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What information is available from the vehicle identification number (VIN), body number plate, and engine on a car?

The vehicle identification number, or VIN, located on the dashboard and sometimes a car's engine, reveals a lot about a car.

The VIN number on a car reveals the make, model and the date the car was built.  [©Jupiter Images, 2008]
©Jupiter Images, 2008
The VIN number on a car reveals the make, model and the date the car was built.

A Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, is a series of coded numbers that reveals the model and make, model year, type of transmission, plant of manufacture and sometimes even the date and day of the week a car was made.

The form and content of these codes is not standardized and often changes from one year to the next for the same manufacturer. Various components of a car may be made in different plants so a location listed on a VIN may differ from one on the engine number. The official shop manual lists the codes for a particular make of car.

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