Do you know what the chassis number of your car is and what it is for?

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The frame number, chassis number or VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) is something like your vehicle’s identity card, and it ‘hides’ all the information about it. Present since 1981, it is a unique 17-digit alphanumeric combination, which identifies all European and North American vehicles exactly and without the possibility of error.

This number collects the most relevant data on its manufacture and characteristics and, among other things, will allow you to identify your car when insuring it or if you have lost the documentation. In case of theft, it is very useful because it will allow the identification of the car and its parts if it has been disassembled.

In addition, it provides very valuable (and necessary) information to workshops about the type of engine and the rest of the systems used by that particular model.

Finally, it will also allow cars with a certain chassis number to be withdrawn from circulation for security reasons and, in the same way, it will be necessary when deregistering it (temporarily or definitively). As you can see, the frame number is very important to know all the details of your car.

What is it for?

If we have in mind buying a used vehicle, the frame number can play in our favor. And it is that the VIN will be our key to know if the car in which we are interested has suffered any accident that has been registered, floods, or even if its odometer has been tampered with.

In addition, it will help you find out if the car has been stolen or has been involved in any legal process. Therefore, before buying a used car, you should check that the chassis number has not been erased and that it matches the one on your technical card.

On the other hand, when your car goes through the workshop, the professionals consult the frame number to fully identify the equipment of the car. In addition to important characteristics such as the engine, gearbox, transmission or braking systems, we will also be able to know the color, the brand, the registration date..

Where is it located?

The placement of the chassis number in a car depends on the manufacturer and the specific model of the car, but the most normal thing, to facilitate that it is found quickly for any inspection, is that it is located in one of the most common places :

  • On the dashboard, the most common. You will be able to see it through the windshield.
  • On a sticker on the driver’s door pillar
  • Under the passenger seat
  • On the engine, hood or other parts.

Likewise, this identification appears in the vehicle’s technical file and in the insurance policy or official records (DGT, town halls…) and police reports.

How to read it?

The VIN number is made up of a sequence of 17 characters (with numbers from 0 to 9 and all the letters, except I, O, Q and Ñ), allowing not only to identify the specific vehicle, but also to obtain relevant information. (date and place of manufacture, type of engine…).

At present, there are two numbering models, the European and the American. Although they are not the same, they have many similarities. On the European model, the 17 characters of the chassis number, grouped into three blocks —WMI (World Manufacturer Identifier) ​​—the first three digits—, Vehicle Descriptor Section —digits from 4 to 9—, and Vehicle Identifier Section —the rest of the characters and that identify that specific unit—provide the following information about the car:

  • Position 1: Country of manufacture or assembly.
  • Position 2: Make of the vehicle. For example, (A) Audi, (B) BMW, (D) Mercedes Benz, (F) Ford, (V) Volkswagen, (T) Toyota, etc.
  • Position 3: Manufacturer.
  • Positions 4-7: Characteristics of the vehicle, the type of chassis, engine, etc.
  • Position 8: Refers to restraint systems, such as airbags or seat belts.
  • Position 9: Verification code.
  • Position 10: Year of manufacture.
  • Position 11: Plant in which it was assembled.
  • Positions 12-17: Production number of that unit and given by each manufacturer.



John Smith

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