What Is a Vehicle Chassis Number?

A vehicle chassis number, also called a vehicle identification number and abbreviated to VIN, is a special code used to identify vehicles. It is made up of 17 numbers and capital letters, and it shows the car’s manufacturer, specifications and features. It is also used to track thefts and recalls.

VINs were introduced in 1954. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the United States regulated the format in 1981 to require all vehicles to have a 17-character VIN. The first character of the number indicates the place the vehicle was built, the second and third characters stand for the manufacturer, the fourth through eighth characters stand for the vehicle brand, engine size and type, the ninth character is the security code, and the 10th character stands for the model year. The 11the character specifies the plant that constructed the vehicle, and the final six characters are the serial number.