What is a VIN and Where Can I Find It?

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What is a VIN?

Every vehicle has a unique code that identifies exactly what it is. The unique code is called a Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN. The VIN on every vehicle tell you information that includes:

  • Its country of origin
  • The car manufacturer
  • Its engine code
  • The model year
  • The chassis number

The VIN on every vehicle since 1981 is a 17-digit alpha-numeric sequence, meaning it contains both numbers and letters. VINs have been standardized since then so that, regardless of who is decoding the VIN, the results are accurate and uniform.

For example, every VIN that begins with the number “1” has been manufactured in the United States, while vehicles with the letter “J” to start the VIN have been built in Japan. The first digit is always the country of origin.

  • Note: If you’re worried about the security of your VIN, don’t be. There is no risk in sharing your VIN at all. It isn’t connected to any of your personal information, credit history, or otherwise.

When Might I Need the VIN?

Because your VIN uniquely identifies your particular vehicle including the options and build information, it’s the most reliable way to find information that applies specifically to your vehicle.

For example, if you need to buy parts for your vehicle when there are multiple engine options across a wide range of model years, your VIN will lead a parts professional to precisely the right component that fits your vehicle.

You can also perform a vehicle history report or VIN check on your vehicle using the 17-digit VIN. You can look up the service history, accident history, title status, and check if there are any outstanding recalls with just the VIN.

The VIN is also great to have on hand in the event your vehicle is towed or in a collision. It will help easily identify your vehicle as only one vehicle has that particular VIN number - yours!

Why is the VIN important?

As mentioned, your VIN number identifies your unique vehicle. When your VIN is decoded, the manufacture date, the engine size, the model year, and other details can be accurately obtained from your car.

Especially when vehicle repairs or services are being performed, the VIN number will ensure that the correct parts are being installed on your car. That means the right oil filter is being used for your oil changes, and the correct brake sizes, tire sizes, and engine size is known by the technician for repairs.

It’s important that you supply the accurate VIN to YourMechanic when you make an appointment or check prices so that we can give you the precise price on parts and labor as well as bring the right components along to do the repairs on your vehicle.

Where Can I Find the VIN on My Car?

The VIN on your vehicle is found in some fairly common areas. It’s there for a few different reasons:

  • Identifying a particular vehicle easily in situations such as a traffic stop or vehicle repair
  • Simple identification of suitable components
  • Confirmation of matching numbers, such as is the case with classic cars
  • Multiple locations in the event one VIN location is unreadable

Look on the rear frame. On older cars, the VIN can often be found on the rear of the frame on the driver’s side by the tire. This one can be harder to locate and identify because of undercoating sprayed overtop, corrosion or rust obscuring the numbers, or just a hard-to-view area.

When you look in the wheel well on the driver’s side rear, look for a number stamped into the steel. It can be on the side of the frame rail or on the top, but should be in the open even if it is hard to read.

When you book an appointment with YourMechanic, include the full 17-digit VIN, found at any of these locations on your vehicle.


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Rigoberto

9 years of experience
706 reviews
Rigoberto
9 years of experience
Chevrolet Equinox - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Niles, Illinois
Rigo was great! He got there early, finished the job early, left everything clean. He changed my rear pads and rotors. The original quoted time was 90 minutes, he was done in about 60. He knows what he is doing and I am recommending him to all my friends and coworkers.
Mercedes-Benz C250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Chicago, Illinois
Rigo is a maverick hands down. Don’t take your car for work elsewhere. Especially great at Mercedes—this guy knows his profession! I will be using him for everything related to my car going forward.

Arturo

25 years of experience
35 reviews
Arturo
25 years of experience
Kia Forte - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - San Diego, California
ARTURO is great! very professional , fast, replaced my front brake pads and oil an filter change. everything now works and works well. Brakes have much improved stopping power and engine is smooth and quiet.Arturo is also kind and thoughtful. "Your mechanic" is very fortunate to have Arturo Lopez represent your company. I enthusiastically recommend him and "Your mechanic> as a fine operation Best regards to the Team Peter Marto
Nissan Maxima - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - San Diego, California
Arturo was prompt and completed my brake repair, including new rotors in a very efficient manner. I am very pleased with the quality of the work and the parts and will definitely look to have him service our other car in the near future.

Scott

32 years of experience
345 reviews
Scott
32 years of experience
Lexus IS250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Denver, Colorado
Always on time, speedy, professional, and pleasant to interact with. The work is always consistent and we'll done. I can't reccomend Scott highly enough!

Michael

10 years of experience
15 reviews
Michael
10 years of experience
Nissan Sentra - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Conyers, Georgia
He was promptly on time and got the job done efficiently in a timely manner. I really appreciate the rapid respone on getting the job done! I would most definitely use this service again.

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