Did you ever stop to think that your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) actually means something? At the heart of it, I knew that the specific 17-digit combination of letters and numbers was "my car" but it said even more than that. It can tell you the year, the model, and even the production number.

Yeah, cool and creepy at the same time.

Check it out. For example purposes, we are going to use one of the cars here at the radio station.


According to this decoder, and this one, here is what we are looking at, is it correct? I'll let you know after.

  1. The first digit is the country of manufacture, it's 3, which stands for Mexico
  2. Second is the vehicle manufacturer, N for Nissan
  3. Third is the vehicle type or division or class, but you have to combine it with the first two numbers. See, this really is a code. So, 3N6, a Nissan made in Mexico
  4. Digits 4-8 are the cars brand, vehicle style, model etc CM0KN its a NV200
  5. Digit 9, a security check (?) 8
  6. Digit 10, the model year H = 2017
  7. Digit 11, which assembly plant was used for your vehicle K
  8. Digits 12-17 are your specific vehicles numbers, that is what will really separate you from others. 698238

Huh? I am so confused and got a bit lost around step 3. At this point, I am still thinking that this is a top secret code that I am not supposed to be able to break it down. *TIP* There is one thing that I repeatedly saw on many of the websites I was doing research on and that is digit number 10. That is the year of manufacture. According to those sites, when buying a used car it is super important for you to verify that digit is the same as year info on all your cars paperwork.

The other suggestion that I saw repeatedly is that when you are buying a used car, go ahead and do a VIN search, before purchasing. The VIN search will potentially give you info on how the car was maintained, how many owners and if it has been in any reported accidents.

Other places to get information on your VIN, AutoCheck.com, Edmunds VIN Decoder, good 'ole Wikipedia, and Carfax.  

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