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The currently accepted standard was introduced in 1981, but the VIN has its roots in the Detroit's manufacturers habit of stamping serial numbers on the vehicles and parts they produced, a practice that dates back to the 1950s. The standard used today came as a response to the request made in the 1980's by the United States Department of Transportation, through which all road worthy vehicles were required to have a 17 character VIN. VIN is comprised of 17 characters, divided into sections and subsection, each of them designed to perform a different role in the identification. To calculate the check digit, any letter in the VIN must be assigned a numeric value, according to the following table (numbers already in the VIN retain their existing value): Note that the letters O, Q and I do not normally appear in the VIN, because they are likely to be confused with the numbers zero and one. The numeric value of each position obtained from the first calculus must be multiplied by the weight value of that position to obtain the product for each position. A conscience is a tool used to keep in control those who are prone to betraying their own principles. Over the past two months, we've shared with you methods for decoding VINs on '72-'96 Corvettes, and briefed you on the background and history of the original car-ID system that was introduced in the U.S. GM keeps VIN Data cards from model years '72-'11 in a database, as a way of helping dealers' service departments decode VIN-plate data. This month, we'll jump right into the action and show you how to decode VINs on '97-'04 Vettes. Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.Ask follow up questions if you need to.

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Needless to say, early VIN's came in all shapes and sizes and were mostly used by each manufacturer to keep track of its own products. Today's VIN systems are based on two related standards, ISO 3779 and ISO 3780, issued by the International Organization for Standardization. Characters 1 through 3 are called World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI) and are used to identify the vehicle's manufacturer and country of origin.
Characters 4 through 8 are called the Vehicle Descriptor Sector (VDS), and are used for determining the type of the vehicle.
Character 11 identifies the assembly plant for the vehicle and is compulsory for the North American continent.

And check back next month, when we'll conclude this series with VIN-decoding methods used for '05-'11 Corvettes. The two systems have been adopted by both the European Union and the United States, but as often is the case, implementation of the two standards differ in the two regions. The first character of the set represents the country in which the manufacturer is located, the second stands for the manufacturer's name and the third shows the type of vehicle, or in some cases, the manufacturing division. Even if manufacturers have different code types for each of their plants, those codes will always find themselves in the 11th position in the VIN.
These four characters can include the type of platform used for the vehicle, the model or the body style.
The set can include information about engine or transmission choice for the vehicle, trim levels and so on.
Most of the producers however use the 8th character to identify the engine type of the car, for those models which come in more than one engine version. In the US, the last four characters must be numeric and are used to identify the production sequence of any given vehicle.

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