Sunday, December 5, 2010

VIN Decoder

I’ve completed a new application which can be used to check car’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). It can provide useful information to someone who is looking into buying a used car. By checking the car’s VIN code, one could find out if the VIN is  valid or if it was modified – stolen cars often have modified VIN numbers in order to avoid detection.

This application can show where a car was produced, its manufacturer, production year*, model, engine, etc** and it will also verify the check digit. Often, an invalid check digit is a proof of an modified VIN (except for some manufacturers which are not always using a check digit – e.g. Volkswagen or Citroen).

 

vindecoder1      vindecoder2

However, due to the fact that car manufacturers do not always use the same VIN structure, this program is not 100% accurate. You can use this program to filter out cars with obvious fake VIN (like the example in the second picture - the check digit is invalid, the model year is listed as 2008 and the platform is E39, which is impossible since E39 platform was used only until 2005) but if you want to be 100% sure that the VIN is not fake, it’s better to check the VIN at your local dealership.

*note that the year code can be the calendar year in which a vehicle is built, or a model or type year allocated by the manufacturer.

**available information depends on the car’s manufacturer; apart from some specific fields (like country and serial number), the manufacturer will decide what VIN structure will be used; some manufacturers will provide full info on their VIN structure, some other won’t do that; some manufacturers will  change their VIN structure over the years, while others will keep same structure for many years; some will use the same codes for multiple models and some will have one code for each model.

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