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VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)

Vehicle identification numbers (also called VINs) are critical pieces of information for identifying the exact car you have including the engine installed, when and where it was built and a lot of other information.

All cars and light trucks built after 1981 have unique 17-character "vin numbers" that contains valuable information about that vehicle's history.

The number consists of both alpha and numeric characters. VIN characters may be capital letters A through Z and numbers 1 through 0; however, the letters I, O and Q are never used in order to avoid mistakes of misreading. No signs or spaces are allowed in the VIN.No two VIN's are the same.

When ever your vehicle is sold, involved in an accident, or involved in an insurance claim, or recalled, bureaus such as CarFax record that information in data bases. This identification number displays a carís uniqueness like a person's Social Security number and provides a method to trace a car from the factory to the junkyard. Your VIN number can be used to track recalls, registrations, warranty claims, thefts and insurance coverage.

American automobile manufacturers have used VIN Numbers (sometimes called chassis numbers) since 1954, but it was with the introduction of the 1981 model year that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration required that all motor vehicles, trailers, motorcycles and mopeds carry VIN numbers in a fixed format.

The locations of vehicle identification numbers (VIN) vary but the following are the common places to find them:

VIN location
The VIN is located driver's side dashboard and the door post on most cars.