Owners can break down Ford Vehicle Identification Numbers manually by using a reference chart, such as the one at TheRangerStation.com, to identify the meaning of each of the 17 numbers and characters in the sequence. Fleet.Ford.Com and VinDecoderz.com also allow visitors to decode VIN numbers automatically.
Automatic VIN decoders are easy to use and typically free. Ford does make you create a user identification and set a password to login and use the feature.
Decoding a VIN number manually is an easy process. All automobile manufacturers use the position of each number or character to describe the same thing. The industry governs some numbers and characters used in certain positions, but others may change depending on the manufacturer.
The first three positions of the VIN number, reading from left to right, is the World Manufacturer Identifier. They indicate what country of manufacture, manufacturer and vehicle type. The fourth position indicates the vehicle's gross weight.
The alphanumeric symbols for the next three positions are manufacturer specific. They represent the vehicle line, series and body type. The eighth number identifies the engine type, which is specific to the car maker.
Ignore the ninth position because it is just a check number for VIN authenticity. Position number 10 provides the cars model year and number, and position 11 tells what plant assembled it. The last six positions let you know the sequence the vehicle came off the line.