Do You Want to Become a Collision Estimator Online? Find Out What You Need to Know About VINs!

On a day-to-day basis, collision estimators, also known as auto body estimators, will be responsible for a variety of tasks. As a collision estimator, it’s necessary to have certain skills and knowledge in order to do complete inspections and understand what kinds of repairs need to be done after a collision has occurred. 

In other words, even though you might not work on the cars, you still have to know how cars work! Professional training through an online course can help you get there and when you’re done, you could work for a shop doing estimates, an insurance company, or even have the option of starting your own business. 

Keep reading to learn more about one of the fundamentals of collision work, VINs.

What is a VIN? 

The acronym stands for Vehicle Identification Number, and it serves a similar function to the serial number on other consumer products. The VIN is important because it is a unique number that lets a collision estimator and other automotive professionals track a specific vehicle. In a way, it’s a code.

How to Read a VIN

The VIN consists of 17 numbers and capital letters. Each one provides information about the vehicle. The first three characters are the World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI). Cars made in Canada begin with “2,” and the letters that follow represent the manufacturer. “C” is for Chrysler, for example. 

The next 5 characters are the vehicle descriptor, which gives you the model type, body type, transmission and engine information.

The ninth digit is called a check digit and it is a security feature. The manufacturer includes this number to verify the entire VIN is real.

Cars get their VINs on the assembly line in the plant where they’re manufactured

The last part of the VIN is called the vehicle identification section and it identifies the model year, the plant code, and the production number, which each vehicle gets in sequential order as it is produced in the factory.

Where to Find a Vehicle’s VIN 

The VIN may be on the dashboard of a vehicle, on the driver’s side. You should be able to see it through the windshield. If it is not there, the next place to check is on the driver’s side door jam. It may have a barcode along with the number, and it should also be recorded on the car’s insurance card and any records of sale.

Why the VIN is Essential for Collision Estimator Work 

The VIN is important for several reasons. In the case of exceptional circumstances, such as theft or recalls, the VIN is extremely important to legal proceedings, and keeping owners safe. As a graduate of an auto training centre with a specialization in auto body estimation, the VIN is integral to your work. 

VINs give you crucial information to providing accurate estimates

Shops need to keep track of the vehicles they repair, as there are multiples of the same models out on the road all the time. Also, there can be big differences in repairs depending on the year of the vehicle, which is essential information needed to complete inspections and estimates. The VIN will also let you find out if the car has all its original parts, how many times it’s been sold, and what work has been done on it in the past. 

Overall, the VIN will allow you to do your work with precision and accuracy because you’ll have all the necessary information. 

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