Before 1981, auto manufacturers used a variety of vehicle numbering standards, if any at all, and could place them anywhere on the vehicle. Since 1981, vehicle identfication numbers have followed a single standard. As of 2016, all manufacturers put VINs on the driver's side dashboard, viewable through the windshield.
In 1987, the Department of Transportation required VIN placement on major car parts as well as on the dash. Manufacturers, working under the DOT's Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard, placed VINs on engines, wheel wells and hoods as well as in the glove compartment. Different manufacturers place additional VINs in different places, and some, like Nissan, place them differently in different models. For example, Nissan places the VIN on the driver's side door post on its vans, the right inner fender on its pickups, above the right strut in the 280Z and ZX, and on the firewall for all its other models.