The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is your vehicle’s legal identifier, and is applied to your car at the moment it enters production.
Each VIN number is unique, and is usually a 17 character code made up of letters and numbers, and reveals important details about your vehicle.
As well as containing information on the time and place of your car’s creation, it also contains information about the car’s specification and design.
First introduced in 1954, VIN numbers are an important component in determining the history and identity of a vehicle – particularly when combined with the car’s DVLA license plate and V5 or V5C documents.
While license plates can be changed, or personalised, the car’s VIN number remains unchanged, and is best thought of as the primary identification number for your Toyota.
In most modern Toyota cars, including the Aygo and British built Auris and Avensis you’ll find the VIN number referenced on a tamper proof sticker located just inside the shut line of the front left hand (passenger side) door.
Earlier models may have a metal plate, instead of a sticker.
The VIN number is repeated on the vehicles chassis, and is stamped into the metal floor of the car, under the right hand front seat.
It’s usually visible through a small flap, deliberately cut into the vehicle’s carpet.
Of course, there are some important exceptions to the rule…
These include the four-door Hilux pick-up – in which the tamper proof sticker is to be found mounted just inside the left rear door, and the five-door Aygo – in which it is also mounted just inside the left rear door.
Decoding your VIN number is simple.
Although there are exceptions to the rule, the first three digits usually refer to the country of manufacture, the vehicle maker and the vehicle type.
For example, if you check the first letter of the code, you’ll see J references Japan, S references England, while V identifies France. Turkey gets an N, while Thailand and South Africa (where some of our Hilux vehicles are produced) get an M or an A.
The second letter is usually T, which describes Toyota, the third describes which group of cars (or sometimes which chassis type) the vehicle sits on.
The next six numbers reference the car’s bodystyle and engine and gearbox, while the remaining eight are combination unique to the car, listing the year the car was made, the factory it was produced in and where it came in the production process.