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Further, your car's every recorded event will get its Vehicle Identification Number attached to it.
By the way, yes, in all probability, the license plate number associated with the car will be noted as well. The easiest place to find the VIN is in the corner at the base of the windshield on the driver’s side of the car.
To deter theft, NHTSA’s Federal Parts Marking Program also decrees a number of other places around the car where the Vehicle Identification Number can be found.
Comprised of letters and numbers, seventeen alphanumeric characters make up the Vehicle Identification Number.
After studying a number of different VINs, the observant individual will perhaps note certain letters never appear when checking a VIN. The first three characters you’ll see when reading a VIN (the WDD in our sample number) are referred to as the World Manufacturer Identifier. The next five characters (SJ5CB) are the Vehicle Descriptor Section, designating trim specifications, driveline options and safety features. The single digit in the middle of the VIN (8) is the Check Digit, which can be used to verify the authenticity of the number. The tenth digit (E) is the Model Year Encoding, which signifies the model year of the vehicle, which may or may not be the same as the year the automobile was initially sold.
The next five digits of the VIN: WDDSJ5CB8EN032372 get into specifics concerning the configuration of the vehicle. Given the breadth of the possibilities in this case, they are too numerous for us to go into here.
Position 1 = 8, 2 = 7, 3 = 6, 4 = 5, 5 = 4, 6 = 3, 7 = 2, 8 = 10, 9=0, 10 = 9, 11 = 8, 12 = 7, 13 = 6, 14 = 5, 15 = 4, 16 = 3, and 17 = 2.
The value of each of the other characters is then multiplied by their weight to determine their product.
Following this formula; W = 48, D = 28, D = 24, S = 10, J = 4, 5 = 15, C = 6, B = 20, 8 = 0, E = 45, N = 40, 0 = 0, 3 = 18, 2 = 10, 3 = 12, 7 = 21, and 2 = 4.

The sum of that operation is then divided by 11, with the remainder from that operation equaling the check digit. The last six characters of our VIN: WDDSJ5CB8EN032372, comprise the actual serial number of the car. So with all of that said, our Vehicle Identification Number indicates our car is number 32,372 and is a 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, built in the Mercedes-Benz Kecskemét Plant in Hungary. And, like your permanent record from grade school, this VIN will follow it throughout its life span. Every time it is sold, or if it is ever in an accident or stolen, the VIN will be recorded. However, while license plates can be readily changed, because of its complexities, a VIN cannot.
While most historians agree American manufacturers have been using VINs since 1954—we have seen unverified assertions the very first one was applied to the 1953 Chevrolet Corvette.
Because each manufacturer used their own formatting scheme, it was difficult to readily discern what was what by simply looking at the numbers. The hood, the engine, the bumpers, the doors, the fenders, and quarter panels can also contain the VIN. Because of this, reading a VIN is much easier if it is broken into its six constituent parts.
In this case, these digits identify the car’s country of origin, manufacturer, and make. While in many cases the letter corresponds directly with the first letter of the name of the manufacturer, in some cases it does not.
Thing is, each manufacturer is permitted to code this section to their own specification, so deciphering this part of the Vehicle Identification Number can be rather complex. In this case, the code tells us we’re dealing with a four-door sedan CLA-Class Mercedes-Benz. However, for those of you who want to get deep off into this aspect of it, here’s a guide to deciphering the Vehicle Descriptor section of a Vehicle Identification Number.

Each manufacturer uses its own plant codes as well; you can find the lists of a number of the major car builders on Wikipedia. As every manufacturer uses its own sequence, the significance of this number can vary from company to company. Interestingly, while most people know their car has one, few know how to read a car’s VIN. Further, it is illegal to alter an automobile’s Vehicle Identification Number in any way.
Further, it is generally engraved into the firewall behind the engine underneath the hood and on a sticker near the radiator support. In addition to these places, there are a number of other locations, which are not publicized. This is because when the system was devised, those letters were not included to avoid the possibility of mistaking them for the numbers one and zero.
To accomplish this, every alphabetical character of the VIN is assigned a numerical value, while the existing numerical characters retain their actual value. But in most cases the serial number represents how far along in a particular production run any given car falls. Which is kind of a shame; within that 17-digit alphanumeric is contained information about where your car was built, when it was built, and the key features it possesses. Department of Transportation adopted the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) Vehicle Identification Number format (ISO 3780), and it has been in use ever since.
However, last of the three characters can also refer to the type of vehicle, indicating whether it is a truck or a car.

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