How to identify a vehicle's make and model and manufacturing year by its VIN number, without VIN number identification decoder? If it's a standard 17-digit VIN, the simplest way is to visit a Carfax or AutoCheck site and run free VIN check. There companies specialize on car history reports, the full reports are not free. They will show you the basic data like make, model and year absolutely for free. However, if you need more specific date, as well as how exactly vehicle data in encoded in the VIN and get additional information on serial number, country and manufacturing plant, our VIN identification chart.
VIN identification: Country of origin - 1st character
Country of origin is encoded in the 1st digit of the VIN. U.S.A.(1,4,5), Canada(2), Mexico(3), Japan(J), Korea(K), England(S), Germany(W), Italy(Z)
VIN identification: Manufacturer - 2nd character
VIN identification: Toyota
The second digit T in the VIN identifies a Toyota VIN.
VIN identification: Toyota
The second digit "T" in the VIN identifies a Toyota vehicle.
VIN identification: Chevrolet
The second digit "1" in the VIN identifies a Chevrolet vehicle.
VIN identification: GM
The second digit "G" in the VIN identifies a GM vehicle. "7" stands for GM Canada.
A = Audi, Mitsubishi, Range Rover, American Motors, Sterling, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and Jaguar
B = Dodge
C = Chrysler. Checker, Delorian, some Geo Metro's and Trackers
D = Daihatsu and Mercedes E = Eagle
F = Ford, some Subaru's i.e. Forrester and Impreza, Fiat, Peugeot, Renault and Ferrari. Note regarding Subaru, Fiat Peugot, Renault and Ferrari, the 2nd Character = F, means the vehicle was manufactured in France.
G = General Motors (Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Buick, Cadillac, GMC, Saturn, and some Geo Metro's and Tracker's)
H = Honda and Acura J = Jeep L = Lancia, Daewoo and Lincoln M = Hyundai and Mini
N = Infinity, Nissan, Kia and Ford Aspires, possibly Ford Festiva, and possibly some Toyotas.
P = Porshe and Plymouth
S = Isuzu, Saab, some Subaru's (i.e. Baja and Legacy) and Suzuki
T = Toyota and Lexus U = Aro V = Volkswagen and Volvo X = Yugo
Y = Mazda and Geo Prizm Z = Mercury
2 = Avanti 3 = American General (Hummer) 8 = Chevrolet Luv and Geo Storm 9 = Acura
VIN Identification: Body style, engine and other specs - 3 to 8 characters.
These digits encode body type, car line, engine, braking system, restraint system. Every manufacturer uses its own encoding system. 3rd character is typically allocated for vehicle type or manufacturing division. With domestic Manufacturers, 8th character encodes the engine. Click here for specs for different manufacturers.
VIN Identification: Check Digit - 9th character
It's a mathematical digit based on previous characters which helps check the VIN for accuracy. You may need this to avoid a stolen vehicle with a fake VIN number. Click here for VIN Check Digit Calculator. Check Digit ensures that there are no two identical VINs on any two vehicles manufactured within a 30 year period. It can be a number or a letter x.
VIN identification: Year - 10th character
The manufacturing year is encoded in the 10th digit : 1980(A), 1981(B), 1982(C), 1983(D), 1984(E), 1985(F), 1986(G), 1987(H). 1988(J), 1989(K), 1990(L), 1991(M), 1992(N), 1993(P), 1994(R), 1995(S), 1996(T), 1997(V), 1998(W), 1999(X), 2000(Y), 2001(1), 2002(2), 2003(3), 2004(4), 2005(5), 2006(6), 2007(7), 2009(8), 2009(9). The letters U, O, I, Q are not used. Starting 2010, the letters are being used again, sequentially: 2010(A), 2011 (B), 2012(C). etc.
VIN identification: Assembly plant and transmission type - 11th character
These differ for different manufacturers.
12th to 17th characters are used to identify a of specific vehicle, the last 4 identify the sequence of the vehicle for production, always numeric.
VIN number identification during inspections
VIN number identification is done when you register a new vehicle to verify the vehicle's identity. In some states, VIN number identification is a mandatory part of annual or biannual vehicle inspection.