What Does Each Digit in a VIN Mean?
A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a 17-digit code, comprised of capital letters and numbers, that uniquely identifies a vehicle. Each letter and number provide specific pieces of information about your vehicle including the year, make, model, engine size, and manufacturer.
What Info Does a VIN Contain?
VIN information is sectioned out into three groups: World Manufacturer Identifier, Vehicle Descriptor Section, and the Vehicle Identifier Section.
World Manufacturer Identifier
The first three digits of a vehicle’s VIN make up the World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI).
- The first digit defines the country of origin or the final point of assembly of your vehicle.
- The second digit indicates the manufacturer and the region where your vehicle was produced.
- The third digit, when coupled with the first two digits, indicates your vehicle’s type or manufacturing division.
Vehicle Description Section
Digits in position 4 through 9 make up the Vehicle Description Section (VDS).
- The fourth through eighth digits describe your vehicle’s model, body type, restraint system, transmission type, and engine code.
- The ninth digit is the check digit, which is used to detect fraudulent VINs. The number that appears in the ninth position varies and is based on a mathematical formula developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Vehicle Identifier Section
Digits in position 10 through 17 make up the Vehicle Identifier Section (VIS).
- The tenth digit indicates the year, which only applies to vehicles built in or after 1981 since the VIN format was not standardized until that year.
Vin to Year Table
- The eleventh digit indicates which manufacturing plant your vehicle was assembled at.
- The twelfth through seventeenth digits are the unique production serial number your vehicle receives on the assembly line.
Vin Decoder FAQ
Can I decode my VIN on AutoZone.com?
Yes, you can decode your VIN using our VIN Decoder. On AutoZone.com, this will add the Year, Make, Model, and Engine of your vehicle when shopping products on our site.
What if my VIN is less than 17 characters?
If your vehicle’s VIN is less than 17 characters, it was likely made before 1981. We recommend using our VIN decoder only if your vehicle was made post-1981.