Why your car has that special Chassis/VIN number

08.08.2016
Why your car has that special Chassis/VIN number

Is it safe or not to share that 17 digit VIN number of your car. Here we have explained details about Vehicle identification number and how safe it is to share your VIN.

The vehicle identification number (VIN) also known as chassis number is a unique 17-digit number given by automobile makers to identify each vehicle individually. They are used for all motor vehicles, motorcycles and scooters. It acts as a fingerprint for the automobile. The number system is specified as per ISO 3833. Each character in each position has a meaning pertaining to the model, year and vehicle details.

VIN is useful in checking registration details, warranty claims, insurance cover and theft. It is a reliable way to check car details in case of a second-hand purchase. The VIN was introduced in 1954 but there was no particular standard for the format, then in 1981 a format was standardised in the United States.

In most cases, the automobile VIN can be found on the dashboard on the driver’s side and it can be easily seen from the outside. It can also be found on documents related to the car stored in the glove compartment.

Automobile VIN is mostly used in identifying your car, finding spare parts for your car and you can also search exact model and its spare parts by using the search by VIN option in boodmo.com, VIN is also used in checking for buying second-hand cars. For a small fee, the manufacturer or service provider can check the automobile details in the Motor Vehicle Records (MVR) database. It will give all the details of the automobile’s history like the number of owners, service history, major accidents and also the car odometer status and whether it has been tampered with. It helps in checking if the car is stolen.

One of the ways to deter thieves from stealing the automobile is to etch VIN onto the windshield so that it cannot be tampered with and the whole windshield will have to be replaced in order to change the etched VIN. Also, from 1987 manufacturers were required to put the VIN on several parts of the automobile like engine, frames, windshield, fender, and wheel well. This was done to further deter car theft.

Ways to find the VIN on a car 

The car VIN is located in the car itself but the easiest way to find the VIN is by looking at the car documents. Also, in some cases, if there is no access to the car and it is necessary to find the VIN one can look at – Registration certificate, Insurance documents, Owner Manual, Service and Repair Receipts and Police reports.

  • Most commonly the VIN can be found on the lower left corner of the dashboard.
  • The VIN can be found on the driver’s side door. With the driver side door, open one should check the edges of the doorjamb and it can be just below the line of the rear view mirror. It can also be at the opposite end driver’s side doorjamb near from where the seat belt is located.
  • If not found inside the car one can look under the hood at the engine. The VIN might be printed in front of the engine.
  • VIN might also be printed on the vehicle’s frame. Open the hood of the car and look near the windshield washer fluid container.
  • If you were unable to locate the VIN of the car one more place to check is the space where the spare tire is kept. Lift the spare tire and look under it, the VIN might be printed there.
  • One last place can also be under the rear wheel well. Use a light torch to see under the both sides and the VIN might be printed there.

VIN is also present on Motorcycles and scooters, they are also standardised just like they in cars, Finding VIN on Motorcycles and Scooter 

  • Look at the Steering neck it is the most probable place to find the VIN. At some times the VIN can be etched on the metal cylinder which runs down from the handle bar. Turn the handles and check for the VIN on the metal cylinder.
  • The motor on the motorcycle is also a place to find the VIN. Check under the motor’s cylinders.
  • Sometimes the VIN is on the front frame. It is not easy to find and you may need a torch to locate it. It might be on the inner frame of the bike. First, see the outer frame of the bike VIN can be printed just below the shifter on the left side of the bike. If not present on the outer frame check the inner frame. Some manufacturers typically stamp the VIN in particular areas like Honda places the VIN on the right side of the steering and just above the motor on the left side. Check according to the manufacturer.

Sharing the automobile VIN

Automobile VIN helps in giving information about the automobile itself but doesn’t give other sensitive information. It can be noted that every automobile has its own number plate on display at all times anyways. Many times the VIN is placed in a position which is easy to see from outside the vehicle, so it isn’t considered as sensitive information.

During buying and selling used cars the VIN might be a necessary requirement to confirm the car details. For the customer, they will be able to see the car history before purchase. If the seller refrains from giving the VIN then it may raise suspicion from the side of the prospective buyer.  

The VIN standard was first made in the United States in 1981 and thereafter every country has adopted its own coding nomenclature to conform to the global standard. The 17 character VIN can be broken down into sections which give information about the country, model year and general characteristics of the vehicle.

Recently, in 2008 the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made a rule amending the VIN system so that the 17 character system can be for use for another 30 years.

Automobile VIN is a simple system to keep a check on the cars and knowledge about them can be helpful and necessary in the case of selling/purchase, accidents, theft, and insurance.