Jeep Vehicles VIN Reference Guide

Decoding Jeep VIN’s

The Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN is important for many reasons. Most of these reasons have nothing to do with us owners. But to a hardcore Jeeper the knowledge of what the VIN stands for may bring a more comprehensive understanding of your rig and/or a sense of nostalgia.

History of the Vehicle Identification Number “VIN”

In the mid 1950’s American automobile manufacturers began stamping and casting identifying numbers on cars and their parts. The vehicle identification number has become referred to as the “VIN”. The obvious purpose was to give an accurate description of the vehicle when mass production numbers were starting to climb in very significant numbers. Research has shown that early Vin’s came in all sorts of variations which depended on the individual manufacturer at that time.

In the early 1980’s the National highway Traffic Safety Administration (U.S. Dept. of Transport) required that all road vehicles must contain a 17 character VIN. This established the fixed VIN system for major vehicle manufacturers as it is known today. Thus, establishing a unique “DNA” style number for each unique vehicle which rolled off the assembly line.

The VIN has 17 characters to provide details about your Jeep. Each character represents something about your Jeep except the check digit character. This character is called a “check digit” because it is designed to protect the consumer from theft and possible fraud. The manufacturer is required to include a check digit in the ninth position by U.S. federal law. The check digit is used by the manufacturer and government agencies to verify authenticity of the vehicle and official documentation. The algorithm used to determine a check digit is not released to the public for obvious reasons, however the secret has been leaked and the check digit can be calculated.
Parts of the VIN

There are two different standards for the Vehicle Identification Number. The ISO standard, 3779, is copied by the European Union. In North America, a more stringent (but compatible) system is used.

The VIN is composed of the following sections:

Standard 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
North American Manufacturer Identifier Vehicle Attributes Check Digit Model Year Plant Code Sequential Number

Click on your Jeep model below for VIN details.

1945-1968 Jeep CJ-2A, CJ-3A, CJ-3B serial and production numbers

1955-1971 Jeep CJ-5, CJ-6, Commando, and more

1971 to 1986 Jeep CJ-5, CJ-7, Cj-8

1987 to 1995 Jeep Wrangler YJ

1997 to 2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ

1984 to 2001 Jeep Cherokee XJ

2007 to 2017 Jeep Wrangler JK