Your VIN is split into four sections: World Manufacturer’s Identification, Vehicle Description Section, VIN Accuracy Check Digit, and Vehicle Identification Section.
The World Manufacturer’s Identification or WMI consists of the first three digits of your VIN. The very first character identifies the country in which the vehicle is made. For example, a 1 or 4 means USA and J stands for Japan. The second character identifies the manufacturer or make and the third identifies the vehicle type or what is sometimes referred to as manufacturing division.
Next is the Vehicle Description Section which is comprised of the next five digits. These digits give more detail about your vehicle including things such as the model, series, and engine type.
The ninth digit is your VIN Accuracy Check Digit. This digit is calculated by a mathematical system developed by the Department of Transportation and is based on the previous eight digits of the VIN. You can check out this website for more information about this formula and how it is calculated.
Finally you have your Vehicle Identification Section. The tenth digit in your VIN is the first digit of this section and marks the year of the car, while the eleventh digit identifies the assembly plant from which your car came. The final six digits are the vehicle’s serial number so-to-speak, because they are what mark your vehicle as being different from all the others who are the same make and model and from the same plant. These numbers tell you what number your specific car was on the assembly line. In some cases, this can make collector vehicles even more collectible if the number is just right!
Chances are you didn’t know that your VIN actually carried this much detailed information about your vehicle.
If you’re interested in testing this out for yourself with the VIN of your vehicle, go to www.decodethis.com and type it in. You will be told more than you ever dreamed it would.