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What Your VIN Number Tells You About Your Vehicle


All vehicles have a vehicle identification number, or VIN. This is a unique code assigned to a new car which stays with it throughout the car’s life. Comprised of 17 characters, your vehicles VIN tells a story, including the vehicles make and model, specifics regarding components and features and its accident and maintenance history.

To receive a comprehensive estimate you will be required to provide the VIN number. Your vehicles VIN is also used to track recalls, owner registration and insurance coverage, among other things throughout the lifespan of the vehicle.

It’s most basic function is to identify a vehicle, especially if it has been abandoned or stolen.

An important function of the VIN is related to recalls as well; if there’s a problem with a particular make, model or even just a batch of cars, this number helps to easily identify the specific vehicles affected by a manufacturing recall.

Because your vehicles VIN tells us so much about the car, it’s useful for planning repairs and ordering the right replacement parts. Spirit West Motor Carriage Auto Body Repair keeps track of vehicle VIN numbers we service in case you or our technicians need to know what work has been performed in the past.

Your auto insurance company will rely on the VIN to evaluate the safety standards and operational risks associated with your vehicle. It is utilized in formulating coverage rates or premiums you will pay.

A car’s VIN is comprised of 17 capital letters and numbers and each of them speaks volumes about the vehicle.

The first three numbers indicate the country of origin and the automotive manufacturer. For example,cars made in the United States have a VIN that starts with 1, 4 or 5. Mexican vehicles have a 3, Canadian cars begin with 2, J for Japan, and so on.

The 5 characters following the initial 3 give us a description of the car, to include the brand, engine size and type. This part of the VIN is valuable to us as it tells us the automobiles line type and model, body style, if it has a 2 wheel drive or 4 wheel drive transmission, the type of restraints included in the vehicle and much more.

In the 80’s VIN forgery was addressed by the meaning behind the 9thdigit, known as the check digit. The check digit is essentially an equation which is used to validate the VIN. If the other VIN digits are correct, the check digit should be “X.” It is basically a mathematical equation used to combat forgery.

The following two characters tell us the model year and the plant where it was assembled. The final six digits are the vehicle’s unique serial number.

If you are unsure where your VIN is located check the dashboard towards the driver’s side. If you are standing outside your vehicle, looking from the front end, you VIN should be where the dash meets your automobiles windshield. If you don’t see the VIN there, check on the edge of the driver’s side door where the door locks when closed.

For reference, use this VIN decoder tool to get a vehicle history report about your car. You may be surprised by the results.

If you are looking for auto collision repair service in the West St Louis County area, contact Spirit West Motor Carriage Auto Body Repair at 636.394.1712 Monday through Friday between 7:30am-5:30pm or stop by our convenient location at 610 Park Lane, Manchester, MO 63021. ')}

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