The car's vehicle identification number (VIN) is the identifying code for a specific automobile. The VIN serves as the car's fingerprint, as no two vehicles in operation have the same VIN. A VIN is composed of 17 characters (digits and capital letters) that act as a unique identifier for the vehicle. A VIN displays the car's unique features, specifications and manufacturer. Prior to 1981, VINs varied in length from 11 to 17 characters.
The Hull Identification Number (HIN) is a 12 or 14 character serial number that uniquely identifies a boat.