How to decipher a caravan VIN number

Its not common but we have seen a number of vans that have been registered with a year newer than they actually are – bit like clocking a car, so they can sell the van for more than its worth.

 

If you are looking to buy a caravan then this is something you should definitely take note of. In this post I am going to show you just how to decipher a caravan VIN number. The reason for this is that there is a few things we can learn from the VIN number of a caravan, this information could save you a lot of money!

vin-number-300x225

So without further ado, let’s get on with it.

I think a quick definition is in order here:

A caravan VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) number, also referred to as; serial number, CRiS number and chassis number is a 17 digit code that is and has been given to each and every caravan made in the UK (and some of Europe) since 1992. The VIN number is unique to each caravan and is used by CRiS to keep a track of who owns what caravan. The number given to the caravan is etched on the corner of each window (as photographed).  As I said above, the caravan VIN number can give us some key information that you will find useful when purchasing a caravan.

Using the VIN number for the image above I will now demonstrate how to decode the caravan VIN number.

SGDTT6ESWD0335379 – first two characters = Country of manufacture (SG in this case represents UK)
SGDTT6ESWD0335379 – 3rd character = Can vary but in most cases is the make (B for Bailey, A for Avondale etc)
SGDTT6ESWD0335379 – 4th character = Whether the caravan is sible or twin axel (T for twin & S for single)
SGDTT6ESWD0335379 – 5th, 6th & 7th characters = Optional manufacturer information (this is sometimes used by manufacturers to represent different model ranges)
SGDTT6ESWD0335379 – 8th & 9th characters = The manufacturer of the caravan (In this case Swift – see below for manufacturer codes)
SGDTT6ESWD0335379 – 10th character = Model year (In this case 2013 – see below for year codes)
SGDTT6ESWD0335379 – 11th, 12th & 13th characters = Optional manufacturer information
SGDTT6ESWD0335379 – 14th, 15th, 16th & 17th characters = Caravan’s unique serial number

Manufacturer codes:

AB = ABI
AD = Adria
AV = Avondale
BE = Bessacarr (later Bessacarr were built by Swift so will carry the SW code)
BU = Buccaneer (later Buccaneer were build Explorer Group so will carry code EX)
BY = Bailey
CL = Carlight
CM = Coachman
CP = Compass (may carry EX code in some circumstances as were built by Explorer Group)
CS = Cosalt (later Abbey’s were built by Swift and so will carry SW code)
CU = Sprite (later Sprite’s were built by Swift and so will carry SW code)
EL = Elddis (may carry the EX code for earlier model before Explorer Group re-branded to Elidds)
EX = Explorer Group (now known as Elddis)
FL = Fleetwood
LU = Lunar
SW = Swift Group

Build year codes:

N = 1992
P = 1993
R = 1994
S = 1995
T = 1996
V = 1997
W = 1998
X = 1999
Y = 2000
1 = 2001
2 = 2002
3 = 2003
4 = 2004
5 = 2005
6 = 2006
7 = 2007
8 = 2008
9 = 2009
A = 2010
B = 2011
C = 2012
D = 2013
E = 2014

One thing to note about the build year codes; the caravanning build season runs from 1st September one year to 31st August the following year. That means that a caravan built between September 1st 2009 and 31st August 2010 would carry the build year code “A” for 2010. It does not mean the year in which it was built.

 

TIP: You can use Caravan VIN Decoder tool to decode your VIN automatically