Home » Autos and Cars

The Fingerprint of Your Car: The VIN Tells All You Need To Know

May 2, 2008
Obviously when looking at the history of a vehicle it is very important to know its true origins. Whether you are planning to buy a truck and need to know its background, or you are looking to sell your vehicle and want to provide the most detailed information on it to potential buyers, it's important to know where to research this information on the Internet.

Since the beginning of the 20th century every vehicle produced that is sold in the world includes a unique identifier called a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). Every VIN contains vital information that acts like a fingerprint for that car or truck. Every vehicle can be identified by its VIN.

Prior to 1981 each car maker was allowed to create whatever system they wanted to use for their VINs. Mass confusion ensued over the years with no simple way to determine what vehicle a VIN represented just by looking at the number. The problem was solved by an industry standard 17-character code that was released in 1981. In order to read the older formats there are several resources on the Internet, but only Decode This! (http://www.decodethis.com) provides a free VIN decoder that will decode all early VINs from one database.

The modern VIN format is divided into several sections that allows certain information to be determined from the identifier. Each make, for example, is identified by the first few characters. The VIN also includes the model year, engine code, and a six-digit serial number. Taken together this code makes up the VIN. Again, Decode This! provides a detailed modern VIN decoder to allow you to automatically decode this information.

Even though the VIN includes quite a bit of information it is important to note what it does NOT include. There is no information on the specific optional equipment packages installed on an individual vehicle. Since the VIN is assigned to the vehicle at the start of the assembly line, and the options are installed later in the process, the VIN has no data on this optional equipment. This means the VIN can tell you the possible equipment that was available for a particular model year, but it will not be a vehicle history report on a particular car or truck. The original manufacturers have this data in separate databases that they license for use to certain vendors.

Commercial and free VIN decoders such as Decode This! take the VIN and using a database of information provide the information contained in that identifier in an easy to understand format. Decode This! for example has an extensive on all the information available for each model year and manufacturer of cars and trucks in the US. You can get a detailed report of the information available for your car.

More sources can use this VIN data to provide a way to quickly identify a vehicle. WindowSticker.us (http://www.windowsticker.us), a custom used car window sticker application, uses the VIN to determine the make, model, and year, as well as what the standard and optional equipment was available for the model year. It also can determine the possible internal and external color choices that were available.

So when you're looking for information about a vehicle the Vehicle Identification Number is a great way to start the process.
About the Author
The author has developed VIN Decoders that process collected information about vehicles. He's also a known authority on automotive applications such as the Automotive Window Sticker web program known as WindowSticker.us.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 135
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources