A snowmobile VIN(Vehicle Identification Number) follows the same basic decoding rules as other motor vehicles. Snowmobile VINs have a standardized 17 digit number which can typically be found on a plate mounted above the front of the right side foot rest. Here are some snowmobile VIN number charts and information to help you decode your snowmobile's VIN yourself.
Knowing how to decode your snowmobile VIN is important when it comes time to buy parts if you aren’t the first owner of the sled. I HIGHLY recommend you get the manual for your snowmobile. Now lets decode a typical snowmobile VIN shall we?
Contained within the 17 digits of your VIN, which identifies your snowmobile characteristics, are capital letters from A through Z and numbers from 1 to 9. You won’t find the letters I, O and Q because they are never used to avoid mistakes made by misreading them. There are also no spaces in vehicle identification numbers whatsoever.
The first digit in a snowmobile VIN represents the country. Typical snowmobiles will have a 1 or 4 if built in the U.S. or a 2 if built in Canada. They may also start with a “J” if manufactured in Japan.
The 2nd digit of your sled's VIN represents the snowmobile’s manufacturer. Snowmobiles made by Arctic Cat will have a “U”. Yamaha snowmobiles are represented by the letter “Y”. Polaris sleds have the letter “X” and Ski Doo uses the letter “B”.
The 3rd Digit indicates snowmobile type or manufacturing division which varies by manufacturer.
The 4th to 8th Digits are the 5 digits that represent snowmobile attributes such as body style and engine type. Contact the manufacturer for all available options by year.
The 9th Digit is a “check digit” which does not have anything to do with the snowmobile itself. The check digit is used to ensure that the VIN is legitimate, it is determined by the value of the 8 digits in front of it and is used to validate the VIN. The check digit is expected to be a specific value if all numbers before it are legitimate, it is used to spot a fake VIN.
The 10th Digit represents your snowmobile year, here is a handy chart to decode your sled's year.
And it continues: 2011 is B, 2012 is C, 2013 is D etc. 2018 is J, 2019 will be K and so on. The number 0 and letters O, I, U and Z are never used to determine a snowmobile's year so skip them accordingly.
The 11th Digit represents the assembly plant.
The 12th to 17th digits stand for the number of units produced. The number increases by 1 for every snowmobile produced in that line. The number 00001 for example would represent the FIRST snowmobile to roll off the assembly line for that year/make/model.
There are exceptions to these basic VIN details but I hope this helps you figure out the basics as a starting point. When you know the year and make of your snowmobile it’s much easier to find out which engine options were available during that year and to register a snowmobile or find parts for it.
There is currently no free service for snowmobiles, or paid service in fact, which makes learning to decode your own important. You may have some luck by visiting your local DMV and by entering the VIN itself online in a search engine to see if it was reported stolen by someone else. Take a picture of the sled and show it to a local repair shop and they may be able to identify the sled for you for the purpose of buying replacement parts.
You can also simply ask in a popular sledder forum to see if someone can help. Note: I recommend contacting the manufacturer for additional help. Tip: Don't buy a used snowmobile without it's registration papers!
Snowmobile Style was launched by a sled fanatic in January of 2009 and has provided useful snowmobile tips and information ever since. Disclosure: This site earns a little money via the great folks at shareasale.com.
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