How to Check and Decode a Mini VIN

You’ll locate your Mini’s VIN on the doorjamb on the driver's side, under the windshield, on your car title, and on your vehicle registration.
Written by Jason Tushinski
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Deciphering your Mini’s VIN is actually pretty easy—first, you’ll need to locate the VIN on the driver’s side doorjamb, below the windshield on the driver’s side, on your vehicle registration, or on your car title. You’ll decode the VIN by looking at the vehicle’s country of origin, manufacturer, vehicle information, and the plant where it was put together.
Your Mini’s vehicle identification number (VIN) shouldn’t be too much of a mystery—after all, you’ve no doubt encountered it before when renewing your license, registering your vehicle, or selling your car. But if you’re curious what exactly that string of 17 digits means, you’re in the right place.
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How to check your Mini’s VIN

You’ll be able to find your Mini’s VIN in a few spots on your car—this 17-digit sequence is used to identify your particular Mini.
To find your Mini’s VIN, look in the following spots:
  • Your insurance card
  • The registration card handed to you at the DMV
  • The sticker or metal tab below the windshield on the driver’s side
  • The sticker pasted to the doorjamb on the driver’s side
If you still can’t find your VIN, look under the hood, on the vehicle’s firewall, or on the steering column.

How to decode a Mini VIN

Your VIN is used by the DMV to process an enormous amount of car-related services—so aren’t you curious what those 17 digits actually mean?!
VINs have been used in the U.S. since the 1950s. It wasn’t until 1981 that they were standardized, thanks to the work of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Your VIN’s digits have particular meanings that are now standard across makes, models, and even continents. 
VINs consist of numbers from 0 to 9, and all letters not including I, O, and Q. These letters were omitted due to their resemblance to the numbers 1, 0, and 9, in order to avoid confusion.

First position: country of origin

Your VIN will begin as all do—with the world manufacturing identifier (WMI), which actually makes up the first three digits of your VIN. For a Mini, the first digit will be a W, which denotes its country of origin—the United Kingdom.

Positions 2-3: manufacturer information and vehicle type

The second and third digits of your VIN give more information about the manufacturer. In the case of a Mini, the second digit will be an M, denoting Mini. The third digit will be another W, in this case denoting a passenger car. 

Positions 4-8: vehicle-specific information

Digits 4 through 8 give you more information about the Mini you are driving, including its body type, engine, safety equipment, transmission, and other aspects of the car.

Position 9: the VIN check digit

The check digit is your VIN’s 9th digit, and it is used to verify your Mini’s VIN. The check digit is based on the other numbers in your VIN.

Position 10: model year

The 10th digit can be a little confusing—this digit identifies your Mini’s model year. For this, digits are re-used for model years. The digits U, Z, and 0 are not used for model year digits (along with I, O, and Q).
The VIN model year codes break down as follows for the past twenty 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

Position 11: assembly plant

A special set of codes is used by each automaker for the VIN’s 11th digit—this tells you the factory where the Mini was assembled. In Mini’s case, this will be a T, for the BMW plant in Oxford, England.

Positions 12-17: vehicle serial number

Your VIN’s final six digits make up your Mini’s serial number. This number is also your car’s production sequence number

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