Minivan Conversions | Full Size Conversion Van | Handicapped Vans
Information on Minivans Conversions, Handicapped Vans, and Wheelchair Accessible Adaptive Equipment
Vehicle identification numbers are administered by NHTSA regulations. A vehicle identification number or VIN is a series of seventeen numbers and letters that is assigned to a specific motor vehicle. The VIN is not just numbers then. The purpose of the VIN is to identify the specific vehicle.NHTSA’s regulation 49 CFR Part 565 requires a car manufacturer to assign to each motor vehicle manufactured for sale in the United States a 17 character VIN that uniquely identifies the automobile. The VIN includes a check digit in Position 9 under a specific formula contained in the regulation. Vehicle identification numbers cannot include the letters I, O, or Q. Beginning with the 1980 model year, no two vehicles manufactured within a 60-year period can have the same VIN. The characters used in making up the VIN are specified in 49 CFR Part 565 and the type face used must be san serif characters, all caps. The VIN is meant to be permanently labeled to the car. The VIN is either written on a vehicle part that is not designed to be removed except for repair or upon a separate plate or label that is permanently attached to such a part.
The vehicle identification number for passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles (MPV), low-speed vehicles, and trucks of 10,000 lbs. or less gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) must be located inside the passenger compartment and readable through the front windshield from outside the vehicle adjacent to the driver side windshield pillar.Because of the smaller size, NHTSA regulations require that a motorcycle’s VIN need only appear on the Safety Compliance Certification Label that is affixed to a permanent part of the motorcycle. The label should be located as close as practicable to the junction of the steering post with the handle bars in such a location that it can be easily readable without moving/removing any part of the motorcycle except for the steering mechanism. A trailer's vehicle identification number must appear on the Safety Compliance Certification Label affixed by the trailer manufacturer to a location on the forward half of the trailer’s left side. The VIN must be easily readable from outside the trailer without moving/removing any part of the trailer.
NHTSA issued amended VIN regulations on April 30, 2008 to ensure that the VIN system would remain viable for the next 30 years. The amended regulations apply to all motor vehicles manufactured April 30, 2009 or later.
The VIN is comprised of 17 character positions.
VIN character positions 1 through 6 and 8 through 12 may be alphanumeric.
VIN character position 7 must be alphabetic if the manufactured vehicle is a passenger car, MPV, or truck with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or less.
VIN character positions 13 through 17 must be numeric if the manufactured vehicle is a passenger car, MPV, or truck with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or less. For all other vehicle types, VIN character positions 14 through 17 must be numeric.
The sections of a VIN are described below.
The first three characters of a VIN comprise the first section of the VIN. The first section of a VIN uniquely identify a motor vehicle manufacturer using the "World Manufacturer Identifier" or WMI code. If the vehicle manufacturer produces 1,000 or more vehicles of a given type each year they are considered a "high-volume" manufacturer. If the vehicle manufacturer produces less than 1,000 vehicles of a specific model each year they are considered a "low-volume" manufacturer. The VIN for a vehicle manufactured by a "low-volume" manufacturer uses the number "9" as the third character and VIN characters 12, 13, and 14 for the remainder of the WMI code.
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) assigns a WMI code to a vehicle manufacturer that intends to assemble motor vehicles in the United States. Manufacturers must contact the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) directly (and not NHTSA) to request the assignment of a WMI code: telephone: 724-772-8511, mail: Society of Automotive Engineers, 400 Commonwealth Avenue, Warrendale, PA 15096, Attention: WMI Coordinator.
Characters 4 through 8 of a VIN comprise the second section of the VIN. The second section of the VIN is called the Vehicle Descriptor Section. The second section of the VIN is used to identify the vehicle's main attributes. For passenger cars, multi-purpose passenger vehicles (MPVs), and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 lbs. or less, car manufacturers must report all restraint devices and their locations in the vehicles in the VIN Vehicle Descriptor Section. VIN character 7 of such vehicles must be alphabetic. For other vehicle types (e.g., motorcycles, buses, trailers), VIN character 7 may be either alphabetic or numeric.
The vehicle attributes that may be identified in the VIN are make, model, series, body type, engine type, GVWR, all restraint devices and their locations, chassis, cab type, brake system, type of trailer, length, axle configuration, type of motorcycle, net brake horsepower.
Vehicle types that have more reportable vehicle attributes than the five VIN character positions in which to report are given flexibility to determine how they wish to structure or encode the second section of the VIN. A vehicle manufacturer may use a lookup table whereby the manufacturer’s five VIN characters "ABCDE" may be decoded using a lookup table to identify more than five vehicle attributes.
Motorcycle manufacturers are only required to report 5 vehicle attributes in the second section of a VIN. One attribute can be assigned to a VIN character.
Only trailer manufacturers have to report vehicle attributes "length" and "axle configuration" in the VIN. The term "length" is the length of a trailer as measured from one extremity to the other, including the vehicle equipment by which it is towed such as the tongue or equivalent connector to the towing vehicle. "Axle configuration" means the number of axles on the trailer, e.g., 1-axle, 2-axle, 3-axle, etc.
The amended VIN regulations no longer restrict Positions 4, 5, 6, or 8 to either alphabetic or numeric characters. This gives manufacturers more permutations for their vehicle attribute coding. However, as stated above, for passenger cars, and MPVs and trucks with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or less manufactured on or after April 30 2009, Position 7 of the VIN must be alphabetic, which designates that the model year in Position 10 of the VIN refers to a year in the range of 2010-2039.
Character in position 9 of a VIN comprises the third section of the VIN called the "check digit". The purpose of the check digit is to provide a means for verifying the accuracy of the VIN number. NHTSA regulations establish a mathematical formula for calculating the check digit.
The vehicle manufacturer calculates the check digit using the regulation defined formula after all other characters in VIN have been determined.
First, each character in the VIN is assigned a numerical value.
Second, each character position of the VIN, with the exception of character Position 9, the check digit, is assigned a "weight value".
Third, each VIN position character’s numeric value that was assigned at the first step is multiplied by the position’s weight value. Below is an example. The results are added together and the total is then divided by the number 11. The check digit is based on either the Fractional Remainder or the Decimal Equivalent Remainder once the division occurs. All decimal equivalent remainders are rounded to the nearest thousandth place. If the ten thousandth place of the remainder is 5 or greater, the thousandth place is rounded up; if 4 or less, rounded down.
Fourth, a regulation defined table is used to determine the check digit based on the remainder.
A check digit can be zero through nine (0–9) or the letter "X". The check digit is VIN character position 9.
Characters 10 through 17 of a VIN comprise the fourth section of the VIN.
Character position 10 of the VIN defines the model year of the vehicle. The letters U and Z and the number 0 are not used for the year code in addition to the previously mentioned ban on the letters I, O, and Q. The model year is the year that a manufacturer uses to designate a discrete vehicle model. This is irrespective of the calendar year in which the vehicle was actually produced. The production period of a model year cannot exceed 24 months. The year codes that must be used in the manufacturer’s VIN are found in Table VII of the regulation, entitled "Year Codes for VIN".
Character position 11 of the VIN defines the city, state, and country where the manufacturer affixes the VIN label to the vehicle. Vehicle manufacturers assign their own plant codes but are required to provide VIN deciphering information to NHTSA.
Character positions 12 through 17 of the VIN are used to represent sequentially assigned numbers by the manufacturer in the production of a car. If the manufacturer is a high-volume manufacturer, character positions 12 through 17 of the VIN are used. If the manufacturer is a low-volume manufacturer, only character positions 12 through 14 of the VIN are used. If the manufactured vehicle is a passenger car, MPV, or truck with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or less, VIN character positions 13 through 17 must be numeric. For all other vehicle types, VIN character positions 14 through 17 must be numeric.
Each vehicle manufacturer must report to NHTSA its complete VIN deciphering information. This allows NHTSA to simplify vehicle identification information retrieval and increase the accuracy and efficiency of the vehicle recall campaigns. The VIN has become the key identifier of vehicles in data systems that track compliance with Federal and state safety programs and that manage and analyze information on vehicle manufacturing processes, registrations, insurance programs, crash investigations, and safety research. Organizations that use VINs in data systems include NHTSA, manufacturers, state motor vehicle departments, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, and motor vehicle safety researchers.
Under 49 CFR 565.26, a motor vehicle manufacturer must submit to NHTSA, either directly or through an agent, information the agency will need to decipher the manufacturer’s VIN characters not later than 60 days before the manufacturer offers for sale the first vehicle identified by that VIN or if information concerning vehicle characteristics sufficient to specify the VIN code is unavailable to the manufacturer by that date, then within one week after that information first becomes available. The purpose of the 60-day requirement is to permit users of the VIN, such as State motor vehicle agencies, to obtain the necessary deciphering information before vehicle purchasers begin registering their vehicles. The VIN deciphering information must be addressed to: Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, Attention: VIN Coordinator. See Appendix 4 for sample VIN deciphering letters.
Federal law prohibits any person from tampering with a VIN that has been inscribed on a motor vehicle. Even if there is an obvious mistake the vehicle owner should not in any way tamper with the incorrect VIN affixed to the vehicle. The presence of an altered or tampered VIN on a vehicle will be considered by the police to be an indication that the vehicle in question has been stolen. Also, do not attempt to add a second VIN label or cover up the original VIN label. This will only make the identification of stolen vehicles and other law enforcement activities much more difficult.
Typically a VIN problem is discovered when a buyer is trying to register a title with the State motor vehicle agency and the agency refuses to issue a title or registration plate for the vehicle. Consumers who have purchased a car with an error or issue with the VIN should first contact their car's manufacturer using the contact information supplied in the vehicle owner’s manual.
If a typographical or computational error is discovered in a VIN already assigned to a vehicle, the manufacturer must then supply NHTSA with a list of vehicles produced with the incorrect VINs. The vehicle manufacturer also supplies NHTSA with the corrected VINs as they should have been assigned to those vehicles. These VIN errors are entered by NHTSA into the Federal VIN error database.
The vehicle manufacturer should provide the vehicle owner with the corrected VIN as it should have been orignally assigned. A letter accompanies the corrected VIN with the vehicle manufacturer's contact name and phone number to be used by law enforcement in the event that further information is needed during an investigation of the VIN error.
In addition, the vehicle manufacturer informs the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) of the VIN error.
The manufacturer does not correct the VIN on most motor vehicles, trailers and motorcycles being possible exceptions if the manufacturer chooses, because the VIN would have to be corrected at every location where it appears on the vehicle, including the public VIN, any hidden theft deterrent VINs, the VIN on the manufacturer’s Safety Compliance Certification label, and the VINs on the 18 major parts of a motor vehicle that are required to be marked.
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