How to Get Factory Information on a Used Car

1.

Write down the VIN of the used car in question. Two of the most common places to find the VIN is along the inside edge of the driver's-side door or near the battery under the hood. The VIN will be an alpha-numeric combination.

2.

Check the first character in the VIN code. This number represents the country of origin. U.S.-made vehicles, for example, will start with either a "1" or a "4"; a Japanese vehicle's VIN starts with a J. As a rule, U.S.-made cars start with a number and foreign cars start with letters in their VINs.

3.

Move down to the 11th character in the VIN code. This represents the factory of origin where the car was made and assembled. Combine this with the second character in the VIN code to get the maker of the car as well. Examples are "A" for Audi and "G" for General Motors.

4.

Enter the VIN into an online VIN decoder (see Resources) or at Carfax to get further factory information on the auto in question.

Buying a used car is risky. You don't know much about the history of the car, where it was made or even what factory's assembly line the car came off of. With the vehicle identification number (VIN), however, you have the car's code. Often referred to as the auto's DNA, the VIN offers valuable information, including the factory where it was produced.