How To Decode A GM VIN

Your GM’s vehicle identification number (VIN) may seem like a random string of numbers and letters. It actually can tell you a lot about your vehicle, including its:

  • Year
  • Make and model
  • Trim package
  • Engine size
  • Transmission type

We have a handy tool that breaks down your GM's VIN. Do a search on your VIN, and our VIN decoder will give you as much information as possible about your vehicle.

Are you wondering what each character means in your VIN? This guide will break it down for you!

Where To Find Your VIN

It’s easy to find your GM’s VIN. It’s on your car title, insurance card, and vehicle registration. You can also find it in several spots on your car, including:

  • The dashboard on the driver’s side
  • Under the hood, in front of the engine block
  • The front end of the frame (common on older models)
  • Inside the driver’s side door sill
  • Under the spare tire
  • The vehicle’s window glass
  • On the engine block

Your car may not have the VIN in all these locations. The easiest location to see is the sticker on the drivers side door jamb. Sometime's the sticker gets damaged or worn away. If you can't read the sticker, look through the windshield at the top of the dashboard on the driver's side of the car. You’ll find a small metal plate. Stamped on that plate is the VIN.

Decoding Your GM VIN: What Each Character Stands For

GM vin decoder

Your VIN has 17 characters. Here's a breakdown of these characters:

The First 3 Characters

The first three characters will tell you who manufactured your vehicle. This set of characters is called the World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI). The first character represents the country in which the manufacturer is located. The second and third characters will tell you who the manufacturer is.

GMC's VINs always start with 1 or 3. This means that its vehicles are produced in the USA (1) or Mexico (3). The next two digits depend on your make and model. For example, if you have a GMC truck, the WMI in your VIN will read 1GT. If you have a Cadillac, the WMI in your VIN will read 1G6.

Characters 4 Through 11

The eight characters after the WMI are called the Vehicle Descriptor Section (VDS). This section specifies certain characteristics of your vehicle, such as:

  • Body style
  • Model
  • Engine type
  • Safety features
  • Trim level

Each manufacturer has its own VDS format. GM's format is as follows:

  • 4th digit: Model platform code
  • 5th digit: Model series code
  • 6th digit: Body style
  • 7th digit: Restraint type (seatbelts and airbags)
  • 8th digit: Engine type
  • 9th digit: Check digit
  • 10th digit: Model year
  • 11th digit: Factory ID

Characters 12 Through 17

The last six characters make up the Vehicle Identifier Section (VIS). It's your vehicle's unique serial number.

It Is Safe To Give Out Your VIN?

Some drivers are hesitant to give their VIN out of fear that the information would be stolen somehow. If you have these same concerns, rest assured that it’s safe to give out your VIN. No one can take any sensitive information from it and use it to steal your car. Your car’s VIN is public information. It’s laid out in plain sight on your dashboard, after all.

It’s also normal to share the VIN while selling your car. In doing so, you’re helping potential buyers learn the history of your vehicle. They can also get certain information about your vehicle from the VIN, such as the trim level.

Do you have any questions about decoding your GM’s VIN? You’re welcome to contact us here.