What Year Is My Tesla Model 3? Decoding the VIN to Identify Your Tesla

By Zac Ludicrous •  Updated: 10/07/22 •  7 min read

Confused about how to interpret the letters and numbers in a VIN code to identify what year your Tesla Model 3 is?

Or you don’t even know anything VIN related? Heck… What does VIN even stand for?

Well, don’t fret. 

In this article, I’d be discussing every tiny detail of the Tesla Model 3’s vehicle identification number (VIN), how to decode it, and how it can help you determine what year your Model 3 was manufactured!

So without further ado, let’s hop into it.

What Is a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?

A vehicle identification number (VIN) is basically a special code designated to your vehicle ⁠— which in your case is a Model 3 ⁠— to make sure that the EV is actually allocated and verified to its owner.

It makes it quite easy for Model 3 owners to identify their vehicles in case of potential recalls, if it gets stolen, or if it’s damaged beyond recognition.

Tesla also employs this number to determine plenty of factors regarding a particular vehicle’s make or motor type or to locate the Tesla factory where it was manufactured via unique sequencing of the number.

If you already possess a Model 3 or are looking to buy one, this VIN plays a really crucial role as you can easily decode this extensive VIN and dissect every intricate detail and specification of any vehicle.

How Does a VIN Help You to Determine What Year Your Tesla Model 3 Is?

Tesla VIN decoder key. Credit to Electrek

Seeing this long VIN code, you might be thinking it would be really tough to decode it, but you know what they say, “Never judge a book by its cover!”

Because it’s actually really easy to crack it out. 

See that digit 10 in the code key given above? That capital “H” in the VIN depicts the year of your Model 3.

Well, that’s all. Told ya, it’s simple as “F” (Wait! What is that F doing there in the key?)

Let’s fully decode the cr*p out of it.

How to Decode the Tesla Model 3 VIN

As I said, the long VIN may look scary at first sight, but don’t worry, once you understand what this VIN is actually saying, you’ll surely be amazed knowing how simple it is!

This is what all 17 digits in the vehicle identification number tell us about:

Digit Numbers 1–3:

Determines the World Manufacturer Identifier of your vehicle

✅ 5YJ = Manufacturer: Tesla Inc.

Digit Number 4:

Tells about the make/line/series of your Tesla

✅ S = Tesla Model S
✅ X = Tesla Model X
✅ 3 = Tesla Model 3

Digit Number 5:

Tells about the body type and gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)

✅ A = Hatchback 5 Dr/ LHD
✅ C = Class E (6001-7000 lbs) GVWR / MPV / 5 Dr / LHD
✅ E = Sedan 4 Dr / LHD

Digit Number 6:

Tells about the restraint system in your Tesla

✅ 1 = Type 2 manual seat belts (FR, SR*3) with front airbags, PODS, side inflatable restraints, knee airbags (FR)

✅ A = Type 2 manual seat belts (FR, SR*3, TR*2) with front airbags, PODS, side inflatable restraints, knee airbags (FR)

✅ B = Type 2 manual seat belts (FR, SR*2, TR*2) with front airbags, PODS, side inflatable restraints, knee airbags (FR)

✅ D = Type 2 manual seat belts (FR, SR*3) with front airbags, PODS, side inflatable restraints, knee airbags (FR)

Digit Number 7:

Tells about the fuel type of the vehicle

✅ E = Electric

Digit Number 8:

Tells about the type of motor/drive unit

✅ 1= Single Motor – Standard
✅ 3 = Single Motor – Performance
✅ 2 = Dual Motor (Standard)
✅ 4 = Dual Motor (Performance)
✅ A = Single Motor – Standard
✅ B = Dual Motor – Standard

Digit Number 9:

A check digit issued by the producer per 49 CFR § 565.6(c)

Digit Number 10:

Determines the model year of you Tesla

✅ H = 2022

Digit Number 11:

Tells us about the factory where Tesla was manufactured

✅ F = Fremont, California
✅ A = Austin, Texas
✅ B = Berlin, Germany
✅ C = Shanghai, China

Digit Numbers 12–17:

The unique serial number of every Tesla vehicle

Well, wasn’t it a walk in the park? Just tally your Model 3’s VIN number and dissect its every spec — or amaze your less geeky Tesla friends with your amazing decoding skills!

How to Get Your Tesla VIN Even Before Getting It in Your Account

Here’s a quick and simple approach to determine if Tesla has allocated your incoming EV a VIN even though it isn’t shown yet in your vehicle account. 

Just follow these six basic steps that don’t even involve the use of any extra plugins or third-party websites:

  1. Log in to your Tesla account by clicking the top-right corner of Tesla’s homepage.
  2. After logging in, click on your Tesla to land on your vehicle page.
  3. After landing on your vehicle page, press “CTRL + U” on PC or “COMMAND + Option + U” on Mac. This will provide you with a page development menu. 
  4. When the page development menu appears on your screen, scroll down to “View Page Source” and tap it.

Some Candies for Chrome and Safari Users

Without any doubt, it’s way simpler to use the “COMMAND + Option + U” method, but it’s totally up to you how you like to do it to find your Tesla VIN number. Now let’s go back to the procedure:

  1. A page of source code will pop up on your screen in a minute or so. As soon as it appears on your screen, press “COMMAND + F” (CTRL + F for PC) to land on the “Find” search bar.
  2. Type “5YJ” (Tesla’s World Manufacturing Identifier) and click on search.
  3. If a VIN is awarded to your assigned vehicle, it will be highlighted immediately starting with these three “WIM” characters.
  4. You may also type “EncodedVIN.” and tap on search. This will also provide you with your VIN if it’s allocated.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you determine the model of your Tesla using VIN?

Yes, you can easily determine your Tesla model using your vehicle’s identification number. The fourth digit in your long Tesla VIN code basically tells the model of your Tesla.

For instance, if the fourth digit is “S,” it means you have a Tesla Model S. So is the case with other Tesla Models; “X” means it’s a Tesla Model X, and “3” means it’s a Model 3.

Where does the Tesla VIN show up? 

Once you’ve got your Tesla in your possession, you can check out the VIN at the following locations: 

  1. Tap on Controls and then proceed to Software on your touchscreen.
  2. Sneak through the windshield; you may also see it there.

How long after I get my VIN will I get my Tesla?

A week after the allocation of a VIN, the process of production of your car initiates. The allocation of a VIN tells us that the parts of your vehicle are now available to form up your car and it is in the production stage.

The delivery then depends on the place your car needs to be delivered. Normally, it can take up to two weeks.

Final Thoughts: What Year Is My Tesla Model 3?

The vehicle identification number (VIN) can play a crucial role in various scenarios, such as when buying a used Tesla to make sure it’s not stolen or to check if the specs the seller is telling are correct. At the most basic level, it can tell you what year is your Tesla Model 3 in a quick glance.

This finally brings us to the end of this long bickering on the purpose and actual meaning of the extensive vehicle identification number. It’s always amazing to equip ourselves with new information and uplift our technical prowess. 

Now that you know how to decode the VIN, you can quickly determine the vital specs of any Tesla vehicle, be it a Model 3/Y or the big boys in the Tesla lineup, the Model S and X.

Just compare the digits with this super easy-to-understand decoding list and you’ll know everything about the vehicle in a jiffy.

Zac Ludicrous

Mechanical engineer by profession. TSLA shareholder before the hype. EV enthusiast all day long. Zac enjoys learning about the future of battery technology, autonomy, and EVs. He considers Tesla Model 3 the most important vehicle of the 21st century -- and is in a quest to improve the ownership experience of every Model 3 owner he possibly can.

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