Your car’s VIN shares vital information about your vehicle. You may need to have your VIN on hand to present to an insurance company, a repair shop or a government agency as a way of identifying your car. That’s why it’s important to know where to find it when you need it.
Where Is My VIN Number, and What Does It Mean?
VIN stands for “vehicle identification number.” A VIN is a 17-character mix of letters and numbers used to identify one car from the next. Every road-legal vehicle has its own unique VIN, so there isn’t another car on the planet that has the same VIN as yours.
That’s not to say that your car’s VIN is just a random series of letters and numbers. It’s actually a code that can be used to find out details about your vehicle. If the VIN is properly decoded, it can provide information such as the make, model and year of your car as well as the country in which it was built.
At this point, you’re likely thinking, “good to know, but where is my VIN number?” You can find your car’s VIN in these locations:
In many cars, the VIN is found on the dashboard. It’s typically located on the driver’s side, close to where the windshield meets the dash. Usually, the VIN is etched into a metal plate that’s affixed to the dash. This setup allows the VIN to be read easily by someone on the outside, such as a claims adjuster or mechanic peering into the driver-side window of your vehicle.
2. Driver-Side Door Jamb
Another place where you’re likely to find your car’s VIN is on the driver-side door jamb, where it’s typically situated on a rectangular label. If your VIN is located there, it should be visible when you open the driver-side door.
3. Insurance Card
You can also get your VIN by taking a look at your insurance card. Your insurance card exists to provide proof that you’re covered in case of an accident. It contains information such as your insurance account number and the make and model of your vehicle in addition to its VIN.
Your insurance card is a physical document, but some states also allow digital insurance cards to serve as proof that you’re legally insured. Digital insurance cards are usually accessed via your smartphone, and both physical and digital insurance cards contain your VIN. Even if you have an electronic insurance card, it’s a good habit to keep a hard copy in your wallet or glove compartment.
4. In the Engine Bay
In some cases, your car’s VIN may be found on the car’s engine. It’s sometimes etched into the car’s firewall. In certain cases, it may also be found on the car’s transmission.
5. Title and Registration
Your car’s title and registration documents should be able to provide you with your car’s VIN, as these are the legal documents that prove you own your car.
6. OBD Scanner
Finally, you can use an OBD scanner to pull up a car’s VIN.
Having your VIN ready may be necessary if you’re insuring your car or getting it repaired, and now you now know exactly where to find it.
Check out all the scan tools available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on where to find your car’s VIN, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.