VIN is a unique serial number used by the automotive industry to identify individual motor vehicles. In 1981 the format for VIN was standadized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the United States. It required all over-the-road-vehicles sold to contain a 17-character VIN, which do not include the letters I (i), O (o), or Q (q) (to avoid confusion with numerals 1 and 0).
Nowadays, there are two related standards for Vehicle Identification Number systems. They are originally issued by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1979 and 1980; ISO 3779 and ISO 3780, respectively. Compatible but somewhat different implementations of these ISO standards have been adopted by the European Union and the United States of America.
The VIN is 17 characters long and is composed of 3 main sections:
The 9th digit from left has the special meaning in the VIN. It's always a check digit. The other digits and letters in the VIN go through a series of mathematical steps. The result is a digit (0, 1, ..., 9) or the letter X. The check digit allows you to tell immediately if there is an error in the VIN.
VIN is normally located in several locations on a car, but the most common places are: