The vehicle identification number (VIN) is the identifying code for a SPECIFIC vehicle. The VIN serves as the vehicle’s fingerprint, as no two vehicles in operation have the same VIN.
A Harley VIN is composed of 17 characters (digits and capital letters) that act as a unique identifier for the vehicle. A VIN displays the vehicle’s unique features, specifications and manufacturer. The VIN can be used to track recalls, registrations, warranty claims, thefts and insurance coverage.
What if the Harley VIN is not 17 characters long?
Double-check to make sure that you have the right VIN and have copied it down correctly. Once you have verified that the VIN is definitely less than 17 characters, the VIN is most likely from a pre-1981 vehicle.
What do the VIN and letters represent? In this video Bob takes a couple of minutes to read the VIN on a 2001 Harley Davidson Fatboy.
The Harley VIN of this motorcycle is: 1HD1BMY161Y024825
Let’s break it down
1HD1 – All Harley VINS start with this; for many years now.
BM – two letters that represent model designation. BM is FLSTF. BH would be FXST, and so on.
Y- The single letter here indicates what motor the vehicle was built with.
Y represents Twin Cam 88, carbureted.
B would represent the same motor but injected.
1 – Internal factory assembly code.
6 – Internal factory assembly code.
1 – This 10th digit represents the motorcycle year. 1 represents 2001.
7, would represent 2007.
Y – Next, a single letter represents where/which plant the motorcycle was built. Y is York P.A. – K is Kansas City M.I
024825 – the last four digits are the sequential build number.
Bob reminds us how important it is to never alter, cover, or deface a VIN number. Doing so can eventually be a huge problem for you or somebody else. Look for your Harley Davidson VIN number near the neck of your frame. The VIN is typically stamped into the frame and also, usually appears on a permanent sticker that is on one of the frame down tubes.