The letters V-I-N stand for “vehicle identification number.” Each vehicle has one and it’s made up of 17 characters, using numbers and capital letters. The VIN acts like your car’s fingerprint in that it is a unique number that is used to identify your vehicle.
The VIN has been required on every vehicle since 1981 and is a code that can tell you a variety of information about your car, including where it was built, as well as the year, make, model and engine type. It’s important for several reasons.
Not only is it used to identify your car, it can also be used for safety reasons. For example, you can use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s VIN lookup tool to see if a specific vehicle has or has not been repaired as part of a safety recall in the past 15 years. It can also be used to track registrations, warranty claims, thefts and insurance coverage.
Where can you find the number? The VIN can be found on your car’s registration card, the driver-side doorjamb or the driver-side dashboard near the windshield.