A vehicle identification number or VIN is a critical piece of information printed on the car that can be used to identify the vehicle down to the specs. Anything from the engine to body parts, you can use VIN to find every car part. You can say that it's the DNA of your car. We here at AutopartsZ specialize in helping car owners find car parts using VIN along with tires and paint for your vehicle. So we know how vital VIN can be, and we thought we should let you know all there is to know about VIN to find the right car parts. In the following passages, we will talk about what makes it so important, along with the meaning of characters and how you can read it. So without further delay, let's get into it!

History Of VIN

It all started back in 1950. Car manufacturers began putting identifying numbers on cars and their parts. Car manufacturers began doing this because they wanted an accurate way to display the vehicle's description to replace mass production numbers that were growing to huge numbers. There were several different iterations of VIN in its early days, varying from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Fast forward to 1980; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made it mandatory that all road vehicles contain a 17-character VIN. This initiative solidified the fixed VIN system for major vehicle manufacturers as we know it today. The unique DNA-styled number for each unique vehicle is jam-packed with information and was first recognized as the  ISO Standard 3779 back in 1977, and the last revision was back in 2009-10. So now that you know the history of VIN and how it came about, let's break down the number itself and divulge its secrets!

Breaking Down VIN

The standardized VIN has 17 characters where you will find anything from capital letters A through Z and numbers 1 through 0. However, the letters I, O, and Q are never used to avoid mistakes of misreading along with the restriction on signs or spaces on the VIN. Each character on the VIN has its own meaning and altogether makes up your car's DNA.

Breaking Down VIN - AutopartsZ

All the characters represent vital information like each letter or number in the VIN code reveals essential information about where and when your vehicle was made, the type of engine it has, the model or series of the car, various equipment/attributes, and its production sequence. Now, we understand that you may not know what the characters mean. So here is a character-by-character breakdown of VIN to help you find the right car parts. Let's check it out!

First Character

The first character in every VIN number you see represents the country it was manufactured in.

Second Character

The second character is there to represent and identify the manufacturer.

Third Character

The third character is there to help you know your car's type or manufacturing division. Now, this varies from the vehicle makes and models.

From The Fourth To The Eight Character

The fourth to the eight characters in the VIN is invaluable when finding car parts. Now, it can vary from the car makes and models, but you can be sure these characters will help you know your car's features/attributes, such as body style, engine type, model, series, and other aspects.

Ninth Character

Usually, the ninth character comes as a single-digit number or "X." It's known for being the character that helps with VIN accuracy check digit, verifying the previous numbers within the VIN. Whatever the character is, it guarantees that it's used for the accuracy of the transcription of the vehicle identification number. Now, there's a way that manufacturers come to a check digit. But that's a whole another discussion for another time.

Tenth Character

The tenth character of the VIN helps you identify the year of manufacture for your car's model. Now it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the idea is the same for everyone.

Eleventh Character

Now we are onto the eleventh character of your car's VIN. It tells you what your car's assembly plant was. Meaning you know where the car was assembled.

Twelfth To The Seventeenth Character

So that leaves the last six characters. From the twelfth to the seventeenth character reveals the sequence of the vehicle for production as it rolled off the manufacturer's assembly line. The last characters are almost always numeric. The last six characters in the VIN might just be the most critical part of the VIN for most European cars like Audi, BMW, Volvo, and others because of the mid-year production changes by carmakers.

This part of the VIN helps you understand and identify car parts like ignition, fuel, emission, and engine components. If you are looking for auto parts online, you must know that they are often listed with the caveat that they fit vehicles up to a particular VIN or before/after a specific VIN sequence.

How To Find Car's VIN?

So now that you know how to read and identify the information on the VIN, you have to know where it is. Now VINs can be located in several different locations on your car, and it usually depends on the manufacturer. So here is how to find your car's VIN:

  • You will find it on the door frame/door post of the front doors. Usually on the driver side but can be on the passenger side as well.
  • Or on the dashboard near the windshield.
  • Or on the engine. Check the machined pad in front of the engine.
  • Or on the car's firewall.
  • Or in the left-hand inner wheel arch.
  • It might be on the steering wheel/steering column.
  • Or on the radiator support bracket.
  • Lastly, you may find it on the car's title, registration, guarantee/maintenance book, or on the declarations page of your auto insurance policy.

These are all the places on your car that can have the VIN stamped on your vehicle. So make sure you check out all the spots to find the VIN and have it handy always. Now that you know how to find VIN let's talk about using online VIN decoders to find car parts. Here is how online VIN decoders can help you.

Using Online VIN Decoders To Find Car Parts Online

Online VIN decoders are a type of search engine that uses VIN to help car owners find the right car parts online. It's the fastest and most accurate way to find auto parts that fit your car perfectly. We here at AutopartsZ have one of the most accurate VIN decoders on the internet, connecting car owners to hundreds of retailers selling high-quality car parts, tires, and paint. So if you are looking for car parts and want to ensure the parts fit perfectly, then use AutopartsZ to find car parts using your car's VIN number.
We are dedicated to becoming the one-stop shop for all your automotive needs, and if you have any questions regarding finding the right car parts for your car, then please contact us or drop them in the comments below. Also, hit us up on our socials and send in your thoughts and suggestions on improving our service to better cater to your needs. And with that being said, that's about all we have for you now. We will come back with something new for you soon. Until then, see ya!