleasant but important facts as accidents or thefts. This means that VIN reports can give you a detailed vehicle history of accidents, mileage, number of owners and more.


First part of VIN number: WMI

The first 3 characters of the identification number correspond to the manufacturer's code. Indeed, each manufacturer has a code assigned by the competent authorities of the country on which it depends.

 In the manufacturer's code, each symbol refers to certain information:

1st character: denotes a geographic area. This geographic area may include several countries. For example, the letter V unites France, Austria, Spain, Croatia and Estonia. 

Cars from the American market are designated by numbers from 1 to 5;

2nd character: Indicates the corresponding country within the geographic area. For example, the letter F for France. Canada is denoted by symbols from 2A to 2W, Germany - from W0 to W9;

3rd character: indicates the manufacturer, each auto brand has its own. For example, the letter M is for Ford Motor Company, number 1 is for Renault, Nissan is N, Chrysler is C, and so on. Brands with a large production volume (more than 500 cars per year) have additional characters from 12 to 14 positions, if the manufacturer produces cars in limited editions, as a rule, they are indicated by the number 9.


The second part of the VIN number: VDS

The following 6 characters correspond to the descriptive part of the VIN code. As the name suggests, this segment is used to describe the vehicle. In particular, this code describes the technical characteristics of the car. Feature coding is standardized. 


Symbol No4: gross vehicle weight and airbag equipment. For example, if a car weighs 6001-7000 pounds and is equipped with 2 front airbags, put the letter R. Up to the letter F - for cars weighing 7001-8000 pounds and 2 front airbags.

Symbols No5-7: type, drive system, degree of equipment. For example, for the Ford Expedition 4x4 in the "XLT" configuration, the designation U16 is used. 

Symbol No8: motor type. It can be the letters W, L and others to designate engines of different sizes.

In this code we find, for example:

  • model;
  • place of production;
  • body;
  • engine's type;
  • roof type and so on.


The third part of the VIN number: VIS

The last 8 characters of the VIN number are the identification part of the identifier. This code allows you to get more detailed information to identify the vehicle. For example, symbol #11 is information about an assembly plant. In particular, the letter L is used for the Michigan Truck Plant, where some Ford models are manufactured.


VIS includes, in particular:

  • year of production;
  • factory code;
  • serial number.

To learn about accidents, overhauls, previous owners of the car, as well as additional information about the history of the car, deciphering the VIN code with a VIN decoder will help. This can be done online, right on the site. You will receive a detailed report that will help you avoid being scammed when searching for a used car online or build a potential customer's trust if you are a seller.