Vehicle Identification Number - VIN

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique 17 character number. VINs are used in Australia, Europe, the USA.

All vehicles distributed in Australia since 1989 must have a VIN, which is usually stamped into the vehicle structure (often the firewall) during manufacture, or stamped on a metal plate and fixed onto the vehicle's body.

VIN Sample

Why not just use the registration number?

Registration numbers can change and are not always associated with the same vehicle. VIN's on the other hand are permanent and remain attached for the life of the vehicle.

VIN's are much harder to remove and help in eliminating fraud and the re-birthing of stolen vehicles.

How do I find a VIN?

There are a couple of places that you can look for a VIN.

If you are considering the purchase of a vehicle and want to Check It Out first, you may not have direct access to the vehicle. In this case you can look in the following places;

  • The Vehicle's Registration label on the windscreen.
  • The Safety Certificate (Roadworthy)
  • In the case of an online advertisement,
    the retailer has possibly listed the VIN.
  • You could ask the seller to provide you with the VIN

VIN on Most Registration Labels    VIN on the Vehicles Safety Certificate (Roadworthy)

If you have access to the vehicle, it is always a good idea to find where the VIN is attached to the vehicle and write it down yourself. This eliminates any possibility of someone else having previously made a mistake when writing it down.

Try looking in one of the following places on the vehicle.

  • The Compliance Plate
  • The Firewall (The panel separating the engine compartment and the inside of the vehicle).
  • The Chassis.
VIN Location

Trailers have VINs too.

The VIN on a trailer is usually located on a small plate affixed to the trailer.

VIN on a Trailor

Some Tips with VINS

VIN's are always 17 characters long. If it doesn't have 17 characters, it is not a valid VIN.

VIN's never contain the characters i or o or Q. Any character that appears to be an i or o will most likely be 1 (one) or 0 (zero).

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