All posts by tollgateatuo

What year is my car?

What year is my car?

If you’re shopping for a part for your car you’re going to be asked that question. This guide will show you two easy ways to find the answer.

The easiest way to tell is to check your owner’s card, insurance card, or title.  The make and year of your car should be printed on each of these documents.  Picture 1 (below) shows an example of a Pennsylvania title. You can see in the middle of the page near the top that this is the title for a 2008 Ford.  Each state’s title and owner’s card are formatted differently, but in each case the information is printed somewhere on the face of the document.

Picture 1. Example of a PA title. Note the year and make in the top center.

The second way to determine the year of your car is with the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN. Your car’s VIN is it’s serial number. VINs on modern cars are 17 characters long, and are a combination of letter and numbers. The two locations that are easiest to access are:The VIN placard behind the windshield . It’s located in the bottom left corner of the windshield near the steering wheel. You can see it standing outside the car by the driver’s side mirror. Picture 2 (below) shows an example of this VIN placard.

Picture 2. Example of the VIN placard in the corner of the windshield.

You can also find the VIN on the information sticker in the driver’s door jam. On some models it’s on the door. On some, it’s on the body. If you open the driver’s door you should be able to see it. Each car maker’s sticker looks different, and there is a lot of info on the sticker, but somewhere you should see the VIN number. Picture 3 (below) shows an example of this sticker.

Picture 3. Example of the information sticker in the drivers door jam. Note the VIN number just above the barcode.


The VIN number contains a lot of information about your car, but what we’re after is the 10th character from the left. That’s the one that tells us the model year of your car. Starting at the left, count over to the 10th character, then check the table below to determine the model year of your car. Note: the code for the year repeats every 30 years, so “A” for instance can be 1980 or 2010.

A = 1980 / 2010

B = 1981 / 2011

C = 1982 / 2012

D= 1983 / 2013

E= 1984 / 2014

F = 1985 / 2015

G = 1986 / 2016

H = 1987 / 2017

J = 1988 / 2018

K = 1989 / 2019

L = 1990 / 2020

M = 1991

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

That’s all there is to it. Next time your need a part for your car, check this guide to get the year of your car. And as always, if you need a part for your car, give Toll Gate a call at 724 834 5800.


A note on the date on the information sticker in the driver’s door jam:  There is a date on the sticker in the door jam. It’s usually just a month and year.  This date can be misleading. The model year of a car does not necessarily match the calendar year in which it was made.  A car built in October or 2005 is actually a 2006 model. To further complicate matters, there is no standard for when a model year begins and ends.  Don’t let the door sticker fool you.  Skip the date on the sticker and use the methods described in this guide to determine the model year of your car.

8 Things You Should Know Before Replacing Your Engine

The bad news (that you already got) is that you need to replace your engine. The good news is that replacing your engine doesn’t need to break the bank. Quality used engines are an excellent cost saving alternative to often cost prohibitive new and remanufactured choices.  You can save even more if an engine changeover is something you can do yourself. If you’re a DIY about to replace your engine, check out these 8 tips for a smooth, successful job:

  1. Find and fix the root problem.  Engines fail for a reason.  Did it overheat? Did the timing belt fail?  Was there water in the oil?  If something caused your engine to fail and you don’t solve that problem, your new engine won’t last long. Don’t forget to check and resolve any codes in the computer.
  2. Inspect your new engine.  Pay attention to sensors, brackets, and all the other bolt on parts. Your new engine was inspected and interchanged and is the right part for your car. All those little parts were not.  Compare them to the parts on your old engine and change over anything that may be different.
  3.  Replace the timing belt, gaskets, and seals.  If your new engine has a timing belt, now is the time to replace it.  Check and replace the gaskets and seals as needed. These are jobs that are quick and easy when the motor is out, and hard and expensive when it’s in. Remember to check the manual on proper timing.
  4. Don’t forget to flush. Debris left over in the engine oil cooling system can damage your replacement engine. Don’t forget to replace the engine oil cooler and flush those cooler lines.
  5. Replace belts, hoses, clamps spark plugs and thermostat.  They don’t last forever. Take this opportunity to replace them.
  6. Be careful not to drop anything inside your new engine.  It sounds stupid I know, but we see a couple returns every year where a bolt or nut found it’s way down an intake.
  7. Don’t forget the oil change. Your new engine was drained before sale. Remember to change the filter and replace the oil.
  8. Watch that temperature. An engine replacement is a big job.  Mistakes can happen. Watch your engine closely the first time you run it. Monitor for leaks and watch that temperature gauge.  Remember, overheating isn’t covered by your warranty.

If your next DIY project is an engine replacement,  add these 8 steps to your R&R checklist. You’ll be glad you did.  And if you have any questions about your new engine, just give us a call.