Monday, December 17, 2012

Where's my VIN?

Did you ever wonder where to find the VIN number on your ATV?  You would be surprised how many times a day we get this question.  If you aren’t the original owner of your ATV, it’s always a good idea to check the VIN number to be sure you know exactly what make and model you have.  Knowing this will help you avoid the many headaches of finding and ordering the correct parts.  Believe me; your rebuild project will go much smoother and faster once you’ve figured this out!

Not all manufacturers put their VIN numbers in the same place.  However, it is usually stamped on the frame under the motor somewhere, usually on the left hand side.  Don’t confuse this with the number that is stamped on the motor, that’s the motor serial number, not the VIN number.  If the VIN number isn’t on the frame rail under the motor it could be somewhere else on the frame.  It could be attached as a metal plate, it could be a sticker.  Other places to look on the frame are near the a-arm mounts, around the top of the steering shaft or behind the air filter housing.  It could also be on the rail behind the brush guard or on the swingarm bearing tube.  If you are patient and thorough you will find it eventually.  Most importantly– it must have 17 characters.  If it has 17 characters you’ve found it!

The position of each letter and/or number in the VIN code reveals important information about where and when your ATV was made, the type of engine it has, the model or series of ATV, various equipment/attributes and its production sequence.

Here is a general breakdown of what your ATV VINs number means:

- 1st digit: represents the country in which it was made. 1 or 4 is for the U.S., 2 is for Canada, J is for Japan, K is for Korea etc.

- 2nd digit: represents the manufacturer. H is for Honda, K is for Kawasaki etc.

- 3rd digit: this position represents the vehicle type or manufacturing division which can vary by make of vehicle.

- 4th to 8th digits: these positions represent vehicle attributes such as body style and engine type (not to be confused with an engine code, every vehicle has one of those mounted on the engine).

- 9th digit: this is called a “check digit” and it exists for security reasons. This letter or number is derived mathematically depending on the previous 8 digits. It’s used to confirm that a VIN isn’t being fabricated.

- 10th digit: The vehicle year.

 - 11th digit: Assembly plant

- 12th to 17th digits: These ATV VIN numbers increase by one for each unit that rolls off the assembly line; the last four are always digits.

So, once you’ve figured out what you’ve got you can easily figure out what you need!  Of course, there are numerous free VIN Decoders on line.  Here are just a few…

Kawasaki VIN Decoder for ATVs and motorcycles

Honda VIN Decoder for ATVs and motorcycles

Yamaha VIN Decoder for ATVs and motorcycles

Suzuki VIN Decoder for ATVs and motorcycles