How Do You Decode a Ford VIN Number?

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A Ford vehicle’s universal vehicle identification number, for all models manufactured after 1982, can be decoded by the user at Vehicles produced prior to 1982 require contacting a Ford dealership for decoding.

The 17-position VIN numbering system was instituted in 1982 by the U.S. Department of Transportation to regulate the consistency between manufacturer’s vehicle identification systems, and each number is unique. Each position is a number or letter that represents a specific item of information relative to the identification of the vehicle.

The first three positions indicate the World Manufacturer Identifier code that outlines the country of assembly, the manufacturing company and the vehicle type, or the division it was produced by, respectively. There have been many variations of this code, because of brand changes, but the production year identifier dictates which version of the code is applicable.

Positions four through eight are the vehicle description section. They provide vehicle information on the model, body type, engine code, transmission system and restraint devices. The ninth character is a check digit, allowing mathematical validation of the VIN numbers legitimacy.

Characters in positions 10 through 17 provide the vehicle’s unique identification code. Position 10 represents the model year, and 11 represents the specific manufacturing plant. The last six digits represent the production number assigned to the vehicle at that assembly plant.