VIN Lookups Part 2

Every auto glass shop owner and technician know the importance of getting and having the correct glass parts for a customer’s vehicle. Vehicle identification numbers (VIN) help prevent some confusion, each VIN has 17 digits and gives auto glass technicians a base when it comes to finding the correct glass code or vehicle part. This is the second part of the VIN decoding series. This will focus on other methods shops can use for vehicle information in lieu of making calls to the dealer.

The days of one-make/model-one-glass-part with up to 14 different windshields fitting the same vehicles are gone. It’s difficult for most consumers to discern the various value-added features of their glass. A vehicle’s unique VIN encodes technical information about the vehicle – including the proper glass part.

Vehicle decoders can also help cut down on the time glass shops spend trying to find the correct product.

“We’ve gotten so busy we can’t send everything out, there’s just too many cars,” Larry Diesbach, regional auto glass division manager, said. The increase in his business led Diesbach to investing in decoding directly from the shop, and seven months later he says he has no regrets.

“This has worked well for us because most people don’t know what they have in their cars and it saves us time,” Diesbach added.

Time is of the essence when servicing or fixing customer’s vehicles, calling vehicle dealers for information on the exact windshield you need only adds time to the process. There are free decoding sites that any shop can use instead to save time. Two common sites are and

“We can call the dealer anytime because we’re buying a lot of glass and parts from them, so they’re patient with us. But so many small shop owners don’t know about the free sites, and they should,” Diesbach said.

Making the switch to using free decoding sites or investing in a decoding software may also have an impact on your customers. “I get a lot of positive feedback especially when customers come in frustrated because they had an incorrect windshield or side windows previously installed,” Diesbach said.

This article is from glassBYTEs™, the free e-newsletter that covers the latest auto glass industry news. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Auto Glass Repair and Replacement (AGRR) magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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