When you are buying a caravan, one of the things that might be detailed is the caravan VIN number. But if you’ve never heard of this, you’re not alone. Moreover, a lot of avid caravanners are aware of the VIN number but aren’t sure what it’s for; so what is a caravan VIN number?
The VIN number or Vehicle Identification Number is a 17 digit number that is assigned to every caravan that is made in the United Kingdom. You will also find that some European brands now use a VIN as well. The number allows organisations to find out who owns the caravan.
Once you understand what a caravan VIN number is, it isn’t quite as complicated as you may have thought. But let’s find out a little more.
The Caravan VIN Number
You might think of the VIN number that is etched onto the corner of the vehicle's windows as being similar in purpose to a car registration number. When entered into a database, the VIN will help to identify the owner of the caravan. You will sometimes hear this being referred to as a serial number, a chassis number or a CRiS number, but they’re all one of the same.
Caravans produced in the UK have been required to display a VIN number since 1992, so this is pretty common practice now. However, there are now some European manufacturers who have also jumped on board.
We would suggest only buying a caravan with a VIN number as not only will this help to identify the vehicle as belonging to you, but it may also come in handy when choosing a caravan to buy. But being 17 digits long, the VIN number may as well be written in Roman numerals because not many people know what each number means. Let’s put an end to that, shall we?
What Does The Caravan VIN Number Mean?
The digits in a VIN number relate to different things and this can tell you a lot about the product you are looking to purchase. For the below example, we will be using SGBT000BYA000111. Let’s break it down.
1st 2 Digits - SG
The first two digits will usually be SG as this is the code for the United Kingdom. This essentially means that the caravan was manufactured here.
3rd Digit - B
The third digit tells you which manufacturer has made the caravan. In our example, this letter is B which stands for Bailey, telling you that this is a Bailey caravan. Below you will see a table containing the various manufacturers and their corresponding letter codes.
Do keep in mind that many of the Bessacarr caravans are now manufactured by the Swift Group and so these letters may be interchangeable.
4th Digit - T
The fourth digit in the caravan VIN number tells us whether the vehicle is a single or twin axle. In the case of our example, the letter T stands for twin axle. S would represent single axle caravans.
5th, 6th And 7th Digits - 000
These digits may not always appear on the VIN number although it is very common to have them here. The numbers detailed here are optional information regarding the model, especially if there are several models in each range.
8th And 9th Digits
While it may sound strange to detail the manufacturer information twice, you will find that most VIN numbers display this again using characters 8 and 9.
The tenth digit in your VIN number tells you the year that the caravan was built. Since the VIN number system first came into operation in 1992, the earliest caravans will display the oldest date code. However, it’s not as simple as running from A to Z. Caravans made in 1992 are marked with an N, each year, the next letter of the alphabet is used up until 1999, when numbers were used for ten years before moving back to letters. The A in our example referring to the year 2010.
For any years that follow this, you can use the corresponding letter of the alphabet. That said, there are some manufacturers in Europe who use the letter Q as one of the year codes so it is worth checking this.
Another thing that you should consider when looking at the year of manufacture is that in this sense, years run from the beginning of September until the end of August. Therefore, our caravan with the year code A may have been built in the last half of 2010 or the first eight months of 2011.
11th, 12th And 13th Digit
Much like the earlier digits, anything that appears in 11th, 12th or 13th place is optional for the manufacturer regarding model and other unique details.
14th, 15th, 16th And 17th Digit
The last four digits of the caravan VIN number are unique to that vehicle and are considered to be its serial number. No other caravan will display this combination of digit even if all of the previous ones are the same.
In much the same way that a car has a registration number to link it to its owner, a caravan has a VIN number which is made up from several pieces of information. Looking at the VIN number will tell you when the caravan was made, by which manufacturer, the model and much more.