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Laura Flowers

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Oct 31, 2019

4 minute read

Fleet Management Blog

Decoding Vehicle Specs by VIN to Manage Fleet Maintenance

A vehicle identification number (VIN) carries critical data associated with a vehicle. From towing capacity to fuel efficiency, VIN specs are a great reference for managing maintenance. Fleet management software enables you to decode the VIN specs on all of your vehicles in seconds to make the best decisions for your fleet.


Leveraging Vehicle Specs by VIN

A vehicle’s VIN is like its genetic code. The 17 digit number indicates everything from where it was manufactured to specific vehicle attributes. Leveraging VIN specs allows fleet managers to diagnose issues, determine asset utilization and monitor performance.

When managing a fleet of vehicles, keeping track of their information can be a challenge. Without an organized system of record, fleet managers and operators can’t easily access vehicle specs to make well-informed decisions.

Tracking a fleet through spreadsheets makes accessing and interpreting VIN specs quickly nearly impossible. These gaps in knowledge and information bottlenecks can create gaps in service, causing downtime and missed opportunities.

Fortunately, advancements in technology are giving fleet managers the ability to instantly access easy-to-read VIN specs. With fleet management software, managers can import VIN numbers to populate over 90 vehicle specs in seconds.

Decoding VIN numbers in software allows managers to reference VIN specs instantly, eliminate manual data entry and increase efficiencies across their fleet.

The 17 Digit VIN

A VIN number is a unique alphanumeric code that identifies vehicle information. The VIN houses specs like dimensions and weight, engine and fuel information, towing capacities and payloads.

The first three digits of the VIN are the world manufacturer identifier, indicating where the vehicle was made. The last six to eight digits (depending on the VIN standard) identify the specific vehicle in question.

What fleet managers are mostly concerned with is the middle digits, which contain the vehicle attributes. Unlocking this information can provide insight into how the vehicle should be maintained.


Unlocking Insight from VIN Specifications

Because fleet managers have such a wide scope of responsibilities, it’s crucial to know the significant details regarding your vehicles.

With fleet maintenance software like Fleetio, fleet managers have over 90 VIN specs readily accessible, allowing them to effectively carry out maintenance tasks and help lengthen asset lifespan. Here are some of the VIN specs obtainable through fleet maintenance software.

Dimensions and Weight

Knowing the dimensions and weight of your vehicle is a key factor in the safety of your assets, drivers and the public. Referencing dimension and weight VIN specs on your desktop or mobile device ensures your team is using the right vehicles for the job, as well as choosing the correct parts for maintenance.

Having quick access to the length, width and height of a vehicle can determine whether or not a vehicle should be used for a particular route. For example, prior to dispatching, fleet managers should refer to the dimensions to ensure that a vehicle can safely travel over or under a bridge.

Dimension VIN specs don’t end with the overall size of your vehicle. Information regarding wheel and tire size and diameter can be useful to your maintenance team when determining the correct parts for repairs. This information can also be used when managing inventory.

Weight is one of the most important aspects of VIN specs for certain fleet industries. Knowing your vehicle’s curb weight and gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) can help ensure you don’t exceed your payload.

Engine and Transmission

With fleet maintenance software, maintenance teams can access engine and transmission summaries to better understand how to repair or replace parts. Information like this can also help determine what types of fluids to use and lifespan expectations.


VIN specs are actionable data that allow you to make the best decisions when it comes to asset utilization and replacement, both of which have a strong impact on your bottom line.

Referencing VIN specs can help you compare vehicle attributes against the current state of the vehicle, as well as against other vehicles to increase efficiencies across your fleet. By using the VIN specs as a road map, you can help ensure your vehicles are performing at their peak.


Eliminating Manual Data Entry

Fleet managers can spend hours, days or even weeks trying to enter their fleet’s data into spreadsheets. This is a poor use of time, and it’s an inefficient way to track vehicles, and this data isn’t readily accessible to drivers or technicians.

Because VIN specs are so detailed, many fleets choose not to enter all of a vehicle’s information. This incomplete data can cause downtime while managers and technicians try to track down needed data for maintenance or analysis.

Fleet technology enables managers to upload VIN numbers in bulk to automatically populate important data regarding their vehicles. By copy and pasting VINs from a spreadsheet into fleet management software, all vehicle data is quickly uploaded and organized into the software for all necessary users to view.

Accessing Vehicle Information On the Go

If your drivers are spread out across various locations, they need to be able to easily view the specs regarding their vehicle. Many fleets outsource their maintenance, and having a way to communicate needed vehicle information to technicians can speed up repairs.

With fleet management software, drivers can carry around all of their vehicle information in their pocket on a mobile device. Having access to relevant data eliminates guesswork and empowers fleet managers and their team to make data-driven decisions regarding their fleet.

Get the VIN specs you need when you need them! Request a demo or start a free trial of Fleetio today!

About the Author

Laura Flowers

Laura Flowers

Content Marketing Specialist

Laura Flowers is the Content Marketing Specialist at Fleetio. When she’s not blogging, you can find her reading on the couch with her cat or in the studio tap dancing.

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