Vin Decoder

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique code assigned to every motor vehicle when it’s manufactured. It comprises 17 characters (digits and capital letters) that serve as a fingerprint for the car. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to decode a VIN:

1. Locate the VIN

  • The VIN can typically be found on the dashboard on the driver’s side, visible through the windshield.
  • It may also be on the driver’s side door frame, vehicle title, registration, and insurance documents.

2. Break Down the VIN Structure

  • World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI): The first three characters.
  • Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS): Characters 4 through 9.
  • Vehicle Identifier Section (VIS): Characters 10 through 17.

3. Decode the WMI

  • 1st Character: Identifies the country of origin. For example, 1, 4, or 5 for the USA, J for Japan, W for Germany.
  • 2nd Character: Identifies the manufacturer. For example, A for Audi, B for BMW, N for Nissan.
  • 3rd Character: Identifies the vehicle type or manufacturing division.

4. Decode the VDS

  • Characters 4-8: Describe the vehicle’s model, body type, engine type, and other specific details.
  • 9th Character: Is a check digit used to verify the accuracy of the VIN. It’s determined by a mathematical formula based on the other characters.

5. Decode the VIS

  • 10th Character: Indicates the model year. For example, A for 1980, B for 1981, and so on. Letters and numbers are used sequentially.
  • 11th Character: Identifies the manufacturing plant.
  • Characters 12-17: Are the production sequence number, which helps identify the specific vehicle in the production run.

Example VIN: 1HGCM82633A123456

  • 1HG: Indicates a Honda (H) manufactured in the USA (1).
  • CM826: Provides information on the model (Accord), body type (sedan), engine type, etc.
  • 3: Is the check digit.
  • 3: Indicates the vehicle is a 2003 model.
  • A: Identifies the manufacturing plant.
  • 123456: Is the unique serial number of the vehicle.

Tips for Decoding VINs

  • Use our VIN decoder tool online for quick decoding.
  • Refer to the manufacturer’s guide for specific VIN coding schemes as they can vary.

Decoding a VIN can provide detailed information about a vehicle’s history, origin, and specifications, which is valuable for purchasing, registration, and insurance purposes.

The most stolen car brands in the USA are predominantly Hyundai and Kia, followed by several other popular makes and models. In 2023, the top ten most stolen vehicles were:

  1. Hyundai Elantra – 48,445 thefts
  2. Hyundai Sonata – 42,813 thefts
  3. Kia Optima – 30,204 thefts
  4. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 – 23,721 thefts
  5. Kia Soul – 21,001 thefts
  6. Honda Accord – 20,895 thefts
  7. Honda Civic – 19,858 thefts
  8. Kia Forte – 16,209 thefts
  9. Ford F150 Series Pickup – 15,852 thefts
  10. Kia Sportage – 15,749 thefts​ (NICB)​​ (Autoblog)​​ (Fortunly)​.

The high theft rates of Hyundai and Kia vehicles have been partly attributed to viral social media trends demonstrating how to steal these cars, as well as security vulnerabilities in older models. This surge has significantly affected the rankings, which previously saw full-size pickups like the Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F150 at the top of the list.

Performing a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) check is crucial, especially for these frequently stolen brands. A VIN check can reveal important information about the vehicle’s history, including whether it has been reported stolen, which can prevent you from purchasing a stolen car and facing legal issues. It also helps verify the car’s ownership history and any past damages, ensuring you make an informed purchase decision.