What is a VIN Lookup and how to do it?

Do you own a motorcycle or a 4 wheel vehicle? Have you ever come across the term VIN or VIN lookup? No? Trying to figure out what that is? Then stick around and find out the meaning and usage of this term and how it can help you as an automotive owner.

VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)

As an owner of a vehicle, I am sure you must have come across the term VIN and might have faced the need to look it up for numerous purposes. It is sure critical information to have for a car owner, but many people still stay unaware of its whole meaning and usage. 

This article is a detailed piece discussing the meaning of VIN, its total usage and how much information it holds, and how to carry out a VIN lookup.

So without further ado, let’s start decoding everything you need to know from top to bottom about VIN.

What is a VIN?

VIN, more appropriately known as ‘Vehicle Identification Number’, is a unique manufacturing code assigned to a vehicle in the initial stages of production. A VIN is assigned to each car that goes into production and serves as its unique fingerprint or identifier. 

VIN also differentiates the same model, color, specification, and type of car from one another. According to professional automotive engineers and manufacturers, it is a 17-character extended code consisting of both alphabet and numbers. Besides, it is typically printed on a single line and available for owners only. Although, vehicles manufactured in 1981 have VINs lesser than 17 characters.

VIN Lookup

Furthermore, a vehicle identification number does not contain the alphabets Q, I, and O because they are more likely to be misunderstood as 1 or 0. Now, you must be thinking that the characters assigned to a car in the form of a VIN are any random code set, but that is not the case. The set of numbers and alphabets combined to make a VIN actually holds much confidential information about the car. 

VIN also includes the manufacturing country of the car, the year of production, the serial number of the car, and the model and makes of the car. Thus, it also includes the information about the factory where the car went under production.

What is a  VIN Reverse Lookup?

VINs are significant numbers that car owners must obtain for use at different places and requirements. But VIN lookup can be a confusing and tricky task nonetheless. Moreover, there are many situations where a vehicle owner is asked for a VIN but doesn’t have it in hand at the time. 

For example, VINs are requested when an individual submits an online insurance request. In such cases, it is best to take help from a VIN lookup solution and search for your vehicle’s VIN in seconds.

VIN Reverse Lookup

Besides, if the solution is not decoding a VIN efficiently, you can also try a VIN reverse lookup through the decoding websites. These websites ask for information to find out VINs, including year, trim, model, make, drive type, and body type. This information is then used to reverse engineer a VIN pattern and provide you with your vehicle’s verification identification number in seconds. 

However, the use of VIN reverse lookup is extremely limited because it does not generate a complete 17-digit code but only gives the primary pattern. Therefore, you will still need the full VIN for processes like underwriting insurance policies.

Types of VIN

Have you ever wondered how many different VIN codes are in the world? If you haven’t, let us tell you that the list is exceptionally long. Do you know which country is your VIN code from? 

Let us tell you the different types of VIN codes worldwide. Before diving into that, let’s find the hidden information behind every VIN character.

Some Facts About VIN Characters

  • The first three characters of a VIN code are known as world manufacturer identifiers. The first of these represents the country where the vehicle originated from. The second character represents the location of the manufacturer who built the vehicle: i.e., where the vehicle was assembled. Finally, the combination of all three digits you see at the start of a VIN code represents the type of the vehicle. 
  • Following the world manufacturer identifiers or the initial three digits of a VIN code, the descriptor section of the vehicle comes. The description of the vehicle is hidden in characters 4 to 8. These characters describe the vehicle’s type, model, and body style. Every manufacturer uses this section of the VIN differently. While some also use the 8th character to define the vehicle’s engine type.
  • After the descriptor section in the VIN that ends at 8 characters, check digits start from the 9th character. These are check digits that are mandatory to have for all vehicles in the region of North America. These characters are then used to validate the essentiality of VIN and inform the user regarding any issue or mistake in the vehicle.
  • After the 9th character, the 10th one represents the vehicle’s production. There is a table guide for the list of years associated with characters in the VIN code mentioned below. For instance, if you have a vehicle manufactured in 2013, the 10th digit of your car’s VIN code will be ‘D’.

Different VIN Codes


VIN Country Codes

Africa Codes

AA- AHSouth AfricaCA- CEBeninDL- DRZambia
AJ – ANCote d’IvoireCF- CKMadagascarEA- EEEthiopia
BA – BEAngolaCL- CRTunisiaEF- EKMozambique
BF- BKKenyaDA- DEEgyptFA- FEGhana
BL- BRTanzaniaDF- DKMoroccoFF- FKNigeria

Asia Codes

JJapanMF-MKIndonesiaPF- PKSingapore
KA- KESri- LankaML- MRThailandPL- PRMalaysia
KF- KKIsraelMS- M0MyanmarRA- REUnited Arab Emirates
KL- KRSouth KoreaNA- NEIranRF- RKTaiwan
KS- K0KazakhstanNF- NKPakistanRL- RRVietnam
LChinaNL- NRTurkeyRS- R0Saudi Arabia
MA- MEIndiaPA- PEPhilippines 

Europe Codes

SA- SMUnited KingdomVA- VEAustriaX3-X0Russia
SN- STGermanyVF- VRFranceYA-YEBelgium
SU- SZPolandVS- VWSpainYF-YKFinland
S1- S4LatviaVX- V2SerbiaYL-YRMalta
TA- THSwitzerlandV3- V5CroatiaYS-YWSweden
TJ- TPCzech RepublicV6- V0EstoniaYX-Y2Norway
TR- TVHungaryWGermanyY3-Y5Belarus
TW- T1PortugalXA- XEBulgariaY6-Y0Ukraine
UH- UMDenmarkXF- XKGreeceZA-ZRItaly
UN- UTIrelandXL- XRNetherlandsZX-Z2Slovenia
UU- UZRomaniaXS- XWRussia(formerly USSR)Z3-Z5Lithuania
U5- U7SlovakiaXX- X2Luxembourg  

America Codes

North America South America
1, 4, or 5United States8A-8EArgentina9F-9KColombia
3X-37Costa Rica8S-8WPeru9X-92Trinidad & Tobago
38-39Cayman Islands8X-82Venezuela93–99Brazil

Oceania – VIN Country of Origin

7New Zealand

These are all the types of VIN codes found around the world. This table can help you identify which country your vehicle was manufactured in by matching it with your generated VIN code. 

Websites Offering VIN Lookups

If you are trying to conduct the VIN lookup for your own car, then here is a list of websites you can use.


Top of the list is this VIN decoder website CarVertical which is the first and only website providing worldwide users with blockchain-based car reports.


After CarVertical, you can also use Carfax to find VIN. This is best because this VIN decoder website also provides users with detailed car reports sourced from more than 100,000 distinct. This VIN decoder website provides your car information that can be checked across borders. Moreover, it reveals all information one could possibly need to know about their vehicle.


AutoDNA is another VIN decoder website that is in partnership with Autocheck. This website can also be used by all vehicle owners in the USA, Canada, and Europe to obtain accurate VIN quickly.


The next top-tier VIN decoding website is VINDecoderz. You can easily use this website from any part of the world to enter your VIN code and obtain all the information about your vehicle in elementary steps.


Next on our list is EpicVIN. This website uses decent softwares for vehicle checking and can take your VIN straight to decoded information. All it requires from you is to enter the VIN code found on the vehicle’s body and obtain all information about your car in just seconds.


Besides these, VINInspect is another top-tier and recognized website for decoding VIN codes of people worldwide. This website is also well-known for providing accurate and quick results for billions of cars worldwide.


We have also featured CarProof in our list because this is a highly easy-to-access website for VIN decoding. Upon entering your VIN code, the car’s information is efficiently provided to you in a quick and straightforward way.


This website is an equally important VIN decoder and is more well-known and suitable for car dealers around the world. Additionally, it gives results sourced from a highly long directory, including more than 20 million documents.


This website also offers VIN lookups for free. You can decode VIN to check the specifications of your vehicle.  

How to do a VIN Lookup?

In addition, you can find a VIN code from a range of different parts of your car, depending on the type of your car. In many passenger cars, the VIN code is found right in front of the driver on the dashboard. The code is often found on the outer side of the dashboard, so it is better to view it from the outside of the car for a clearer view.

VIN Lookup

Furthermore, if you can not find a VIN code on your car’s dashboard, you should check the driver’s side pillar of the car’s door. More particularly, check the area where the driver’s door meets the front body of the car. Other than this, you should also check your engine or the inside of your hood to find a VIN code for your vehicle.

How to Find a VIN for Motorcycle?

However, for motorcycle owners, you must check the exterior frame of the bike to find a VIN code. Other than that, don’t forget to look for the VIN code on the neck of the steering, the area beneath the handlebars. Ultimately, if you meet with failure to find a VIN of your vehicle in either of these places, it is best to consult the insurance or title documents of your vehicle for a clue.

Apart from that, you must also know that your vehicle will only have a VIN code if it is registered with the DMV. This, in turn, means that bicycles that are not DMV registered do not have VIN codes. Although, they can also be registered with the local municipality with the help of their serial number. In comparison, all 3 or 4-wheeler vehicles are DMV-registered and come with VIN codes imprinted on their bodies.


In the end, the last thing to take into essential consideration is that you must find a VIN code for your vehicle because it is required in multiple instances. Besides, it is not only a unique identifier, but it is also a source of vital information about your automotive that might be required or come in handy on different occasions and different places.

On the whole, a VIN is often required when registering a used vehicle that you have purchased, insurance claim or want to replace any part of the vehicle with a new one.