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What's in the Vehicle Identification Number?


VIN Decoding 101: Part 2

What's in the VIN?

This post has been republished with updates since its original publish date in November 2011

As we discussed in the preceding article, What is a VIN, there are two ISO documents that established the 17 digit VIN standard and the WMI section of the VIN. However, these documents were only recommendations. The VIN standard created by the NHTSA and enforced starting with the model year (MY) 1981, was required of all vehicles manufactured for use in the US and was much more stringent in its requirements.

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Topics: VIN


How to Increase Fleet Management Efficiency with VIN Decoding


In a previous blog article, we highlighted a few ways in which a VIN decoder can add value to fleet management software. So, we thought it'd be helpful to have a fleet management software provider offer further insight on the subject. 

In this guest post, Lori Higdon from Fleetio has taken a deeper dive into how VIN decoding can increase the efficiency of fleet management. Without further ado:

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Topics: VIN, Fleet Management


5 Reasons Why a Basic VIN Decoder Won't Cut It for Your Auto Service Business


Every vehicle service business needs a VIN decoding solution. Whether you are a dealer service department, independent garage, or auto body shop, the ability to identify vehicle details, specs, and compatible parts is necessary for an effective and efficient business. There are several VIN decoders to choose from, however, some are far more basic than others. 

Though it may be tempting to choose the less expensive, or free, VIN decoding option, keep in mind that there may be a reason why it's so inexpensive. In this article, we've highlighted five reasons why a basic VIN decoder simply will not cut it for your auto service business and will leave you needing more.  

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Topics: VIN, Parts & Services, 3rd Party Mapping


8 Reasons Why Your VIN Won't Decode


This post has been republished with updates since its original publish date in March 2012

You've tried to decode a VIN, or a handful of VINs, but for whatever reason you keep getting an invalid VIN message. This can be extremely frustrating, especially if you have no idea what might be causing the failed decode(s). There are quite a few reasons why a VIN won't decode.

If you're having trouble decoding vehicles in your inventory, consider this list of errors and challenges commonly faced when working with Vehicle Identification Numbers.

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Topics: Automotive Data, VIN


5 Advantages of VIN Lookup Over Year Make Model Search


VIN lookup and Year Make Model (YMM) search are both valuable tools for the auto industry. There's a good chance you are already using these search tools internally for business processes, externally for consumers, or even for both purposes.

Though YMM is a great way to conduct a vehicle search --especially if the VIN is not available-- there is much more room for imprecise vehicle details without VIN lookup. And in some cases, YMM search simply cannot give you or your consumers the information needed.

In this article, we've highlighted five advantages VIN lookup offers over YMM search.   

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Topics: Vehicle, VIN, Vehicle Equipment


VIN Decoding "Off-Road" Vehicles


This post has been republished with updates since its original publish date in April 2012

The NHTSA standard for VIN assignment is applied to all motorized vehicles, motorcycles, and trailers that travel on the roads, streets and highways of the US.  However, the NHTSA has no jurisdiction over recreational vehicles not intended to ever be driven on a street or highway.

These "off-road" recreational vehicles are hugely popular and account for millions of purchases and tens of millions of vehicles in use in the US every year. As a result, there is a need to decode and identify these vehicles for initial sales and marketing efforts, resale, registration, insurance, and taxation.  

Are these vehicles able to be VIN decoded using the same principles and decoders used for light-duty and passenger vehicles? The answer is a solid... maybe.

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Topics: Auto Portals, Automotive Data, Vehicle, VIN


The Pros and Cons of a Single-Trim Vehicle Strategy


If you've seen Scion's latest ad campaign for the iA and iM featuring James Franco, Jaleel White and Car Dealership Tubeman, then you may have noticed that they are really pushing their business model of a single-trim approach. The campaign's tagline states, "standard features that actually come standard." With Scion, there is no such thing as à la carte -- except for a few accessory add-ons -- and it's been that way since they started in 2003. 

Why is it that just Scion limits all of their vehicle models to a single trim and standard equipment? Could this strategy work for other manufacturers (OEMs)?

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Topics: VIN, Vehicle Equipment


4 Benefits of Adding a VIN Decoder to Your Fleet Management Software


You've built a solution that helps many companies better manage their fleet. Your customers can easily keep up with their vehicle maintenance, title renewals, and insurance policies -- among other tasks. They are even finding ways to increase fuel efficiency with your telematics reporting feature. So what else does your software need?

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Topics: VIN, Fleet Management


Identify Vehicle Specs by VIN Decoding


This post has been republished with updates since its original publish date in July 2013

Identifying vehicle specifications is necessary for many businesses in the automotive and allied industries. Some of these specifications might include vehicle weights, dimensions, MSRP, or certain features of a given vehicle. However, scanning through OEM websites, dealer websites, vehicle manuals, or various other resources often involve more effort than time allows.

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Topics: Logistics, VIN, Parts & Services, Vehicle Equipment


VIN Decoder, VIN Check & Vehicle History Reports: How Do They Differ?


Is there a difference between a VIN decoder and a VIN Check? What information is available from decoding a VIN number? Does a VIN check provide vehicle history data? All of these are valid questions that many consumers and even automotive industry professionals are unsure about.

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Topics: Automotive Data, VIN, Vehicle Equipment, 3rd Party Mapping