Free VIN Automobile History Report

Understanding VIN


The Vehicle Identification Number was originally described in ISO Standard 3779 in February 1977 and last revised in 1983. The ISO-VIN was designed to identify motor vehicles, trailers, motorcycles and mopeds and consists of three sections:

WMI – World Manufacturer Identifier, which uniquely identifies the maker of the vehicle. It occupies the first three positions of the VIN, except when a manufacturer builds less than 500 vehicles per year, in which case the third digit is always a 9 and the 12th, 13th and 14th position of the VIN are used for the second part of the WMI. The WMI is described in ISO 3780.

VDS< – Vehicle Descriptor Section. These 6 characters occupy positions 4 through 9 of the VIN and may be used by the manufacturer to identify attributes of the vehicle.

VIS- Vehicle Identifier Section. The last 8 characters of the VIN are used for the identification a of specific vehicle. The last four characters shall always be numeric.

ISO 3779 makes a provision for a code for the year in which a vehicle is built. When a manufacturer uses a year code, ISO recommends that the 10th position of the VIN is used.

The same applies to the use of a factory code. When a manufacturer uses a factory or plant code, ISO recommends that the 11th position of the VIN is used. In the VIN-code, capital letters A through Z and numbers 1 through 0 may be used, except the letters I, O and Q for obvious reasons. No signs or spaces are allowed in the VIN.