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In the 10th position, you'll see a letter indicating the model year. The letters from B to Y correspond to the model years to From to , the numbers 1 through 9 were used in place of letters. The alphabet started over from A in and will continue until Yes, it's confusing. The letter or number in position 11 indicates the manufacturing plant where the vehicle was assembled.

Each automaker has its own set of plant codes. The last six digits positions 12 through 17 are the production sequence numbers, which each car receives on the assembly line. We entered the VIN of a few vehicles that were once in the Edmunds long-term test fleet, and the search came up with some interesting information.

There was one item that stood out: The VIN decoder shows the manufacturer is Subaru, not Scion now reabsorbed back into Toyota , but that's not an error. Both are manufactured at Subaru's plant in Japan. When we did a search for the VIN of another former test vehicle, a Chevrolet Volt, there was a hidden bit of trivia in the fuel type. It erroneously says that the Volt can run on E85 ethanol in addition to gasoline.

General Motors originally intended to launch the Volt with a flex-fuel variant, but the emissions package was not ready for the car's introduction, according to the automaker. The E85 compatibility apparently was incorporated into the VIN data before GM decided a flex-fuel version wouldn't be ready in time for No flex-fuel version of the Volt ever surfaced.

The Fiat is a reminder of just how globalized automakers have become. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is an Italian-American multinational carmaker that manufactured the at Chrysler's plant in Toluca, Mexico. Notice that the 10th character in the VIN is "C. Because the year is represented by one character letter or number and the VIN can only contain 17 characters, the code for a car's year has to be recycled every 30 years.

So while one letter can represent more than one year, it should be pretty obvious whether you've got a or a — or , for that matter. Finally, here's a bit of vehicle history on a Ford Mustang GT. Notice that the manufacturer isn't listed as "Ford Motor Co. Newer Mustangs list Ford as the automaker.

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Under NHTSA requirements , many of those letters and numbers are assigned values with which each manufacturer must comply; other portions of the VIN are available for each manufacturer to code as it wishes. Prior to , manufacturers defined their own VIN in its entirety, so the length and formatting of VINs on vehicles made before varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. These three digits are followed by a five-digit sequence that will tell you specifics about the car including model, engine information, series, etc.

The 9th digit is a security check--it has no special meaning, but it does confirm that the manufacturer has authorized the VIN for a specific car. The 10th digit tells the year associated with the car model, and the 11th the plant where the car was assembled.

3 Ways to Get a Free VIN Check Before Buying a Used Car

Finally, the last six numbers of a VIN are a serial number for the car. This number will allow you to track exactly when your car was produced. This can be helpful if there were assembly errors between certain dates. Only cars manufactured between those dates will need to be fixed. Between and , VINs varied widely by manufacturer.

Decode the VIN

If you have a car manufactured within this time frame, your VIN may look completely different from the standard we are used to today. The length and meaning of a VIN issued between and can vary widely.


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VIN: What is it? How long is the VIN number?

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The most common place is the driver's side dash. Step 1.

Read our blog - we will make sure you are up-to-date with all you need to know as a driver. What do the indicators on the meters mean?

Which of them are most important? Dashboards of modern cars at least some of them are reminiscent of aircraft cockpits.


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Full of all types of indicators, switches and other elements that are there to inform the driver about the Valuable information; I learnt that my car was actually a taxi in Estonia and the mileage reported during the last technical check was much higher than what is showing now. It's ok, there was a technical error but they quickly repaired the report. I was always satisfied, there was a lot of information.

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There was one car for which there was practically no information, but overall I am pleased. This serves as an identification code and is a must when registering a vehicle. While the price depends on a number of factors, you can find out about most of them by checking the VIN number.