What is a VIN Number?

Thursday, 14 May 2020  |  Katie

What is a VIN?

The Vehicle Identification Number, (VIN or VIN number) which can also be indicated as the serial number or CRIS number, is a 17 digit code unique to every vehicle. It can be used to track the vehicle, warranty checks, and give important information about your vehicle specifications.

VIN Numbers are found in different areas depending on the vehicle type and can sometimes be a nightmare to find! below I have gone over where you might find them depending on the vehicle type. 

Where Can I Find The VIN Number?


The VIN number can be found in your caravan or motorhome log book or registration documentation but if you have lost all these documents or bought a second hand caravan its good to know where else to find it.

The VIN number on a caravan can easily be found etched on to the windows as the picture below shows.


The VIN number might also be found on the caravans information plate which is normally found on the exterior of the caravan somewhere.

Motorhomes and RVs

There are multiple places to find the VIN number on a motorhome. It is usually located somewhere near the driver seat e.g. in the windscreen, on a sticker near the cab or under the bonnet. It will be on a fixed feature of the vehicle. This information should also be found on registration documentation and the vehicle log book.

What is it used for?

The digits within the VIN number gives you specific information about your vehicle:

  • first two characters: Country of manufacture
  • 3rd character: Make of Vehicle
  • 4th character: axle specification
  • 5th 6th and 7th character: optional manufacturer information
  • 8th and 9th character: Manufacturer information
  • 10th character: year of model (run from 1st September to 31st August the following year)
  • 11th-17th character: serial number

Manufacturer codes:

AD = Adria
AV = Avondale
BE = Bessacarr (later Bessacarr were built by Swift so will carry the SW code)
BU = Buccaneer (later Buccaneer were build Explorer Group so will carry code EX)
BY = Bailey
CL = Carlight
CM = Coachman
CP = Compass (may carry EX code in some circumstances as were built by Explorer Group)
CS = Cosalt (later Abbey’s were built by Swift and so will carry SW code)
CU = Sprite (later Sprite’s were built by Swift and so will carry SW code)
EL = Elddis (may carry the EX code for earlier model before Explorer Group re-branded to Elidds)
EX = Explorer Group (now known as Elddis)
FL = Fleetwood
LU = Lunar
SW = Swift Group

Build year codes:

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

Here are some useful links to help decode your VIN!

This is a really helpful decode generator for your personal caravan VIN number which I found super useful: http://www.caravanvindecoder.com/

This one is a link to decode your motorhome or RV VIN number https://www.faxvin.com/vin-decoder/rv-motorhome

If you have any questions or comments then please let me know by commenting below, I hope this blog has been useful to you!