How Many Cylinders Is My Car by Vin?

If you’re a car owner, you know how frustrating it can be not to know the basics about your car’s engine. Questions such as how many cylinders it has are especially critical when you need to purchase parts, get repairs, or even show off your ride to your friends. Cars are usually available in 3, 4, 6, or 8 cylinders.

Luckily, we have the ultimate solution to your engine dilemmas – a comprehensive guide on “How Many Cylinders Is My Car by Vin.” This guide is the ultimate resource that will give you all the information you need to become a true car expert and understand your car’s engine.

In this guide, I’ll break down technical jargon into straightforward language, explain the importance of knowing your car’s cylinder count, and guide you through the process of finding out your car’s engine specs.

With our guide, you’ll never have to rely on guesswork or feel embarrassed when your mechanic asks you about your car’s cylinders. Instead, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to confidently discuss your car’s engine with anyone.

How Many Cylinders Is My Car by VIN?

The VIN is a unique code assigned to each car, and it can tell you a lot of information about your car, including its make, model, year, and type of engine it has. To find out how many cylinders your car has, you can use an online VIN decoder. Once you enter your VIN in the VIN decoder, you’ll be able to see all of the information about your car. Look for the engine information and you’ll find the number of cylinders listed. This is the most reliable way to find out how many cylinders your car has. 

When it comes to V-type engines, the number of engine cylinders is easy to determine. Simply look at the engine cover and you’ll find either a V-6 or V-8 stamped on it. The cylinders of the V6 engine divide into two sets of three, arranged in a V-pattern on each side of the engine. Similarly, for V8, four cylinders are divided on each side. So, for V-type engines, you’ll see half of the spark plugs on one side and the remaining half on the other side.

V-type engines cylinder sequence

The above figure represents a V-6 engine, having 3 cylinders on each side.

However, for inline engines, the process is a bit more complex. To figure out the number of engine cylinders, you’ll have to use a VIN decoder or try other methods. Fortunately, I’ll be providing detailed instructions later in this article to determine exact number of cylinders in the inline engine.

What Is VIN?

A VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number, is a unique 17-character code that is assigned to every vehicle manufactured since 1981. It is composed of both letters and numbers, and each character represents specific information about the vehicle’s make, model, and features.

Here’s an example of what a VIN might look like:


  • The first character of the VIN represents the country of origin, revealing where the vehicle was built. VINs starting with 1, 4, and 5 are manufactured in the United States. 2 stands for Canada. 3 stands for Mexico. 6 stands for Australia. 7 stands for New Zealand.
  • The second character denotes the manufacturer, followed by the third character, which tells you the vehicle type or division.
  • The fourth through eighth characters offer a wealth of information, revealing the vehicle’s brand, body style, engine size and type, model, and series.
  • The ninth character is a security code that ensures the authenticity of the VIN, providing extra peace of mind.
  • The tenth character is equally important, as it reveals the model year of the car.
  • The eleventh number tells you which plant assembled the car, while the last six numbers represent the specific vehicle production number, essentially serving as the car’s serial number.

You can use this VIN decoder.

For instance, I put the following VIN code: 1G1ZD5ST2LF002052 in the VIN decoder I listed above. The vehicle came out to be 2020 Chevrolet Malibu. It is a 4-cylinder engine as indicated in the data displayed by the VIN decoder.

getting vehicle information using VIN decoder

You can also determine the engine size of your vehicle and get information of its parts by VIN From a Mechanic On JustAnswer .

How Do I Find Parts For My Car with the VIN Number?

There are several ways to use the VIN to find parts for your car. One option is to contact your local dealership or auto parts store and provide them with the VIN. They can use the code to identify the exact parts you need for your car. Another option is to use online VIN decoder tools.

From an online VIN decoder, you can find the exact make and model of your vehicle with its engine specifications. You can give that information to any store and ask for the genuine parts of your vehicle. 

For instance, on this website, you can put the VIN of your Toyota vehicle to look for OEM parts. Like this website, every automobile company can have different stores to purchase parts. Similarly, this website can be accessed to look for the parts of Ford vehicles.

On forums, I also found this website for Lexus parts to search for the parts using VIN.

Other Ways To Determine the Number of Engine Cylinders

Another way to determine the number of engine cylinders is by looking at the spark plugs. Typically, each cylinder has its own spark plug, so counting the number of spark plugs can give you an idea of how many cylinders the engine has.

Some vehicles have engine covers. When you remove the engine cover, you will see ignition coils. You can easily count ignition coils with COP configuration as each spark plug has its ignition coil in that configuration.

counting spark plugs to determine number of engine cylinders

From the above picture, you can see the COP configuration of ignition coils. Since there are four ignition coils, it means that the engine has 4 cylinders. 

Another method to determine engine specification, including a number of cylinders to check your owner’s manual. The complete engine specifications are also mentioned in the owner’s manual.

How Do I Know If My Car Is A 4-cylinder Or 6-cylinder?

Figuring out whether it’s a 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder engine is actually pretty simple.

One easy way to tell is by counting the number of spark plugs in your engine. If you see four spark plugs, then it’s a 4-cylinder engine. If there are six spark plugs, then it’s a 6-cylinder engine.

If you don’t feel like popping open the hood to check the spark plugs, you can also find out by looking up the engine specifications. This information is usually listed in the owner’s manual, or you can do an online search for your car’s make, model, and year.

It’s important to note that the number of cylinders in your engine can impact how your car performs. A 4-cylinder engine is typically more fuel-efficient and better suited for smaller cars or daily commutes. A 6-cylinder engine, on the other hand, is better suited for larger vehicles or those that require more power, such as towing or off-roading.

V6 Cylinders Number Identification

transverse and longitudinal engine configuration

You can read this guide to understand longitudinal and transverse engine configuration.

The V-6 engine is made up of two banks of cylinders, with each bank containing three cylinders. To properly identify cylinder numbers, it is important to understand the layout of the engine.

The front of the engine is where you see the crankshaft pulley and serpentine belt. The side of the engine where the flywheel and transmission is located is the rear side.

So, if you look from the front side of the engine (remember I’m not talking about the car front), the most forward cylinder is marked as cylinder 1.

In the case of V6 engines, the numbering sequence follows either a clockwise direction or even numbers on one bank and odd numbers on the other.

By referring to the firing sequence of your engine, which can be found in the vehicle’s owner’s manual, you can predict the numbering sequence of the cylinders.

If the firing sequence is 1-4-2-5-3-6, for example, the numbering sequence will be in a clockwise direction starting from cylinder number one. On the other hand, if the firing sequence is 1-2-3-4-5-6, even cylinder numbers will be on one bank and odd numbers on the other.

V8 Cylinders Number Identification

Unlike the V-6 engine, the V8 engine contains two banks of four cylinders each, with each bank located on opposite sides of the engine. For V8 engines, cylinder number one is also located closest to the front of the engine. Cylinders 3,5 and 7 are on the same bank on which cylinder 1 is located, and cylinders 2, 4, 6, 8 are on the other bank regardless of the firing sequence.

Inline Engine Cylinders Numbering

Understanding the cylinder numbering on an in-line engine is essential for diagnosing and repairing any issues that may arise. For inline engines, the numbering sequence starts at the front pulley end and ends at the flywheel end. This remains true regardless of whether the engine is installed lengthwise or transversely.

Why Is Cylinders Numbering Sequence Important?

When diagnosing issues with an engine, it is important to know which cylinder is misfiring or causing the issue. By identifying the cylinder number, you can check the spark plug, ignition coil, and fuel injector for any faults.

Usually, the engine misfire trouble code is P030X, where X is the cylinder number in which misfiring is occurring. So, if you know the engine cylinder numbering sequence, you can readily know which cylinder is misfiring and can take steps to fix the issue.

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