How to Check and Decode a Saab VIN

You can find your Saab VIN on the driver’s side of the dashboard or inside the driver’s side doorjamb. The 17 digits follow a standardized set of codes.
Written by Maxine Boyko
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Your Saab VIN can be found on certain vehicle records (like the registration or the title) or on or in your car (like the door jamb, or windshield). You can decode it to learn the geographic location, manufacturing information, assembly plant locations or lines, and vehicle specifics for your car.
Usually, you need your vehicle identification number (VIN) to make adjustments to your car insurance coverage, update vehicle registration, and even help run diagnostics and source parts for repairs. But do you know what all of those characters mean and what they say about your car’s history?
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How to check your Saab’s VIN

Your Saab’s VIN, or vehicle identification number, is a unique 17-digit code that contains basic information about the vehicle you drive. 
You can usually find your Saab’s VIN in the following places:
  • On your vehicle registration card
  • On the car’s title or vehicle maintenance records from the dealer
  • The driver’s side doorjamb (sometimes you will also find it on the passenger side)
  • Driver’s side windshield
  • Near the firewall of the vehicle or on its steering column
These are some of the more common places you should first look. If you’re still having trouble finding it, it’s likely located somewhere under the hood, such as on the engine block. 

How to decode a Saab VIN

The automotive industry issues a vehicle a VIN, which we can then use to learn a variety of things about a car’s history. But what does that all entail?
VINs were introduced in the United States in the 1950s but weren’t required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) until 1981. That year, Saab and the rest of the automotive industry began using 17-digit alphanumeric VINs to keep everything standardized. 
After a few changes over the years, VINs have settled on using all numbers from 0 to 9, and almost every letter of the alphabet. O, I, and Q are not allowed since they are easily confused with numbers 0, 1, and 9. Each character’s position in the string carries particular information significant to the vehicle. 

First position: geographical area and country of origin

The first three character positions together make up the world manufacturer identifier (WMI) of your vehicle, as assigned by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). 
The first character designates the geographical area and/or country of origin. Sweden and Finland are Y, while J is Japan.

Positions 2-3: manufacturer information

The second and third digit positions (combined with the first digit) indicate the vehicle’s manufacturing division or the type of vehicle. Some assigned WMIs for the Saab include YKI, YS3, YTN, and JF4.

Positions 4-8: vehicle-specific information

The next five digits of your VIN include vehicle descriptors, including:
  • Fourth digit: the model
  • Fifth digit: the series
  • Sixth digit: the number of doors
  • Seventh digit: the transmission type
  • Eighth digit: engine specifications

Position 9: VIN check digit

The ninth digit doesn't have any special meaning other than to make sure it is an authentic VIN. The number will be either 0 to 9 or the letter X. This number is based on the other numbers in your VIN and helps prevent fraud.

Position 10: model year

The 10th position indicates the vehicle’s model year—which complicates things since certain digits have been re-used.
Here are the last 20 years of VIN model year digits:
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
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Position 11: assembly plant

Position 11 is the assembly plant or line where the vehicle was manufactured. For years, Saabs were assembled in both Sweden and Finland—and particularly at the Trollhättan complex in Sweden. 

Positions 12-17: vehicle serial number

The last six digits indicate the vehicle’s unique serial number that it receives on the assembly line. This will be unique to your car, though serial numbers are often assigned in batches so you may not be able to determine its exact position on the line.

How to find affordable Saab insurance

Okay, so it takes a little effort to decode your Saab’s VIN—but now that you’ve solved the mystery, why not solve all of your car insurance curiosities? The
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