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Melrose Park Auto Body Repair: Understanding Vehicle VIN Numbers

Melrose Park Auto Body Repair: Understanding Vehicle VIN Numbers

After a vehicle has been manufactured, it is tagged with something known as a VIN number. VIN numbers are placed on the dashboards and/or driver’s side doors of vehicles and consist of 17 different characters.

What does your vehicle VIN number mean to you? How are you supposed to read it? We’re going to address those very questions below. Let’s begin!

What is the Point of a VIN Number?

A VIN number, or vehicle identification number, is used to convey important information about a specific automobile. Containing 17 characters, VIN numbers are exclusive to only their corresponding vehicles.

While it’s known as a VIN “number”, this 17-character code contains letters as well. In understanding what these letters and numbers represent, you can gather important information about your vehicle’s components, place of origin, make, model, and a variety of other data.

Assessing the Digits of a VIN Number

Each character of a VIN number represents a specific piece of information. Below, we’re going to get into the individual characters, explaining the meaning of each.


The first character in a VIN number indicates the origin of the vehicle. This character can be either a number or a letter. For instance, while vehicles from Africa possess a first character of A through H, North American vehicles possess a first character of 1 through 5.

The second and third characters in a VIN number indicate the manufacturer of the vehicle. While the second character indicates the manufacturer at large, the third character indicates the specific division of that manufacturer.


The next five characters of a VIN number are used to describe the vehicle’s specs. The manner of these characters will vary based on the manufacturer of the vehicle. Therefore, if you want to find out what they mean, you will have to consult with the manufacturer.

Some of the information conveyed by these 5 characters includes vehicle type, vehicle brand and engine size.


The ninth character exists simply to indicate that the VIN number is, indeed, authentic. It is used to prevent cases of fraud.

Character 10 indicates the year that the automobile was manufactured. You can find the specifics of this character by utilizing this chart.

The 11th character indicates the plant where the vehicle was manufactured. The nature of this character is dependent on the specific manufacturer.


The last six characters of a vehicle VIN number are what make it unique from other vehicles. There are no two cars with the same last six characters. These six characters are determined by the manufacturer of the vehicle.

Decoding your VIN number

While you could spend a great deal of time searching for charts and decoding your VIN number manually, the better bet would be to use an online decoding tool. When using one of these tools, you’ll only need to enter your VIN number and click submit. After doing so, you will be supplied with all of the information your VIN number has to offer.

Perhaps the most popular VIN decoder is the one offered by Carfax. However, vehicle manufacturers often have VIN decoders on their websites as well.

Make Use of Melrose Park Auto Body Repair Shop

Are you in need of auto body repair services? Looking for an auto body repair shop in Melrose Park, Illinois? If so, the auto body specialists with Lombard Body & Fender have you covered.

Our team is well-versed in all things auto body repair, specializing in paintless dent removal, painting, and body frame repair. Regardless of the problem your vehicle has encountered, we can fix it for you.

To utilize our services, contact us today!

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