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Dissecting The Vin Number - Bona Fide Tech Tips

Embrace Your Inner Noob

Staff Report
May 1, 2009
Htup_0905_01_z+vin_number+prototype Photo 1/2   |   Dissecting The Vin Number - Bona Fide Tech Tips

Your Honda's VIN (vehicle identification number) is a unique combination of numbers and letters assigned to all vehicles by the manufacturer. The VIN can be found stamped on the firewall, riveted to the top of the dash on most Hondas and Acuras, and applied to a sticker on nearly every body panel on most 1996-and-newer vehicles. Since its implementation, a vehicle's 17-digit VIN has been used for everything from registration, to identification, to aiding in theft recovery. When properly interpreted, each character of any given VIN will identify specific information about the vehicle. The VIN must be located during emissions testing procedures and compared with the information found underneath the hood. This gives the technician the information he needs so that the appropriate tests and procedures can be applied, like whether or not the vehicle is OBD2-equipped, or if it's supposed to have a DOHC engine with a manual transmission in it. The VIN can be easily located up high on the firewall, on the driver-side corner of the dash, or on the driver-side door jamb. Here's what the seemingly complex series of numbers and letters actually means for 1981 and newer U.S.-spec vehicles.

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Pre-production VINs also have 17 digits but are unlike anything you've ever seen.

Sample Vin
What It Means
1: Country of origin
2: Manufacturer
3: Make
4-6: Chassis and engine
7: Body and transmission
8: Trim level and restraint
9: Check digit
10: Model year
11: Assembly plant
12-17: Production number

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