Your car or truck has a VIN number, and that’s made you curious whether your ATV has one as well. After a cursory check, you didn’t see anything, but perhaps you weren’t looking in the right place. Do ATVs come with VIN numbers?
ATVs will include Vehicle Identification Numbers or VIN numbers. The VIN for ATVs is 17 digits. Each digit provides valuable information about your vehicle, from where it’s produced to when and the type of engine and body style used in manufacturing.
If you know nothing about your ATV’s VIN number, such as what it is, where to find it, or how to make sense of it, this article is for you. Ahead, we’ll talk about VIN numbers in-depth, so make sure you keep reading!
What Is a VIN Number?
As we mentioned in the intro, if you drive almost any vehicle on four wheels, then it should have a VIN number. Even still, just to get everyone on the same page, let’s talk a bit about what a VIN number is.
VIN is short for Vehicle Identification Number, as we touched on. You may sometimes hear of a VIN number referred to as a frame number or chassis number, but not nearly as often.
Mopeds, scooters, motorcycles, towed vehicles, and motor vehicles must have a VIN number.
Every VIN is unique, although some of the numbers can overlap, such as if the vehicle was produced in the same facility as another or during the same year or manufacturing period.
The International Organization for Standardization established the requirement for VIN numbers in both ISO 3779 and ISO 4030.
Although the way the digits are organized can vary, countries and regions all over the world use VIN numbers, including South America, North America, Oceania, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Do ATVs Have VIN Numbers?
Now that you better understand what a VIN number is, let’s talk about whether ATVs use VIN numbers.
They do indeed. An ATV should have a 17-digit VIN. Yes, it’s a rather long string of numbers and letters. Believe it or not, each digit of an ATV’s VIN number does mean something.
We’ll help demystify your ATV VIN in the next section, so be sure to check that out.
While new ATV owners should learn about their VIN number, it’s more common for those in the market for a used ATV to need the VIN information.
After all, the data that’s present in a VIN can tell you quite a lot!
What Does Your ATV VIN Number Mean? Decoding Digit by Digit
Okay, as promised, we want to go through an average ATV VIN code one digit at a time to help you better understand what you’re looking at.
The first digit of your ATV VIN code might be a letter but is more than likely a number.
This digit indicates the production country. Thus, if you see a K, it means your ATV was manufactured in Korea. A J indicates the production country is Japan.
The number 2 means the ATV was made in Canada. If your ATV was produced in the United States, the digit can be a 1 or a 4. It means the same thing either way.
You know the brand of ATV you own, but the second digit of the VIN number confirms it. This digit will always be a letter, and the letter is the first letter of the manufacturer’s name. For example, a K would be short for Kawasaki while an H would be for Honda.
The third digit of your ATV VIN code tells you the manufacturing division or the type of vehicle.
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Digits
Between the fourth and eighth digits of the VIN number are the attributes of your ATV. For instance, these digits provide information on the type of engine your ATV is equipped with as well as its body type.
If you’re a little confused as to what each digit in this four-digit string means, that’s okay. You can determine the body type and engine type just by reading your owner’s manual.
The ninth digit of your ATV’s VIN code stands alone. This security digit can be a number or a letter. It’s called a check digit.
The check digit will always come about mathematically based on the four-string digits for the engine and body type of your ATV.
This is one of the most important parts of a VIN number by far, as the ninth digit can prove whether a used ATV was stolen.
The tenth digit in your VIN number is for the year your ATV was manufactured. You may see this digit as a letter or number.
How can a single number denote a four-digit year, you ask? Each letter or number is a code that represents a single manufacturing year from 1971 through 2022.
Here is a list of each code and the corresponding production year:
- 1 – 1971
- 2 – 1972
- 3 – 1973
- 4 – 1974
- 5 – 1975
- 6 – 1976
- 7 – 1977
- 8 – 1978
- 9 – 1979
- A – 1980
- B – 1981
- C – 1982
- D – 1983
- E – 1984
- F – 1985
- G – 1986
- H – 1987
- J – 1988
- K – 1989
- L – 1990
- M – 1991
- N – 1992
- P – 1993
- R – 1994
- S – 1995
- T – 1996
- V – 1997
- W – 1998
- X – 1999
- Y – 2000
- 1 – 2001
- 2 – 2002
- 3 – 2003
- 4 – 2004
- 5 – 2005
- 6 – 2006
- 7 – 2007
- 8 – 2008
- 9 – 2009
- A – 2010
- B – 2011
- C – 2012
- D – 2013
- E – 2014
- F – 2015
- G – 2016
- H – 2017
- J – 2018
- K – 2019
- L – 2020
- M – 2021
- N – 2022
As you can see, in the 50 years represented, the manufacturing year switches between digits 1 through 9 and then almost every letter in the alphabet.
Thus, the digits are the same for two years, although those years are never consecutive. They’re not even in the same decade.
For example, if your ATV has a 2 for the tenth digit of the VIN code, then the vehicle was manufactured in 1972 or 2002. You should know which decade your ATV was made, and we’d bet it’s not the 1970s!
That’s also true if your ATV reads N for this digit. You either bought your ATV brand-new in 2022 or it’s from 1992. Again, the latter is unlikely.
The eleventh digit in the VIN code is for the assembly plant.
Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Digits
Now we’re onto the last batch of digits in your ATV VIN code.
These digits will be numbers that go up incrementally depending on where your ATV was positioned on the assembly line. If it was earlier on the assembly line, then the digits will be lower.
A vehicle that was produced later on the assembly line will have higher digits.
Where to Find Your ATV VIN Number
You know what you’re looking for, but you have no idea where to find it. Where on your ATV will the VIN number be?
That varies depending on the manufacturer. Here is some information that can help you find the VIN number on your ATV.
Suzuki ATV owners should look for the VIN number on the rear side of the ATV frame. The digits will either be stamped on the center-left side or lower on the left.
If yours is a Kawasaki ATV, check your engine and look left from there. On the lower tube frame, you should see the ATV number stamped.
Do you favor Can-Am ATVs? Your VIN number can be in one of two spots. The first location is on the front wheel well on the passenger side. If not there, then check underneath the glovebox.
A popular ATV brand, Polaris ATVs often feature the VIN number on the front wheel well, usually on the left side. An alternate location for the VIN is on the rear frame on either the right or left side.
Many ATV owners prefer Yamaha. This ATV brand prints its VIN information on the left side of the front end. Look near the shift lever and possibly underneath this lever.
If you have custom skid plates, then you may have a hard time locating your Honda VIN number. The information is printed on the front cross-member, which is near the front rack.
Did you not find the VIN number in those locations? Then try checking in the opening of the ATV’s plastic hood or under the tail section frame. The left wheel is another spot where VIN numbers frequently appear.
Is the VIN number just not anywhere? The number could have faded if it wasn’t etched or stamped into a piece of metal.
Fortunately, you have options outside of your ATV for finding the VIN number. Read through your insurance paperwork or the original bill of sale. If you have the vehicle registration and/or title handy, the VIN number is usually printed in those documents as well.
ATV VIN Checks – What Can They Tell You?
The main reason to obtain an ATV VIN number is to determine if buying a used ATV is a good idea. To decide that, you usually input the VIN number in a VIN-checking service. Here’s the kind of feedback you can receive on the ATV in question.
Was the used ATV you had your eye on once a powerhouse but now no longer operates at its full potential?
Believe it or not, you can gauge this kind of data with an ATV VIN check. The check will produce information on the cables, hoses, drive train, suspension, brakes, controls, fuel system, and tires.
If the used ATV has serious performance issues, then it’s not worth your money. It’s a dud or a lemon.
ATV accidents may be rather common, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily want an ATV that has survived an accident or two.
The frame and other components could be irreparably damaged, and that’s not something you really want to deal with if you could buy an ATV in better shape.
This is by far the biggest reason why someone will pay for a VIN number check for an ATV they’re thinking about buying. They want to know if their ATV was stolen.
Someone could theoretically steal an ATV and then sell it on the marketplace as though it was any other used ATV. If you buy a stolen ATV, even without knowing that it was stolen, and the thief is caught, the police can confiscate the ATV.
After all, it doesn’t technically belong to you even though you spent money on it. Now you’re out that cash and an ATV too!
With a VIN check, you’ll know immediately if the ATV was stolen.
Finally, a VIN report can tell you what the market value is for ATVs like the one you’re going to buy.
If the seller is way overcharging for the ATV, then you don’t want to get ripped off. You should back out of the arrangement before you lose out on a lot of money.
Speaking of money, you can pay for a VIN report or order one for free. We’d recommend paying for one if you have the room in your budget.
A paid VIN number report is usually more thorough and includes a lot of great information that can help you decide whether a used ATV is right for you.
A single VIN report might cost about $25, which isn’t bad.
Vehicle identification numbers or VINs are present on your ATV to provide more information about the vehicle.
You can learn which manufacturer produced the ATV, where it happened, and when it happened. You can even gauge where on the production line your ATV was all based on the 17 digits in the VIN number.
Much more importantly, VIN numbers can indicate whether a used ATV was involved in accidents, has experienced performance losses, or was stolen. If you’re going to buy a used ATV, then a VIN report is a must!