How to Check and Decode a Ford VIN

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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! 
Here to teach you about Ford VINs and how to decipher them is Jerry, the top-rated insurance comparison shopper and super app for car owners. Keep reading to learn how to find your VIN—and how to decode it. If you're also looking for the best car insurance rates for Ford, we've got you covered!
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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 insurance 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 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:
B1981 OR 2011
C1982 OR 2012
D1983 OR  2013
E1984 OR 2014
F1985 OR 2015
G1986 OR 2016
H1987 OR 2017
J1988 OR 2018
K1989 OR 2019
L1990 OR 2020
M1991 OR 2021
N1992 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, Michigan 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.

How to find affordable Ford insurance

Jerry is the easiest and more effective way to save money on Ford car insurance—no VIN required!
Using Jerry is simple. Just download the app and answer some basic questions. In less than 45 seconds, Jerry collects all your information from your existing policy and provides you with competitive quotes from top insurance companies. 
Once you’ve picked your new policy, Jerry takes care of the rest—we’ll handle all the paperwork and even help you cancel your old policy. No long forms, no calling around, no hard work. 
The average Jerry user saves $887 a year on car insurance.
Jerry was easy to use, and they saved me a lot of money on my truck. I would definitely recommend them.” —Johannes T.
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