Where is a VIN Number Located on a Car?

The VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number, is a complex serial number for your vehicle. Not only does it identify a vehicle as unique since VIN numbers are never duplicated, but it can be used to break down a vehicle build including the year, brand, country of manufacture, and even the plant where it was made.

This extremely important piece of information is necessary for insuring your car, buying the right parts for it, and for a range of other reasons. But where is a VIN number on a car located? It can be found in several locations. Here’s what you need to know about where to find the VIN and a brief overview of the information it contains. 

VIN Locations

Where is a VIN number on a car? Through the years, where you’ll find the VIN has changed periodically. Some of these locations may be relevant for your vehicle; some may not. However, these are some of the most common places you’ll find a VIN.

On the dashboard

Outside your vehicle, look through the windshield near the bottom where it meets the cowl or hood in front of the driver’s position. On virtually all vehicles, you’ll find a placard riveted onto the dashboard that’s visible from outside. It’s approximately 2.5 inches wide and 1 inch tall. 

Some windshields are clear from top to bottom while others have a blacked-out or dot matrix section on the edges. If yours has a black edge, there will be an opening through it to see the VIN plate. It might also be accompanied by a bar code on some vehicles.

On the Door Sticker

When you open the driver’s door, there’s often a plate or sticker applied to the edge of the door or the B pillar. It usually contains important vehicle classification information including the paint code, vehicle category, and gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), as well as the car manufacturer. This label also contains the VIN number.

Under the Hood

Open your vehicle’s hood and inspect for a sticker or riveted plate. It’s sometimes found on the radiator support bracket while other times it’s on the driver’s inner fender or the firewall. This plate typically has similar information as the door sticker. 

This label can be tricky to find since it could be caked with dirt or grease from the operating conditions. It’s also possible that the vehicle isn’t equipped with this underhood identifier either. 

On the Engine Block

If you’ve heard of a numbers-matching car in the classic car space, it means that parts like the engine can be traced back to its original build. The VIN may be stamped on the engine block in a visible location such as the front near where the serpentine belt runs or near the rear of the engine. Sometimes, it might be obscured under an engine cover that needs to be removed first. This number is either cast into the block or etched in after manufacturing.

Why the VIN is important

The VIN is required to ensure you’re insuring your vehicle correctly and transferring ownership properly when buying or selling. For vehicle owners, it’s also something that AutoZone may need to find the correct part for your vehicle. Since each build can be traced down by VIN, locating the right part for the job can be extremely accurate when the VIN is presented to an associate in-store. 

Advice, how-to guides, and car care information featured on and AutoZone Advice & How-To’s are presented as helpful resources for general maintenance and automotive repairs from a general perspective only and should be used at your own risk. Information is accurate and true to the best of AutoZone’s knowledge, however, there may be omissions, errors or mistakes.

Be sure to consult your owner’s manual, a repair guide, an AutoZoner at a store near you, or a licensed, professional mechanic for vehicle-specific repair information. Refer to the service manual for specific diagnostic, repair and tool information for your particular vehicle. Always chock your wheels prior to lifting a vehicle. Always disconnect the negative battery cable before servicing an electrical application on the vehicle to protect its electrical circuits in the event that a wire is accidentally pierced or grounded. Use caution when working with automotive batteries. Sulfuric acid is caustic and can burn clothing and skin or cause blindness. Always wear gloves and safety glasses and other personal protection equipment, and work in a well-ventilated area. Should electrolyte get on your body or clothing, neutralize it immediately with a solution of baking soda and water. Do not wear ties or loose clothing when working on your vehicle.

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