Ford VINs are located on the driver’s side windshield and left-side doorjamb. To understand a VIN, you’ll need to look at its codes for manufacturer, vehicle information, model year, and assembly plant.
Most people don’t know much about their car’s VIN, or vehicle identification number, other than that they’ll need it to renew their driver’s license or update their
registration. But decoding a VIN can tell you some interesting facts about the vehicle it belongs to!
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How to check your Ford’s VIN
A VIN or vehicle identification number is a string of 17 characters that provides specific information about the car you drive.
If you drive a Ford, you can find your VIN in a few locations:
- On yourinsurance card
- On your registration documents
- On a sticker attached to the driver’s side windshield
- On the left-side doorjamb
If your vehicle is equipped with SYNC 3, you can view your VIN by touching Settings > General > About SYNC. If you have the FordPass app, you can find your VIN by selecting your vehicle and pressing Vehicle Details.
You should be able to find your Ford’s VIN in at least one of these locations—but if you’re having trouble, a mechanic can get your VIN for you by using an onboard diagnostics II scanner. You can usually find your car’s OBD-II port under the steering wheel or glove box.
How to decode a Ford VIN
Once you’ve located your VIN, you’ll see a string of seemingly random letters and numbers—but how do you know what they mean?
VINs have been in use in the United States for a long time—since the 1950s in fact! But the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationstandardized them in 1981. This means that all modern VINs take the same format of 17 characters and are always interpreted the same way, no matter the vehicle.
If you look at your car’s VIN, you should see the numbers 0 through 9 and most of the letters of the alphabet. I, O, and Q are not included in VINs, however, because they can be easily confused with 1, 0, and 9.
Positions 1-3: world manufacturer identifier
The first three characters of your VIN represent your car’s world manufacturer identifier, or WMI. To break it down even further:
- The first character represents your vehicle’s country of origin—a 1 in this position represents the United States, for example
- The second character is the manufacturer itself—you’ll always see an F here if you own a Ford
- The third character represents your vehicle’s type—basic chassis (C), incomplete vehicle (D), multipurpose vehicle (M), or truck (T)
Positions 4-8: vehicle-specific information
The next five characters indicate specific details about your car.
You can identify which type of Ford you drive by looking at this part of the VIN.
Position 9: VIN check digit
The digit located at position 9 is your vehicle’s check digit—a specific number that’s mathematically calculated based on the rest of your VIN and used to prove that the number is valid. The check digit exists to help law enforcement recognize fake VINs.
Position 10: model year
The code for your car’s model year can be a bit complicated to read since VINs recycle letters and numbers that were used for earlier years. Here’s what the codes have looked like over the last 20 years:
1981 OR 2011
1982 OR 2012
1983 OR 2013
1984 OR 2014
1985 OR 2015
1986 OR 2016
1987 OR 2017
1988 OR 2018
1989 OR 2019
1990 OR 2020
1991 OR 2021
1992 OR 2022
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Position 11: assembly plant
The plant where your car was assembled is represented by a specific set of codes unique to your car’s manufacturer. Ford has over 20 factories across the United States, Canada, and Mexico—and each factory has its own code.
If your Ford was assembled in the Dearborn,
Michiganplant, for example, you would see the code F.
Positions 12-17: vehicle serial number
The last six digits of the VIN are your car’s serial number. Although serial numbers are sometimes referred to as sequence numbers, they are usually assigned in batches—so it can still be hard to pinpoint your car’s exact position on the assembly line.
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