Engine number: where it is located, how it stands for

Why it might be needed

Abroad, the engine model by VIN code has never been considered important. In the West, the engine is a replaceable part, so its number is used only for maintenance. It is not included in documents and is mainly of interest only to car service specialists.

In Russia and the countries of the former CIS, until 2011, information about the power plant allowed the inspection to identify entire fraudulent schemes. In our country, the engine identifier was necessarily entered into the PTS. Along with the body model, it was used to identify vehicles. This made it easier to investigate cases of theft. In addition, if the engine and body codes did not match, one could judge that the design of the car had changed.

In 2011, they tried to improve the situation with unit numbers by adopting Western experience, that is, the VIN ceases to play an important role, and its entry in the registration papers is canceled. Now the traffic police cannot refuse the owner to register a technical vehicle due to the absence or even mismatch of the VIN code.

What did it give? In the Moscow region alone, a large number of refusals were registered when attempting to register a car without an engine number. And one can only imagine what traffic police officers did in remote areas of our country. The problem of unit numbers has become one of the most confusing and complex situations. As always, the best practices of Western countries were aggravated by two common legal blunders in our country: the tendency of the executive branch to interpret new legislation in its own way, vaguely and ambiguously, and a strong exaggeration by the masses of the permitted provisions.

The abolition of the mandatory reconciliation of unit numbers immediately solved the problems for owners of cars with unreadable wine, of which, according to former official Shevtsov, there were almost 95%. But on the other hand, this same provision simplified the registration procedure and activated shadow and fraudulent schemes for the sale of contract engines.

Therefore, in 2013, by the next order of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the previous wording about the unnecessaryness of reconciling the number was canceled. Now it has been clearly stated that the inspector has the right to completely refuse registration if the body number and internal combustion engine number differ.

Therefore, today it is important that the internal combustion engine matches the original car model. The following data must be encrypted in the VIN code:

  • year of issue;
  • body number;
  • engine data;
  • information about the car model, manufacturer and exporting country.

The engine code is required not only to simplify various legal procedures related to the traffic police. At the first breakdown of a used car, there will be a need to select original parts. Without knowing the engine model, this will be extremely difficult to do.

Thus, the owner needs engine marking in order to:

  • determine the “cleanliness” of the car;
  • find out the actual power of the internal combustion engine, modification and other technical information.

And also in order to avoid problems with the traffic police during re-registration.

How to get powertrain data from the VIN code

Since the model and engine number are encrypted in one character, it will not be possible to simply read the data. To do this, you need to have reference information related to a specific brand of car, or use the services of specialists. There are several ways to decipher the code:

  • online on special portals;
  • at the traffic police department;
  • at the service center.

Online services

You can find out the engine model by VIN code online on special websites or on the portals of companies that sell spare parts. On many pages the service is provided free of charge (but sometimes registration may be required).

VIN code of Volkswagen Passat.

An example of the results of a request for the VIN code indicated in the photo above on the website autobius.ru:

  • manufacturer - Volkswagen Group Of America;
  • country of origin - Germany;
  • launched on the market - Europe;
  • brand - Volkswagen;
  • model - Passat;
  • year of production - 2003;
  • ICE type - gasoline;
  • volume - 2;
  • power - 115;
  • gearbox - automatic;
  • vehicle type - Passenger Car.

To obtain a VIN decoding on autobius.ru, registration is not required.

How to find out the engine number by VIN code on exist.ru:

  1. Register on the portal.
  2. Go to the “request by VIN code” section.
  3. Enter the characters in the appropriate field.
  4. Open the "Additional Information" tab.

Information about the engine found by VIN on the exist.ru portal.

Request to the traffic police

The most effective way to find out the engine model by VIN code is to contact the traffic police. The data check will take up to two weeks and you will have to provide a package of documents to the department, but you will receive complete information about the car and its power unit.

At the service center

At a specialized service station you can also find out the serial number and engine model using VIN. The center's staff will decipher the VIN code using reference books and databases, and provide the car owner with all the necessary information. The cost of the service depends on the complexity of the task, the region and the company itself: for the service, the car owner will have to pay from 500 rubles to several thousand.

What the code looks like

The accessory number looks different depending on the specific car manufacturer. For example, the famous German concern Mercedes-Benz writes a code starting with the letters OM and the following three numbers. Volkswagen does the same, but instead of the letters OM it indicates EA.

The engine number can be other alphanumeric or simply digital indices. First, the year of manufacture is indicated, then the modification of the engine and at the end - data on climate adaptation.

Aggregate identifier VAZ 2112

Information about the engine is placed in the VIN - this is the serial code of the vehicle, which carries information about all components. Vin requires detailed decoding.

Interesting. On VAZ models before 1987, unit numbers containing a letter of the Latin alphabet were indicated, which indicated the year of manufacture. However, after claims from Europeans who confused the Latin alphabet with a modification of the main engine, on export analogues of the Zhiguli, the engine code contained only numbers. But for the domestic market, the so-called “letter” engines were still produced for some time.

What engine numbers can tell us

By the engine number you can find out its year of manufacture, power, queue on the assembly line, etc.


Until 1987, all VAZ engines contained a letter of the Latin alphabet indicating the year of manufacture of the engine, but after 1987 this engine marking had to be changed slightly.

The thing is that the Europeans persistently asked to remove the letters of the Latin alphabet from the designation of the car’s engine number. European colleagues deciphered this letter as a modification of the main engine. Thus, engines produced for export were without a letter designation.

After 1987, due to the fact that AvtoVAZ did not have a distinction between the domestic and foreign markets, it was decided to completely eliminate the letter designation; nevertheless, in small batches, “letter” engines were still produced for the domestic market. If letters are present on the engine, this does not mean that it is very old and was produced before 1987.

So, let's take a closer look at the letters in the engine:

  • A – denotes engines manufactured in 1980.
  • Latin letter Y - engines produced in 2000.

More details below:


According to information for 1987, the engine number consisted of seven characters, which indicated its serial number. So, the first motor was designated 0000001, the second – 0000002, and so on. This designation was simple and concise, if not for one “But”. After producing 10 million engines, the problem became what to do next. Change equipment or re-label?

It was expensive to change equipment, so the transition to an eight-digit number did not happen. Engine markings were started anew.

So how to distinguish an old engine from a new one? Easily! You need to look at the casting date of the cylinder block, which is also located on the engine, mainly on the right side.

It looks something like this:

F VAZ 06 10 82 K 2103

  • F (A, B, C, D, H) – equipment used for the manufacture of engines;
  • VAZ – engine manufacturing plant;
  • 06 10 82 — date of manufacture of the cylinder block;
  • (K, N) – code of the brigade that manufactured and assembled this power unit;
  • 2103 – designation of the cylinder block model.


The table below is simply provided for clarification. In it you can see all types of engine letter designations. The number, like on AvtoVAZ, is the serial number of the engine. (In the table, the letters B and D indicate the type of fuel for the engine. In this case, B is gasoline, D is diesel).


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Engines of this brand probably have the best engine markings. The number here can tell you almost everything about the engine:

  • At the very beginning, that is, before the dash, there is usually a first number that determines the serial number of the motor in the series.
  • After the number there is a letter that indicates the series of engines itself and is the main one in the name of the engine, since all the engines in the series are very similar in design and are actually the same engines, but with different volumes, methods of supplying the working mixture and, often , different years of production.
  • Since 1990, the series of motors began to use 2 letters for the name of the series. Please note that the year the motor was manufactured and the year the series began production are different things.
  • The letters that appear after the dash in the engine marking tell about the features of a particular engine. So, the first letter that appears after the dash indicates the design features of the engine as such, or rather the features of the cylinder head and possible engine boost.
  • The Latin letter F means that the engine is of standard power, that is, not forced, and has 4 valves per cylinder. A standard power range engine, by Toyota standards, is a motor in which only one camshaft is driven by a timing chain or belt, which in turn is driven by the crankshaft. The second camshaft is driven from the first through a gear.
  • The letter G in the engine marking indicates that this power unit is of increased power, i.e. forced. What does it mean? Firstly, like on class F engines there are 4 valves per cylinder, but unlike them, where the second camshaft is driven by the first, here both camshafts are driven by a chain or timing belt. All engines of this designation are exclusively gasoline, often with turbocharging, as well as an electronic ignition system.
  • These motors (F and G) may belong to the same series, but their difference lies in the BC head and other less significant elements. At the same time, the basis for engines of this type is often the same.
  • If these letters are not in the name, this means that the engine has two valves per cylinder and, accordingly, one camshaft.
  • If the engine has four valves per cylinder, then in the engine marking the second letter after the dash will be a letter carrying auxiliary information about the engine itself. In a regular engine, where there are only two valves per cylinder, it will be the first after the dash.
  • T – engine with a mechanical supercharger, turbocharging.
  • S – direct fuel injection into the combustion chamber.
  • X is a hybrid designed to run on electricity and gasoline (diesel).
  • R – motor designed specifically for liquefied gas (propane or other flammable gases).
  • H – EFI-D – special fuel supply system.
  • Z – equipped with Super Charger.
  • The very last character in the number indicates the type of fuel supplied to the cylinders. This letter, of course, can also appear first after the dash if the first 2 are missing.
  • E – engine with multi-point electronic injection.
  • i - standard, with single-point electronic injection.
  • V – Common Rail fuel supply system (diesel power units only).
  • In old gasoline engines, before 1988, the letters L and U were also found.

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Where is the car engine number located?

Finding the engine number can take a lot of time, especially on foreign cars. Due to the fact that Western concerns do not attach much importance to the VIN, it can be placed in various places, including those not protected from external negative influences. Therefore, often the aggregate identifier fades or disappears completely under the influence of precipitation.

On the engine itself

There are several common areas on the engine where the engine number is located:

  • in the most visible place of the power plant - its upper part;
  • on or near the cylinder block;
  • on the left side of the unit;
  • on the hole for the oil level dipstick;
  • on the air intake;
  • on the intake manifold;
  • on the coolant radiator pipe;
  • on the eye of the engine suspension;
  • at the point of contact between the internal combustion engine and the gearbox.

The identifier is simply stamped by the manufacturer on a certain part of the engine, without a plate. Over time, such a code quickly fades, fades, and it can be very difficult to distinguish the numbers on it. For an effective search, it is recommended to organize preparatory activities - arm yourself with a flashlight, rust remover, and gloves. In some cases, you may need a mirror on the handle to be able to read the inscription marked on the reverse sides of the internal combustion engine.

On the plate under the hood

Some automakers additionally indicate the unit identifier on a metal plate, which is fixed with rivets or soldered under the hood of the car. For example, Volkswagen does this on the panel above the radiator. On some modifications of Audi and Volkswagen, the code plate is located on the engine valve cover or cylinder head.

Mercedes-Benz wine plate

Also, the identifier, in addition to the hood, can be located in an aluminum VIN plate knocked out inside the glove compartment, on the doorway, timing belt cover and other places.

How to find out the car engine model yourself?

Most car owners do not think about modifying the engine of their car until problems arise or it fails. When selecting a contract engine or spare parts for it, it is very important to determine the car engine model; otherwise, there is a risk of purchasing unnecessary or unnecessary spare parts. Moreover, knowing the engine model, you have the opportunity to determine the operating methods and choose the right consumables for it. Knowing how to determine the engine model is quite important. There are different ways to do this. However, it is worth noting in advance that depending on the manufacturer, the definition of the motor model may differ.

1) First option. Stickers on the cylinder head

The easiest and most affordable way. It consists of a superficial inspection of the engine in order to detect branded stickers indicating the model and number

, usually located on the valve cover of the internal combustion engine (you need to open the hood and look at the engine). Quite often, a special sticker with this information is applied to the engine. For example, the SsangYong company applies a special code to engines indicating the model and serial number, which usually starts with the numbers 661 920, 662 920, 662 925, etc. The same is true with Hyundai-Kia Motors engines, whose internal combustion engine model and serial number are indicated by letters and numbers. However, the material on which the information is applied has a certain lifespan; it can also be erased or simply unreadable. In this case, there are alternative ways to identify the internal combustion engine.

SsangYong engines

Hyundai-Kia engines

2) Second method. On the block

Mandatory for all internal combustion engines with a transparent history is the presence of a specially engraved serial number

, next to which the engine model is also indicated.
Most often, this information is applied to a specially prepared area located on the unit block
(Left, right, front side of the engine or above the gearbox mount).

Kia Carnival 2.9 J3

Hyundai Galloper 2.5 D4BF

As a rule, the first 4 - 6 characters are letters or numbers. They designate and indicate the engine modification and serial number. Please note that some manufacturers encrypt certain information about the unit in the serial number.

3) Third method. By PTS and VinCode

You can also independently determine the engine model using the VIN code. This is the serial number of the car which carries basic information about it. This code is required by each manufacturer. Not only at the service station can the master decipher it, but also you, using special services on the Internet. Therefore, use a search on special resources on the Internet or a specialized reference manual for the operation of your car.

The modification of the internal combustion engine is indicated in the vehicle's PTS in paragraph 6. In the event that the engine was changed to another model, and no changes were made, this information will not correspond to reality. In any case, it will never be superfluous to compare what is indicated on the block and in the documents.

VIN Code and Engine Model

Additional methods

It is worth noting that it is not always possible to find out the engine model by VIN. For example, if there could be an error hidden in the information base of the manufacturer's plant, as well as a human error.


If you have doubts about the engine when purchasing a car, you can send the car for diagnostics to the MREO. A full technical study will be carried out there and based on this the engine number will be identified. If you have the opportunity to spend several days, then this method is suitable for you.

Of course, even in MREO there is a possibility that it will not be possible to determine the engine model. Sometimes it happens that the capabilities of this diagnostic are simply not enough.

Specialized service station

If the MREO fails to determine the engine, you may need to go to a specialist. center. Specialists, using the necessary literature and catalogs, as well as their experience, will determine the model of your power unit. The cost of such a service on average ranges from 500 rubles to 2500.


In many cases, you can determine the engine model yourself without spending time or money. It will be useful to know your engine model, it will greatly help in maintaining your car. Also, identifying the engine model will help you save a lot on purchasing the right components and consumables.

Explanation of the designation

The number is deciphered according to the international standard ISO 3779. Each VIN symbol symbolizes a specific characteristic of the car. Determining car parameters by VIN code is easy and simple.


Occupies 1-3 positions in the general VIN code. Indicates the world manufacturer index. Under the first sign there is often an indication of the country, under the second – the automaker and under the third sign – a division or branch of the company. Examples of WMI decryption are given in the table below.


A symbol describing the engine model and other characteristics of the vehicle. Occupies position 4-9 in VIN, consists of 6 characters. Japanese and American manufacturers almost always indicate a control mark in the last position of the code, confirming the authenticity of the marking.


Index part, the last combination of numbers and letters. Here the manufacturer marks the model year, assembly site, and serial number of the vehicle.

An easy way to determine engine type

Is it possible to determine the car engine model without wasting time? The first way is to look under the hood of your iron horse. Some automakers mark their power units on the assembly line, indicating the engine brand and its series. For example, the designation “OM” means that your car’s engine is manufactured by Mercedes. By looking at the manufacturer and engine series number on the Internet, you can quickly find all the necessary information about the engine and its characteristics.

It is not always possible to recognize the type of engine by its markings. Most often you can find a special unit number on the engine. It can be found on the engine (location will vary for different models). You can decipher the meaning of the code using Internet sources or special reference books. This code on the power unit housing consists of the following elements:

  • The first character is a letter indicating the year of manufacture.
  • The next four digits indicate the modification of the motor.
  • The last designation is the climate version.

What to do if there is no number

Oxidative processes have a destructive effect on certain areas of the metal car body. Corrosion can completely or partially “destroy” the place where the manufacturer applied the engine code. When the unit identifier is barely visible, you can advise car owners to clean the surface of rust themselves. It is advisable to use not very strong concentrates so as not to damage the remaining inscription. Some people recommend using sandpaper, but this is prohibited! Then you can’t prove to the traffic police that the ID was erased due to natural reasons. If you don’t have special solvents on hand, you can moisten a rag in clean kerosene and wipe it off.

Is it possible to drive on public roads in Russia if you have lost your engine number or VIN, or is this subject to a fine? The law states that the operation of cars with problematic markings is permissible only in one case - the number plate is damaged as a result of natural wear and tear (corrosion). If the car has been repaired, the frame or body has been replaced, which is why the unit identifiers have disappeared, you need to inform the MREO, where they will conduct additional tests.

Rust has eaten away the engine code.
Even if the engine identifier is not listed anywhere, it should be in the traffic police database. However, before buying a used car, you need to carefully look for the VIN code or serial number. If they are not visible, it is better to refuse the purchase.

Why you may need to know information about the engine

Often, when buying a used car, the new owner does not ask the previous owner what power unit is installed in the car, however, this data may be needed in a number of cases:

  • when repairing the engine and ordering spare parts;
  • to register a car - if the engine type and model do not match the documents, it may be difficult to register;
  • to determine the correct operating style of the motor and select the appropriate consumables.

Before purchasing a car, it is recommended to check the details of its engine with the title and registration certificate in order to protect yourself from unpleasant surprises in the future.

Table: where and how the engine number is located on famous foreign cars

Car make and modificationCode location without signLocation of the code in the form of a plate
Audi A3 2006-2008On the left side of the internal combustion engine, at the junction of the unit and transmissionOn the valve cover, the timing belt guard, as well as on the service plan and the spare wheel chute.
Audi A4 2001The engine identification number is stamped on the left side of the cylinder block at the junction of the engine and gearbox. For a diesel engine, the engine number is located between the high pressure fuel pump and the vacuum pump. The engine identification number is also printed on a sticker on the timing belt cover. In addition, the engine identification code is located on the vehicle data plate located in the spare wheel well or on the bottom of the luggage compartment and is listed in the service book.
Audi A4 2005-08The engine identification number is stamped on the inside of the right cylinder block between the cylinder head and the hydraulic pump (diesel engine: between the cylinder head and the high pressure fuel pump).On the toothed belt cover, in the VIN code, niche for the spare wheel, bottom of the trunk.
Audi Q7 2007-08 diesel TDI 3 lOn the left side of the engine and slightly above the injection pump timing belt
Volkswagen Golf 2005-2009, Jetta 2005-08At the junction of the power unit and gearboxOn the cylinder head cover
Volkswagen Passat B5 2000-2005The engine number (engine letter and serial number) is located on the left of the cylinder block.Additionally, a plate with the engine letter and serial number is applied to the cylinder head cover.
Volkswagen Golf 2006-2009, Jetta 2006-2008Located on the left at the junction of the engine and gearboxOn the cylinder head
Volkswagen Transporter 2.5TDI 2004-2009At the engine/gearbox interfaceOn the cylinder head
Volkswagen Touareg 2003-07 3.2 lOn the cylinder block near the vibration damper
Volkswagen Touareg 2.5 TDI 2003-09At the junction of the internal combustion engine and the gearbox
Volkswagen Touareg 3 l 2006-10In the front part of the engine installation on the left, located above the timing belt of the fuel pump
Skoda Fabia 1.2 l. 2004-08 On the left front on the engine block at the dividing butt seam between the internal combustion engine and the gearboxOn the timing gear cover
Skoda OctaviaOn the left side of the power unit, closer to the batteryRight front fender strip (VIN), under the windshield, under the floor in the trunk
Chevrolet Aveo, LanosSlightly to the right of the location of the dipstick for checking the oil level
Chevrolet LacettiOn the cylinder block, below the intake manifold, (VIN) is stamped at the top of the bulkheadThe Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) plate is attached to the top of the dash pillar
Ford FocusNumber panel in the area where the engine and gearbox connect
Ford MondeoBehind the engine, closer to the driver's seatOn the driver's side, above the engine, between the internal combustion engine and the interior wall, closer to the driver's side
Ford TransitHidden in the front part of the internal combustion engine and located under the generator, packed on the block (vertical platform), near the right engine mount, when viewed in the direction of travel, on the vertical platform of the cylinder head at the front end
Hyundai Solaris, Kia RioOn the front wall-protrusion of the BC, under the filler neck for pouring liquid into the cooling system
Hyundai Santa FeAt the junction of the engine and gearbox
Toyota Land Cruiser PradoIn the wheel arch, covered with a curtain

Table: decoding of the WMI designation of foreign cars assembled in the Russian Federation

WMIBrand and manufacturer
X4ABMW, Avtotor (Kaliningrad)
X4XCHERY, Avtotor (Kaliningrad)
XUFCHEVROLET, LLC General Motors Avto (RU)
XUUCHEVROLET, Avtotor (Kaliningrad)
Z8NDATSUN, Nissan Manufacturing Rus LLC (RUS)
XU3FIAT, Sollers-Naberezhnye Chelny OJSC (RUS)
Z76, Z7GFIAT, Sollers-Elabuga LLC (RUS)
WF0, X4F, X9FFORD, LLC Ford Motor Company (RU)
X4XHUMMER, Avtotor (Kaliningrad)
Z8NNISSAN, Nissan Manufacturing Rus LLC (RUS)
XUFOPEL, LLC General Motors Avto (RU)
X9PRENAULT, Volvo Vostok JSC (RU)
XW8SKODA, Volkswagen Group Rus (LLC) (RU)
Z8USSANG YONG, Sollers-Far East LLC (RUS)
XW7TOYOTA, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Russia LLC (RUS)
XW8VOLKSWAGEN, Volkswagen Group Rus (LLC) (RU)

Table: examples of decoding VIN codes of famous foreign cars

4USBT53544LT26841BMW E85 (Z4) Z4 3.0i M54, roadster - 2 doors, Dingolfing, Germany
KL1UF756E6B195928CHEVROLET Rezzo/Tacuma 1.6, minivan - 5 doors, petrol manual transmission, 2006 Bupiyong
ZFA18800004473122FIAT, Punto 80 ELX 188AXB1A, hatchback - 3 doors, 188A5.000 (1242 cc / 80 hp) March 2002
JHLRE48577C415490HONDA CR-V 2.4 RVSi K24Z1 (2400 DOHC VTEC), MZHA (automatic - 5speed), 2007
KMHBT31GP3U013758HYUNDAI Getz GL 1.1 l, manual - 5 speed, November 2002, manufactured by UI-San (Korea) for sale in Germany
KNDJC733545301768KIA Sorento GL 4WD EB / FC 3.5l (MPI-DOHC), automatic. - 4th century, April 2004 for sale in the USA
SALFA28B57H011265LAND-ROVER Freelander II 2.2 TD4 diesel/2179 cc/152 hp (DOHC/EFI), mechanical - 6th grade, January 2007
JMZGG128241207606MAZDA 6 27C / GH7 petrol - 1800 cc, 5MT, September 2003.
4JGBF71E47A278782MERCEDES-BENZ GL 450 4Matic 273923, box 722904, May 2007, assembled Sindelfingen (Germany)/Vance, Alabama, USA
JA4LX31G93U065670MITSUBISHI Outlander M-Line 2WD CU4W(QRMEL2M) 2400 ccm, automatic transmission - 4 speed, November 2002, 3rd decade
JN1TBNT30U0124100NISSAN T30 X-Trail Sport QR25DE (petrol - 2.5l), Automatic gearbox, May 2006.
WP1AB29P66LA68044PORSCHE CAYENNE S M48.00 [4.50L-250Kw], 2006
VF1LB0K0525551701RENAULT Clio II K4J [B/1390 ccm/70kW], gearbox JB3/DP0
JF1GGGKD37G038841SUBARU Impreza (G11) WRX 4WD 255 [2500CC EMPI DOHC TURBO], manual. — 5th century, February 2007
JT111TJ8007010945TOYOTA Land Cruiser HDJ80 1HDT [4200cc - diesel turbo], October 1992.

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