How to Understand a Toyota VIN Number
A VIN, or vehicle identification number, is a unique identifier assigned to each car for identification and tracking purposes. The VIN consists of 17 characters, both alpha and numeric, that are assigned based upon the attributes of the particular car. These characters comply with the standards set forth by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Understanding a Toyota VIN requires learning what each group of letters or numbers represents.
Locate the VIN plate, which is attached to the left side of the instrument panel on Toyota vehicles. The plate is visible by looking through the windshield from the outside. The VIN also can be found on the Certification Label attached to the left door pillar.
Find the first three digits. These are the World Manufacturer Identification number. For Toyota cars manufactured by New United Motor Manufacturing in California, the identification code is 1NX. For vehicles assembled by Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Canada, the code is 2T1.
Locate the next five digits, which provide the vehicle description. For Toyotas, the fourth digit is the engine type and the fifth digit is the product line (such as Corolla or Camry). The sixth digit is the model designation and the seventh digit is the series or grade (such as LE, STD, or DX). Finally, the eighth digit represents the body type and restraint system. For example, the letter B represents a 4-door sedan with manual belts and air bags.
Identify the next three digits. They are the production numbers. On Toyota cars, the ninth digit is known as the check digit, which is used for VIN validation. The tenth digit is a letter that represents a vehicle model year (for example 1997 Toyota cars use the letter U as the code). The eleventh digit represents the plant where the car was manufactured.
Find the remaining six digits. These digits are the vehicle's serial number, which is used to provide a unique identifier for each vehicle produced. These numbers are assigned sequentially based upon the order of production for vehicles of the same type.