The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is your Toyota’s legal identifier, and is applied to your car during production.
Each VIN 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 its specification and design.
First introduced in 1954, Vehicle Identification Numbers are an important component in determining the history and identity of a vehicle, particularly when combined with the car’s DVLA licence plate and V5 or V5C documents.
While licence plates can be altered, the car’s VIN remains unchanged, and therefore is the primary identification number for your Toyota.
How to locate your Vehicle Identification Number
In most modern Toyota cars, you’ll find a visible VIN through a special cut-out at the bottom of the windscreen. Additional VINs are printed on tamper-proof stickers 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 is repeated on the vehicle’s chassis, stamped into the metal floor of the car under the right-hand (driver’s side) 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 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 Vehicle Identification Number
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, ‘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’ and ‘A’ respectively.
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 body style, engine and gearbox, while the remaining eight is a 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.