Mercedes-Benz VIN Questions and Answers

During the past few years, we have rec'd numerous questions pertaining to Mercedes-Benz Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN). No, we don't have all of the answers but we can tell you what we have learned.

The system used for today's Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) is based on standards originally set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) back in 1979 and 1980. Slightly different implementations of the ISO standards have been adopted by the European Union and the United States. Today's VINs consist of 17 characters and do not include the letters I, O or Q. Before the standard was established in 1980, vehicle manufacturers used different VIN formats.

Q: Do AMG Mercedes-Benz cars have a specific VIN designation?  

A: Mercedes-Benz started using VIN designations for AMGs with the C36; prior to the C36 there are no specific AMG indications in the VIN.

Q: Are US and non-US VINs the same (number of digits, etc.) for Mercedes-Benz?

A: No. Mercedes-Benz European and world market cars use a different system for VIN numbers and different VIN systems were used prior to 1980 when the ISO standards were adopted by auto manufacturers.

Mercedes-Benz Vehicle Years 1960-1983:

Reading the VIN from left to right, the digits or positions provide the following information:

1-6: Chassis Number
7: If the 7th digit is a "1" (one), the car was manufactured as a left hand drive (2=right hand drive)
8: Transmission indicator; 0=standard transmission, 1=hydraulic clutch,2=automatic transmission
9-14: Construction serial number

Mercedes-Benz from August 1983 to Present:

1-3: The first three digits indicate the "World Manufacturer Identifier" (WDB is Daimler-Benz until 1999, after that Daimler-Chrysler and so on)

4-9: Vehicle Descriptor Section or VDS, which is used to identify the vehicle type and may include information on the platform, model and/or the body style. Each manufacturer has a unique system for using this field. The 8th digit is used by most manufacturers to identify the engine type whenever there is more than one engine choice for the vehicle; however, Mercedes-Benz uses the following:

4th digit: Model or series

A = W123
B = W102 (also W107, SL class)
D = W201 C = W126 S-Class E = W124 E-Class
F = R129 SL-Class
K = R170 SLK-Class
G = W140 S-Class
H = W202 C-Class
J = W210 E-Class
N = W220 S-Class
P = W215 CL-Class
R = W203 C-Class
S = R230 SL-Class
U = W211 E-Class
W = R171 SLK-Class

5th digit: body style

A = Roadster (wrt the W107)
B = Long Body
F = Sedan
G = Sedan Long WB
H = Wagon
J = Coupe
K = Cabriolet/Roadster
M = AMG (no longer used)
R = Uncertain, but applies to the W463

Note that the 5th digit on older models indicated the engine type:

A = gasoline
B = diesel
D = 4matic Gasoline

6th and 7th digits: Indicate the model within the series

8th digit: Indicates the safety restraint system for MB vehicles

C seat belt + emergency pre-tensioners
D seat belt + emergency pre-tensioners, driver front air bags
E seat belt + emergency pre-tensioners, driver and passenger front air bags
F seat belt + emergency pre-tensioners, driver and passenger front and side air bags

9th digit: Check digit

Digits 10-17: Used as the Vehicle Identifier Section or VIS, which is used by the manufacturer to identify the individual vehicle. Mercedes-Benz uses the 10th digit for model year, the 11 digit for the production plant, and digits 12-17 for the chassis number.

11th digit: Production plant

A-E Sindelfingen
F-H Bremen
J Rastatt
X Graz
T Karmann
M Woking, England (SLR)

12th – 17th digits: Chassis number

Note that Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles use a slightly differnt VIN system, which is not covered here.

Another resource is the Mercedes-Benz Club of Russia, which provides a free VIN service. We have an article and link to the site here.



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9 Comments so far »

  1. Derek Hopkinson said,

    Wrote on January 24, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

    Re previous question do AMG have an ID in the VIN.
    You answered in part but did not advise what it was.
    I have tried the Russian site but can not get to the part I need to see. If you can advise great if not is there any other site I can go to ?

  2. greg said,

    Wrote on January 27, 2009 @ 6:54 pm

    No, their isn’t any id specific to the older AMGs. Sorry we can’t be of more help for the older models. There are several ways to determine if it is a true AMG, which we cover on this website. Let me know if there is anything else we can do for you and we’ll check around. Again, thanks for stopping by.

  3. Derek Hopkinson said,

    Wrote on January 27, 2009 @ 7:11 pm

    Thanks

  4. Nelson Shank said,

    Wrote on March 19, 2009 @ 11:29 am

    I have a 1989 560 SL. I would like to find how close to the end of the production model it is. Where can I find this information?

    Thank You
    Nelson

  5. Greg Magnus said,

    Wrote on March 19, 2009 @ 1:23 pm

    Nelson,

    First, get your “data card” from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvin, CA. You can use the search box on the right sidebar – bottom area – to get the contact info for the Classic Center. The data card provides a lot of info concerning the production of your specific vehicle. Also, the MB Classic Center has the production run numbers to help you as well.

  6. Nelson Shank said,

    Wrote on March 19, 2009 @ 2:44 pm

    Thank You for this information.

  7. mike said,

    Wrote on June 28, 2010 @ 2:15 am

    does anyone know where the VIN number is located ( chassis stamp,not windsreen) on a Mercedes R350 2006?
    Its normally under a seat or in the boot but I am having trouble locating it.

    Cheers

  8. Lorraine said,

    Wrote on June 28, 2011 @ 2:03 am

    How do I get Autocheck detail? My car VIN: WDDGF54X69R079755. Thank you

  9. larry galbreath said,

    Wrote on September 23, 2011 @ 11:30 am

    why would the vin in windshield of 2008 E-350 be covered with a white strip

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