VIN – Unique in every Aspect
Believe it or not, every vehicle is unique
At the very least, each vehicle is assigned a unique, unmistakable number, which is unique and similar to your account number. Your account number is assigned to your account, and so is the VIN assigned to your vehicle, and only to your vehicle.
Imagine you make a bank transfer and another account is debited instead of yours, sounds good, but only until the same thing happens to you through the opposite, so a doubtless identification is more than useful.
With the help of this number it is now possible to identify the vehicle beyond any doubt. This so-called vehicle identification number, in short VIN for Vehicle Identification Number, formed in the EU according to the ISO standard 3779. The VIN is subject to strict regulations which make it practically impossible to be confused. Our American neighbours have a somewhat stricter system, but it is definitely in line with the ISO 3779 system. To avoid confusion with the numbers 0 and 1, the letters I, O and Q are not allowed. Some other system could take an example from this.
VIN – safe and unique
But where is this VIN now, can you see it? On the one hand, the VIN is incorporated into the chassis of the vehicle, which is why the VIN used to be called the chassis number. The VIN is also still in your vehicle registration document. The incorporation of the number into the body of the vehicle serves the purpose of unambiguous identification and should sometimes make it more difficult for criminals to sell the cars on the black market in disguise. This is where inveterate crime hearts beat faster. For this reason, the numbers are worked into the vehicle frames by special procedures and with great effort.
Quite apart from this, the VIN is linked to a range of information about your car that identifies your vehicle as unique. So you can read the vehicle identification number, roughly described, for example the make, as well as the year in which the model appeared, the place of production and an assigned serial number.
Unique identification is mandatory
Every vehicle manufacturer in Germany is obliged to provide each vehicle with a unique VIN, which is also stored in the Central Vehicle Register. But what exactly does the VIN contain for secret information? The VIN always has 17 digits to store information in a defined way.
Let’s take this for an example:
WDD 207348 2F143 XXX
- The digits 1 to 3 contain the World Manufacturer Code (WMC). The”W” stands for Germany and then DD for Mercedes as in our example: WDD. But Mercedes can also have different digits like DB or DC.
BMW’s WMC usually has a “B” as a second digit, e.g. WBA.
- Digits 4 to 9 classify the model – Vehicle Descriptor Selection (VDS). In our example it is 207 348. “207” is the model, here is stands for “model 207.348“.
Unused characters are filled with numbers or letters, at the manufacturer’s choice. For example, Audi and VW mark unused characters with ZZZ.
- Digits 10 to 17 as in our example 2F143XXX are called the Vehicle Identifier Section (VIS).
- The 10th digit corresponds to the model year code according to ISO 3779-1983, but be careful, because the model year code does not have to correspond to the year of manufacture.
- Digit number 11 certifies the plant in which the model was manufactured.
- The digits 12 to 14 correspond to a consecutive numbering as long as they do not correspond to the second part of the World Manufacturer Code, but this is only true for all WMIs whose 3rd digit ends with 9.
- Otherwise, the remaining digits up to 17 represent consecutive numbering.
Your brain is smoking, no wonder, but also no problem, because there are some useful tools on the Internet, which decode the VIN, and give you the information in a human readable way.
Decoding – simply online
As already mentioned, there are a whole range of free VIN decoders available in the vast expanses of the Internet. The way they work is relatively simple and the websites are usually user-friendly. All you need is your VIN, which you can take from your vehicle documents as described above, see the legend on the back of your vehicle registration document. Some web links for VIN decoders can be found on the right side.
This data bases even checks your VIN against a data base of stolen cars.