Why Decode a VIN?

Posted by Thursday, 5 June, 2014

A vehicle identification number (VIN) is the individual code assigned to each vehicle when it is manufactured. It serves as an identification number, but the code also relays manufacturing details and other information specific to the vehicle the VIN is assigned to. Today, automotive manufacturers use a standard VIN format. Each VIN has 17 characters and each character is associated with specific data, including the engine code, transmission type, seat belt information, the manufacturing plant that made it, as well as the usual make, model and year. There are a number of reasons an owner may need to decode a VIN.

It’s Best To Be Sure

One reason to decode the VIN is to verify that both the number and the vehicle are legitimate. During the past few years, cases of VIN cloning have been on the rise. Criminals copy a VIN and use it to forge a title for a stolen vehicle of the same year and model. With the forged title, the criminal can sell it to an unsuspecting buyer. Because the cloned VIN is real, it may not attract notice when the buyer registers and insures the vehicle, but it could. Anyone who has recently bought a used vehicles from someone they don’t know well may want to check the VIN. Find out now if there’s a problem, rather than during a traffic stop. Always check a vehicle’s VIN before buying.

Confirm Factory Original

The VIN has three parts, each a category containing a set of details specific to the vehicle. The first part of the VIN provides information on where the vehicle was made and the type of vehicle it is. This is followed by the vehicle descriptor section. It provides information on things like the type of engine and the sort of transmission used. The final segment of the VIN gives information on the make and model. Decoding the VIN to gain access to this type information can be helpful for those wanting to restore a vehicle to pristine, factory original condition. Knowing what was meant to be under the hood may also be useful when troubleshooting mechanical problems or making transmission replacement decisions.

Standard Practice

There are a number of reasons for the average car owner to want to decoding his vehicle’s VIN. As demonstrated by VIN cloning, crime is getting more technologically sophisticated. When buying a used car from an acquaintance or through an ad posted online, an honest smile and a firm handshake just aren’t enough to seal the deal anymore. The smarter option is to use the vehicle’s VIN to find and verify vehicle history and information. When selling a vehicle, VIN info can be a real help in setting the price, providing accurate information on where and when it was made.

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