# Understanding Vehicle Identification
Numbers
*By Keith E. Whann*
First
Digit: Denotes the nation of origin. Some manufacturers use numeric
characters(1 = U.S.A., 2 = Canada) and others use alphabetic characters (J
= Japan, W = Germany).
Second
Digit: Denotes the manufacturer.
Third
Digit: Denotes the vehicle make and/or type. Manufacturers use both
numeric and alphabetic characters to identify their divisions, denote the
vehicle is a passenger vehicle, or may combine the second and third digits
to identify the manufacturer.
Taken as a whole, the first three digits of the VIN make up what is
commonly referred to as the "World Manufacturer Identification."
Fourth
through Eighth Denotes the vehicle description series.
Digits: Both alphabetic and numeric characters are used in these
positions, as desired by the manufacturer. These digits will identify
items such as the model, series, body type, engine type or restraint
system.
Ninth
Digit: Is the check digit. The check digit is calculated based upon a
mathematical formula which assigns a numerical value to every alpha
character in the VIN. All characters than have a numeric value and are
multiplied in a standardized equation. The sum of the products are then
divided by eleven. The remainder from the divided number becomes the check
digit. If the remainder is ten, the check digit will be an "X."
For additional information on the calculation of the check digit, please
see below.
Tenth
Digit: Denotes the year of manufacture. Will always be an alphabetic
character (T = 1996, V = 1997, W = 1998, X = 1999, Y=2000) through the
2000 model year. The numbers 1-9 will be used for model years 2001 through
2009, with the letters A-H to be used for model years 2010 through 2017.
Eleventh
Digit: Denotes the assembly plant.
Twelfth
through Seventeenth are the sequential production numbers.
**CALCULATING
THE CHECK DIGIT**
STEP 1
Assign to each number in the VIN its actual mathematical value and assign
to each letter the value specified for it in the following chart:
ASSIGNED
VALUES:
A=1 G=7 N=5 V=5
B=2 H=8 P=7 W=6
C=3 J=1 R=9 X=7
D=4 K=2 S=2 Y=8
E=5 L=3 T=3
F=6 M=4
U=4
STEP 2
Multiply the assigned value for each character in the VIN by the position
weight factor specified in the following chart:
VIN POSITION AND WEIGHT FACTOR:
1st = 8 10th = 9
2nd = 7 11th = 8
3rd = 6 12th = 7
4th = 5 13th = 6
5th = 4 14th = 5
6th = 3 15th = 4
7th = 2 16th = 3
8th = 10 17th = 2
9th = check digit
STEP 3
Add the products from steps 1 and 2 and divide the total by 11.
STEP 4
The
numerical remainder is the check digit which would appear in the 9th
position in the VIN. If the remainder is 10, then the letter "X"
is used for the check digit. |