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What is a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?

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Kevely Diaz

Answered On Sep 22, 2023

· Answered On Sep 22, 2023

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique code, including a serial number, used by the automotive industry to identify individual motor vehicles, towed vehicles, motorcycles, scooters, and mopeds. It is a 17-character alphanumeric identifier that is assigned to a vehicle at the time of its manufacture.

The VIN serves several purposes, kind of like a vehicle history report. It tracks recalls, registrations, warranty claims, thefts, and insurance coverage. It can also serve as a vehicle descriptor since it can provide information about its manufacturer, year of production, engine type, model, and more.

The VIN is typically located on the driver’s side dashboard, visible through the windshield or the side door jamb. It can also be found on insurance cards, vehicle titles, and registration documents.

International standards regulate the structure of the VIN. Each character or set of characters within a VIN indicates specific vehicle information, including the vehicle’s unique features, specifications, and manufacturer. The VIN does not include the letters I (i), O (o), and Q (q) to avoid confusion with numerals 1 and 0.

In essence, a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a vehicle’s fingerprint, as no two vehicles in operation have the same VIN.