Just like every individual has unique fingerprints that can be used for identification, vehicles, too, have one. When a car is manufactured, right after it is released from the production line, a 17-digit code, called the vehicle identification number (VIN), is stamped onto the chassis, typically in the engine bay, and sometimes underneath one of the doors or at the bottom of the windshield.
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Unlike registration numbers and other IDs, the VIN cannot be changed and is fixed to the car for the entirety of its lifespan. Some people even call the VIN as a car’s DNA.
The VIN provides specific information about the vehicle and is divided into three parts. The first three digits are the world manufacturer identifier (WMI) number, which consists of codes for the country where the car was assembled, the manufacturer, and the vehicle type. The second part – the fourth to ninth digits – is the vehicle descriptor section (VDS), which shows what components had been used on the car. The last eight digits identify the features of the car and can help people figure out the year the vehicle was produced.
All these data are stored in databases of vehicle registration companies and car manufacturers. By entering the VIN in their search engine, the car can be validated and identified correctly. Other information may also be available, including accident history, maintenance records, and more. This is especially useful for those looking to buy used cars.
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