Consumer automobiles have only existed for about a century. Over a million Hondas sell every year in the United States alone but VINs didn't exist until 1954. Over the next 30 years, more and more manufacturers adopted VINs on their vehicles. In 1981, the US government established the modern 17-character VIN which specifically identifies the vehicle's model and style. Nearly 40 years later, the entire world uses the same VIN system. If you're looking to order genuine Honda OEM parts online, it's important to use a Honda VIN Lookup to make sure you get the right ones. You can enter your VIN on our homepage before ordering your parts and accessories to ensure proper fitment.
How Honda VINs are assigned
Like every other vehicle on the road, every Honda is designated with a 17-character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). While a VIN can seem like a long string of gibberish characters, each of the positions in the code means something particular. No two vehicles have the same VIN, but similar models can be close. Here's what each position in the VIN means:
- First position: Region of Origin. If your VIN begins with A-H, the vehicle was produced in Africa. J-R, Asia. S-Z, Europe. In some cases, the first character will be a number. If it's 1-5, the car was produced in North America. 6-7, Oceana. 8-9, South America. An interesting note is that the first character of the VIN can't be the letter I or the letter O, due to potential confusion with the numbers 1 and 0.
- Second position: Country of Origin and Manufacturer. In conjunction with the first character of the VIN, this will tell you the country where your vehicle was made and by whom. Because nearly 100 countries produce major vehicle makes, the second character relies on the first to specify the country. It's not possible to list them all here, but you can find out where your car was made with a Honda VIN Checker.
- Third position: The third character of the VIN can designate if the vehicle is a car or truck, but some companies also use it to specify a specific division of their manufacturing plants.
The first three characters of the VIN make up the World Manufacturer Identifier, or WMI. For example, a Honda motorcycle produced in Japan will start with JH2. Meanwhile, a Honda truck from Japan will begin with JH1.
The Vehicle Descriptor Section
The next five characters in the VIN describe the vehicle itself. This varies by manufacturer and model but will cover things like transmission, specs, doors, style, etc. The final character of this section is character 9, which functions as a "check digit". The check digit ensures that the VIN is legitimate. Similar to the final portion of a barcode, the check digit totals up what's come before it and assigns itself a value accordingly. This helps to avoid counterfeit vehicles or fraudulent VINs.
- Characters 4-9 of the VIN are the Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS). Up through the 9th character, vehicles with exactly the same specs will be identical. Beginning with Position 11, each car is differentiated with unique codes. However, position 10 begins the next section and it also has the potential to duplicate.
- Position 10: Model Year. This isn't necessarily the year the car was produced. Many manufacturers, including Honda, will begin production of the next year's model in the year prior. Because VINs are a fairly recent invention, the model year only begins in 1980 with "A". The alphabet continues through Y at the year 2000. Letters I, O, Q, U, and Z aren't used due to potential confusion with other letters or numbers.
At model year 2001 the system switches over to numbers. 2001 is 1, 2002 is 2, all the way to 2009 = 9. In 2010, VINs switch back to A and run the alphabet again through 2030. 2031 begins with 1 again. While there is some potential for confusion here, a 2029 car should be distinct enough compared to one from 1999. One interesting note is that according to the United States federal VIN guidelines, every single vehicle doesn't have to have a unique VIN. The law currently only covers vehicles between 1980 and 2040. It's likely that the law will change in the next 20 years but it's worth noting that VIN reuse is possible in the distant future.
The remaining 7 characters of the VIN code are the Vehicle Identifier Section, or VIS. This section is left to the discretion of the manufacturer, but each vehicle must be unique. In North America-produced cars, the final 5 characters have to be numeric. Each manufacturer sets their VIS differently and the best way to find out what yours means is to check the VIN using our free Honda VIN Decoder.
Why your VIN is necessary when ordering OEM Honda replacement parts & accessories
If you're looking to purchase OEM replacement parts for your Honda Accord, Civic, Pilot or CR-V, it's critical to ensure that you're selecting the correct parts for your exact model. Using a VIN decoder will make sure that the parts your order are compatible with your model and year. Plus, have you ever been curious about where your car was made? Hondas are produced in Japan, the US, China, India, Thailand, Argentina, and even more countries. Learning to decode a Honda VIN or using the online tool will let you know if your vehicle was manufactured in one of the many plants in Asia or somewhere closer to home.
The automotive industry is a global one, and every country where vehicles are produced or sold has its own VIN guidelines. While most countries follow similar processes in assigning VIN numbers, it's difficult to be entirely sure what each one means without using a VIN Decoder. The full text of the United States' VIN requirements are here. As you can see, it's quite a handful. Using a VIN Decoder is a great way to learn about your Honda vehicle and ensure you're ordering the correct parts. For more information about VIN Decoders or how to order the correct Honda parts and accessories in general, feel free to contact us today!