What is a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?

What is a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?

Share Article:
Vehicle engine with Yellow highlights

When it comes to the identification of your vehicle, it isn’t just the number plate (VRM) that people look at, especially when it comes to the Police, DVLA or your insurance company. It is an important piece of information that identifies every single car built.

The vehicle identification number, VIN or Chassis Number as some people refer to it, is a unique code given to each vehicle. But what is a VIN number and why is it so important?

What is a VIN?

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a seventeen-character alphanumeric code help used to identify individual vehicles, each one is unique. Just like your fingerprint which is unique to you, a chassis number acts in the same way with no two cars having the same number.

What is a VIN located on a vehicle?

The VIN number can be found on several locations on a vehicle, this includes:


The most common place to find a VIN number is on the dashboard, depending on the manufacturer this is usually found on the drivers or passenger side towards the bottom of the window, manufacturers usually leave a gap in the tinting to easily read this number.

Drivers Side Sill

Open the driver’s side door, you will often find a label or stamping of the VIN number.

Engine Block

The VIN will be stamped or engraved on the engine block and may not be easily visible.

Registration Document

The VIN can always be found on your V5 registration document.

How is the VIN displayed?

Each VIN number is made up of specific letters and numbers, they provide important information about the vehicle, as follows:

What is a VIN Number Inforgraphic
Use our infographic on your website

Just click on the following code to embed our image on your website, please note this provides a click back to this article.

					<a href="https://car-subscriptions.co.uk/what-is-a-vehicle-identification-number-vin/" title="What is a VIN Number" target="_blank">
<img decoding="async" src="https://images.car-subscriptions.co.uk/infographics/what-is-a-vin-number-infographic.webp" alt="What is a VIN Inforgraphic from car-subscriptions.co.uk" width="495" height="740"></a>

Why are VIN numbers so important?

Identification / Registration

VIN numbers are required for the registration of the vehicle on the DVLA database. They can help prevent fraud by ensuring that stolen vehicles are easily identified. They can help the Police and other authorities trace the car’s history and onwership.

Recall and Safety

The DVLA and the manufacturers use the VIN number to help identify any safety recalls that the vehicle may need. This helps them in contacting the registered keeper and ensuring that any safety checks are carried out.

Vehicle History

If you are looking to purchase a vehicle, a VIN can help you get the history of the car. These reports contain information about the number of owners, private plate history, accident history, maintenance records and any safety recalls the vehicle may have had or are required.


VIN numbers can help identify a vehicle when it comes to looking or taking out a car insurance policy for a vehicle. If the vehicle isn’t yet registered a VIN number can usually be provided to prepopulate the required fields.


If you are looking at taking out a PCP or Hire Purchase on a vehicle, the VIN number will be required. Usually finance is secured against the car and when checked, should show a finance market against the number plate or the VIN number.

At what point should you check a VIN number?


The VIN number is a vital point of information to help you identify a vehicle and its history, the combination of the numbers provides information to easily identify the origins of the car and where it was built. It can also help you obtain vital information when it comes to selling or purchasing a vehicle.

Don’t forget to use our free “What is a VIN” infographic on your blogs for free.

Patty Atindehou

Patty is the content writer for Car-Subscriptions.co.uk and loves her cars and the automotive industry in general. She worked for large dealer groups in the United Kingdom and the USA specialising in high-end and premium vehicles. Her goal is to provide the most interesting information on the vehicle subscription industry.

Article Details

Post Published: September 10, 2023
Post Last Updated: November 15, 2023
Article Categories: ,