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How to Locate Your Car’s VIN

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Your car’s vehicle identification number, or VIN, is an important identification tool that auto glass shops use when you are replacing glass. Knowing a vehicle’s VIN gives the shop information about your vehicle that helps them figure out exactly which glass is needed for your model with its specific options. In order to give an auto glass shop your VIN, you first need to know where to find it.

Vehicle Glass

What is a VIN?

Since 1981, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has required that each sold, on-road vehicle have a vehicle identification number. This includes cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, buses, motorcycles and trailers.

Your car’s VIN is its fingerprint. Having access to this 17-character code quickly gives an auto glass shop information about your car’s make and model, year, where it was made, features it includes and technical specifications, such as windshield type. No two cars should have the same VIN.

A VIN cannot include the letters I, O or Q. This prevents the confusion of those letters with the numbers one and zero. The first three characters of your VIN are called the World Manufacturer Identifier. These characters identify the vehicle’s country of origin and manufacturer. The next six characters are the Vehicle Descriptor Section. These characters specify your vehicle’s general characteristics, such as class, the body style, engine type and how many doors it has. The last eight characters are the Vehicle Identifier Section. These characters identify your vehicle’s particular car information, such as the year it was made, the plant where it was made and factory-equipped features.

Vehicle Windshield - Locating your VIN

Where Can I Find My Car’s VIN?

Now that you know what a VIN is you’ll want to know where to locate your vehicle’s VIN. You can locate it in multiple places on the car itself and in documents related to your vehicle.

  • You can locate your vehicle’s VIN near the bottom driver’s side corner of its windshield. It should appear as a transparent window through to your vehicle’s dashboard.
  • You can also locate it under the hood at the front of the engine by the lock.
  • Another common location is on the front driver’s side door jamb.
  • It can also sometimes be found under the spare tire. In some older vehicles a VIN could be located in the driver’s side front or rear wheel well above the tire.
  • Your vehicle’s VIN can also be found on the vehicle’s title, registration card, insurance card, owner’s manual, body shop repair records, vehicle history report, etc.

You can always take a picture of your VIN with your phone so that you have the VIN easily accessible at all times.

If your vehicle’s VINs do not match each other it could be a sign that the vehicle was stolen. If in doubt, check your vehicle’s federal safety certification label. This is often attached to the rear or forward door pillar post on the driver’s side door. The label should be affixed to the door without any loose corners. There shouldn’t be any scratches near the VIN and the label itself should be smooth without scratches. If it appears that a vehicle’s vehicle identification number has been tampered with, notify the police.

Why is the VIN Important for Auto Glass Repair/Replacement?

Knowing your vehicle’s VIN is important for auto glass shops to properly repair or replace your glass. A reputable shop should request your VIN if they do not already have that information. The VIN will provide them with the information they need to order the correct replacement windshield for you, as designs can differ based on year or other factors. You should have your VIN ready when calling to schedule an auto glass repair or replacement service.

Having the correct glass installed is imperative to your safety. Without the proper VIN, an auto glass shop might not know which glass to order, which could delay the completion of your job.

Some vehicles of the same model and year can have several factory glass options, up to 20 in some cases, meaning the VIN is imperative in determining which glass to order for your needs. However, it may only give the auto glass shop enough information to narrow down which glass is needed, making a visual inspection of the glass an important step in ordering the correct glass.

The dealership from where you purchased your vehicle should have your VIN. This will allow them to easily notify you if there has been a factory recall related to your vehicle. This is true for any recall, whether it involves auto glass or any other vehicle part.

Windshield Glass Replacement using VIN


More Information About Auto Glass

If you’re interested in learning more about auto glass or other types of glass, you should check out the® Info Center. Need to have your vehicle’s auto glass repaired or replaced? Get a free quote from a reputable glass shop by clicking here.

Please note, this article may contain links to Amazon products. As an Amazon Associate, earns from qualifying purchases.



Jordan Scott

Jordan Scott serves as the assistant editor for USGlass magazine. She has a background as a reporter for Tennessee’s Tullahoma News and associate producer for ABC2’s “Good Morning Maryland.” Jordan studied English and international studies at Virginia Tech where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Jordan is a voracious reader and has an extensive book collection. She is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do but jokes that she has now also earned her black belt in “attempting” to go to the gym. Jordan loves to travel and learn languages. When not abroad, she enjoys exploring new restaurants in her local Washington D.C. area. Find out more about Jordan on Linkedin.

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