Much like a person’s DNA, the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is unique to every car and holds a lot of information within the seemingly random combination of numbers and letters.

Between 1954 and 1981, each automobile manufacturer had their own system for tagging cars and light trucks which resulted in a wide variety of VIN number styles. This made it easier for thieves to switch a stolen vehicle’s ID with a legally registered one. In 1981, the federal government standardized the format in an effort to curb confusion and criminal activities.

Use the infographic below to decode your VIN number and verify the facts on your Vehicle History Report and service records.


This guest post comes from the editors of Carfax. Just say – Show me the CARFAX!