Free VIN Decoder

Free VIN Decoder

Decode Your Vehicle Identification Number for Free

What is a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and where can you find it?

The VIN or vehicle identification number is a unique series of characters assigned to a vehicle at production. The VIN format was implemented by the ISO institute. It consists of 17 string of letters and numbers except the letters Q(q), I(i) and O(o) which are excluded to avoid confusion with the numbers 0 and 1. This string of characters, when decoded, can reveal vital information about the car, such as its manufacturer, year of production, type of engine,transmission, model and more. The VIN is indicated in vehicle title, registration, and insurance documents. Most, if not all, online marketplaces for cars require sellers to post the VIN so buyers can check quickly.

Here are some common VIN locations on the car:
VIN decoder

  • Under the hood (engine block)
  • Dashboard (near the windshield)l
  • Door frame (left-hand inner wheel arch)
  • Driver’s side door (near door jamb)
  • Some cars may have it on the firewall, steering wheel, and radiator support bracket.

What does the VIN decoder show and how is it different from other reports?

Decoding your VIN will give you in-depth information on a vehicle in seconds.’s free VIN decoder covers a range of critical areas you need to know.

  • Vehicle details: what other VIN decoders may provide
    • country of origin
    • name of the maker
    • engine type and size
    • model year
    • transmission type

Plus (+) our free add-on features:

  • Vehicle ownership history: shows the number of owners, duration of ownership, registration details, and state of registration.
  • Market value: the estimated average value people are paying for the same car in your area.
  • Sales history: shows historical listings of this vehicle for sale, either by a private party or by a car dealership.
  • Equipment details: air conditioning system, mirrors, safety features, tires, and other related items.
  • Fuel efficiency: the car’s city and highway mileage per gallon, fuel capacity and type.
  • Safety rating: IIHS crash ratings.
    • Crash-worthiness is how a vehicle protects its occupants in a crash.
    • Crash avoidance and mitigation refer to technology to prevent a crash or lessen its severity.
  • Current warranty: type of coverage and warranty status.
  • Recalls and defects: latest recalls, impact on performance and safety, and available remedies.

How to Decode the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?

Decoding the VIN is the most reliable way to get vehicle information. Databases managed by auto makers and US vehicle registration agencies carry the VINs. works with these entities to update vehicle information into its own database.

Each section of the VIN has a different meaning. It is based on 1979 and 1980 ISO standards. Please refer to the diagram below for the matching value of each character or section.VIN decoderAccording to the Society of Automotive Engineers, Code of Federal Regulations, the VIN has three sections describing the following:

  • World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI). The first three characters belong to the WMI group. The WMI tells you the vehicle’s country of origin, manufacturer, and vehicle type.
  • Vehicle Description Section (VDS). The next six characters, position 4-9, are the vehicle description section or VDS. The VDS presents important characteristics and specifications, such as the transmission type, engine type and size, etc.
  • Vehicle Identification Section (VIS). The last 10-17 characters is the unique serial number of every Ford vehicle. The VIS shows the manufacturing plant and the vehicle’s unique serial code.

Flexible fuel vehicles can be identified by the 2nd, 3rd and 8th characters.

Vehicle Identification Number – Year Codes

The model year of a car is one of the important information you should check if you’re planning to buy a used car. This matters because the model year helps assess the value of a car. Insurance fees also depends on the age of the car. As shown above, the 10th character of the VIN indicates the model year.


Where does the free VIN decoder get information?

The VIN serves as the key to the car’s identity and history. It’s the best basis you have for checking claims about any used car offered for sale. Every free VIN lookup by taps the following reliable sources of vehicle data:

  • Government agencies including highway traffic safety authorities, law enforcement agencies, and motor vehicle departments.
  • Auto industry including manufacturers, junk yards, salvage yards, and car dealerships
  • Insurance companies

What is VIN cloning and how can you avoid it using a VIN decoder?

Not all VINs accurately represent a car’s true identity. A car may have a VIN that actually belongs to another car. VIN cloning is a crime that involves replacing the VIN of a stolen car or a car with a bad history with the VIN of another car of the same model and make. Its goal is to misrepresent or hide the identity and history of a car usually offered for sale. First, the factory-installed VIN plate is pried off and then replaced with a legitimate VIN. With fake ownership documents, the car with the cloned VIN can be easily registered in another state.

Here are the red flags that can point to VIN cloning:

  • Price is significantly cheaper compared to cars with similar make and model.
  • VIN plate may show signs of tampering.
  • VIN lookup results and actual vehicle documents may be inconsistent.
  • Vehicle inspection observations are not consistent with documents and VIN decoder findings.