Until 1981, auto manufacturers didn’t use a standard format for VIN numbers. Before this, manufacturers used a variety of formats, from 5 to 13 digits, and there was no way to decode VIN numbers to determine what year a vehicle was manufactured.
- VIN numbers were standardized in 1981, and they can be decoded to determine a wealth of information.
- The tenth digit in the VIN is a code for the year a vehicle was manufactured. You can decipher the year of a vehicle by referring to the VIN year codes.
Which Number on a VIN code is the Year?
The tenth character in the VIN sequence, which encodes the model year, can be either a number or a letter. Some letters aren’t included in the following code table because VINs don’t use the letters I, O, Q, U, and Z, as they can be easily confused with numbers.
Model Year Code Table
Manufacturers in the US began using VIN numbers in 1954. Each manufacturer used its own format until VINs were standardized in 1981, which is why year code tables for VINs start with that year.
Use a VIN Decoder to Learn More
It’s easy to find the model year in a VIN, and there’s more information available when you use a decoder to decipher a VIN. Check out these top VIN decoders that we’ve reviewed to learn more.