What is a VIN or Chassis Number?

Have you ever wondered about what a VIN or chassis number is and how it works? In many cases, working out what a VIN or chassis number is can be a little difficult, but this doesn’t have to be impossible. With this thought in mind, we’ve briefly summarised some of the key things you need to know about a VIN or chassis number to help.

What is a VIN or Chassis Number?

A VIN number is a car’s unique identifying code and stands for “vehicle identification number,” which is stamped on the vehicle’s chassis – hence the name. All VINs issues since 1981 have a 17-character number; however, before this time, it was possible to find vehicles with a shorter chassis number.

VIN Structure

The first three characters of the chassis number are used to determine the vehicle’s manufacturer. Each manufacturer will have their own world manufacturer identifier number. This is often referred to as the WMI code.

The next section is the vehicle descriptor, which is six characters long and determined by the manufacturer themselves. It is used to outline the car’s general attributes.

Finally, the vehicle identifier section is the final part, consisting of eight characters. This is usually used to designate the year of production, among other identifying information.

When is a VIN Issued for a Vehicle?

A VIN is issued when your car is first built, but it may also be reissued when it is rebuilt or radically altered, per government guidance. However, if the rebuilt model retains its original VIN, this may not necessarily need to be changed.

A vehicle can only be registered once the DVLA has received confirmation of the car’s VIN and its authenticity. After this, you can then register the car as normal. This is important to keep in mind before altering or purchasing a new vehicle to ensure that your chosen model is going to be compliant with identification regulations.

Where is the VIN Located?

Generally speaking, the VIN is found on the chassis. However, the exact location may vary depending on the design of your car and when it was built.

Modern cars built in 1969 or later should have the vehicle identification number stamped on the driver’s side dashboard. This number should be visible directly through the windscreen, making it possible for people assessing the car to view its chassis number.

However, there are other locations that may also house the VIN for a car. For example, the VIN may be stamped in front of the engine compartment (under the bonnet), on the front end of the frame, or on the driver’s side door frame (usually as a sticker). A vehicle check will reveal the last four VIN numbers for any car in the UK.

Final Thoughts

If you have been looking to learn more about the VIN, otherwise known as the chassis number, today’s guide should have given a brief rundown. Indeed, the vehicle identification number is unique to every vehicle, and this registration number is stamped inside the vehicle for easy access.

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