How To Decode VIN: Online And Offline

how to decode vin online and offline

How To Decode VIN: Online And Offline

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There is an increasing need for individual buyers, sellers and car dealers to learn how to decode VIN.

This is even more important now as we live in an era when most people choose to buy a used car instead of a new one, due to the economic advantage attached.

The acronym VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number, also known as chassis number.

The VIN is a unique alphanumeric code always assigned to every vehicle by the manufacturer.

Decoding a VIN means revealing the wealth of information enclosed in the alphanumeric code. 

 

Decode VIN

A picture showing the VIN (17 digit alphanumeric code)

Why Decode VIN?

Well, decoding a VIN provides massive insights on the true nature of the vehicle.

Information enclosed in a VIN includes the following:

  • Country of make
  • Manufacturer
  • Vehicle type
  • Body type
  • Engine
  • Series
  • Model 
  • Check digit
  • Model year 
  • Plant sequential number

More to that, using the Detailed Vehicle History tool for VIN decoding can give even more valuable insights, as it provides a detailed history report of the vehicle.

When you decode your VIN online you can get to know the accident records, theft records, loan records, see auction images and other valuable information about the vehicle.

How To Decode A VIN Offline

Decoding a VIN offline involves  understanding the various components of any VIN, without running it through an automated VIN decoder, or checking out the VIN online.

A VIN is made up of 17 characters with each character encoded for a specific information about the car.

An example of a VIN is 1HGBH41JXMN109186. Now let’s look at what each character stands for, that is decode the VIN.

  1. First character: This represents the country where the vehicle was manufactured.

  2. Second character: This represents the manufacturer’s name.

  3. Third character: With this character, you can find out the vehicle’s type or division. The first three digits of a VIN number are known as the World Manufacturer Identifier or WMI.

  4. Fourth to eighth character: This sequence of characters tells you about a vehicle’s engine size and type, vehicle brand, model, series, and body style.

  5. Ninth character: The ninth character provides you with the security check digit. This single digit is used to verify the accuracy of the VIN number.

  6. The fourth to ninth digits are known as the Vehicle Descriptor Section or VDS.

  7. Tenth character:  This character represents a vehicle’s model year.

  8. Eleventh character: This character tells you of the assembly plant where a car was produced.

  9. Twelfth to seventeenth character: This sequence of characters represents a vehicle’s serial number. These six digits make every single vehicle in the world different from the other.

  10. The tenth through seventeenth digits is known as the Vehicle Identification Section or VIS.

decode VIN offline
decode VIN offline

The above images explains the various components of a VIN 

Here are  further examples on the meaning of the various characters of a VIN, in this case we are using 3 VINs as examples.

VINs

CHARACTER

DENOTATION

2T1LR32E66C557572

JTMRFREV1D5028137

5FNRL38737B050355

1st

Country

Canada

Japan

USA

2nd

Manufacturer

TOYOTA

TOYOTA

HONDA

3rd

Vehicle Type

Passenger Car

MULTIPURPOSE PASSENGER VEHICLE (MPV)

MULTIPURPOSE PASSENGER VEHICLE (MPV)

4th

Body Type

Hatchback/liftback

/notchback

Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV)

Minivan

5th

Engine

1ZZ-FE

2AR-FE

J35A7

6th

Series

ZZE132L/ZZE133L

 

/ZZE134L

ASA42L/ASA44L

 

7th

Restraint

 

 

 

8th

Model

Corolla Matrix

RAV4

Odyssey

9th

Check Digit

6

1

3

10th

Model Year

2006

2013

2007

11th

Plant

CAMBRIDGE, ONTARIO, CANADA

Toyota Motor Corp., TAHARA PLANT, TOYOTA CITY, AICHI, JAPAN

LINCOLN, ALABAMA, UNITED STATES (USA)

12th – 17th

Serial Number

557572

028137

050355

 

Understanding The VIN's 10th Character

The  10th character of the VIN explains the year the vehicle was made. 

The table below will help you decode the year of manufacture for any VIN.

Code

Year

Code

Year

Code

Year

Code

Year

Code

Year

A

1980

L

1990

Y

2000

A

2010

L

2020

B

1981

M

1991

1

2001

B

2011

M

2021

C

1982

N

1992

2

2002

C

2012

N

2022

D

1983

P

1993

3

2003

D

2013

P

2023

E

1984

R

1994

4

2004

E

2014

R