Car MaintenanceDriving Articles

What is a VIN Number & Why do you Need It?

Every single car on the road has a VIN number, but understanding what it is and what it means is one of the best ways to get a true insight into your vehicle. When it comes to admin behind your car, there are some really important things to learn. You have important documents like your licence, registration, V5c, etc. There’s a lot. On top of that, you need to know about running and maintaining it too. That’s a battle in itself. What isn’t so commonly mentioned, however, is VINs, or Vehicle Identification Numbers. They’re a fundamental of your car’s conception but understanding these mysterious little numbers and what they do and mean is a separate story altogether. That’s what we’re here for.

What is a VIN?

Firstly, let’s look at what a VIN actually is. We know that that stands for a vehicle identification number, but what does that really mean? Well, it’s a 17-digit number that your car contains as a way of identifying your car to the dot. It’s completely unique to your vehicle and that makes it stand apart from every other car in the whole world. All just from the one number!

What does a VIN do?

The next obvious question for what VINs are for tends to be what it actually does. That’s what license plates are for after all, right? Well, not entirely. A VIN is the real barebones DNA behind your car, and it’s what you need for a lot of legal activities like reg changes, as well as other things too. That’s perfect for doing history and vehicle checks as well as a range of other things as well.

In fact, one of the greatest uses of a VIN comes from fraud in a lot of cases especially with things like car cloning being so common out there and so easy to do too. The VIN is something that is totally your own and something that can always make sure your car is legit.

How do you Find a VIN?

Despite being something that every single car on the road has, it’s also something that a lot of people don’t actually know how to find too. It’s a great thing to learn, and it’s actually much more common than you may think.

Generally speaking, you’ll actually find it on your dashboard. That’s right, it’s right there. To see it though, you’ll need to get out of your vehicle and actually look in the very bottom corner of your windscreen to see it there. It can also be on your door frame too (just like your tyre pressures).

What a Vin Really Means

So now that you’ve found this magical confusing code, you may well be thinking about what it could mean. It looks like a real contraption after all, but it’s not actually as manic as it sounds. Each character actually has a whole story behind it and it all works together to keep you safe.

For example:

  • Digit 1 – Country of Manufacture
  • Digits 2-3 – Manufacturer
  • Digits 4-8 – Brand, Engine and Size
  • Digit 9 – Security Code
  • Digit 10 – Model Year
  • Digit 11 – Assembly Plant
  • Digit 12-17 – Serial Number

That’s about everything there is to know. It’s always useful to know, and it’ll stay with your car forever. Happy Driving!

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