by Dawn Marcotte
Creative cropping / Digital vision / Getty Images
In 1981, a standardized seventeen-character identification number was introduced to the automotive industry. Since that year, all manufactured vehicles have this mandatory code. This code can be used to identify a vehicle in the same way that DNA can be used to identify a specific person. The letters I, O and Q are never used to avoid confusion when reading the VIN. Heavy duty trucks also have this Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Parts of the VIN are standardized, such as the country of manufacture code and the manufacturer’s code. The parts of the VIN are specific to each manufacturer.
Count the VIN digits of the title to verify that it is 17 characters long. If you have less, the vehicle was built before 1981.
Identify the first character of the VIN. This indicates in which country the truck was manufactured. The following table has the corresponding codes: 1, 4, 5 – Made in USA 2 – Made in Canada 3, 9 – Made in Mexico 6 – Made in Australia J – Made in Japan K – Korea made S – England made T, W – Germany made V – France made Y – Finland, Sweden made Z – Italy made
Identify the second character in the VIN. This character identifies the specific manufacturer. The following table has the codes: 1 – Chevrolet 2 – Pontiac 3 – Oldsmobile 4 – Buick 5 – Pontiac 6 – Cadillac 7 – GM Canada 8 – Saturn A – Audi or Jaguar B – BMW or Dodge C – Chrysler D – Mercedes Benz F – Ford G – General Motors H – Honda L – Lincoln M – Mercury N – Nissan P – Plymouth T – Toyota V – Volvo
Review the specific manufacturer’s VIN table. Items such as gross vehicle weight, body type, assembly plant, and engine type are commonly identified by a specific code at a specific location.
Compare the VIN numbers and letters, by position, with the correct table. An example VIN for a Ford heavy duty truck might be 1FTLP62W4WH128703.
- If the truck was built before 1981, a dealer can decode the VIN for that type of vehicle.
Articles will need
- Truck VIN
- Table with VIN codes for the truck manufacturer