How to Check and Decode a Ford VIN

You can find your Ford’s VIN on the driver’s side windshield or inside the doorjamb on the left side. The 17 digits follow a standardized set of codes.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
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
. But decoding a VIN can tell you some interesting facts about the vehicle it belongs to! 
Here to teach you about Ford VINs and how to decipher them is
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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 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 Administration
standardized 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.
  • Position 4 is your car’s
    weight rating
  • Positions 5-7 represent the model, line, series, or
    body type
    of your vehicle
  • Position 8 is your car’s engine type
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,
plant, 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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