People need information on Yamaha snowmobiles for many reasons, such as finding compatible new parts, but most can’t read a VIN. The Vin or Vehicle Identification Number is not exclusive to Yamahas or snowmobiles. These 17-character identifiers apply to almost all motor vehicles.
What year is your Yamaha snowmobile? I’ll teach you everything you need to know to decode the system and identify your sled’s year quickly and accurately right now.
A Yamaha VIN number is 17-digits long that contain manufacturing information about the snowmobile and the year is the 10th digit. Using a system of numbers 1-9 and the alphabet A-Y skipping I, O, Q, U, and Z, the numbers-then-letters started in 1971 and get recycled.
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How Do You Tell The Year From A Yamaha VIN
To tell the year from a Yamaha VIN, you must find the 10th character. This can be a number or a letter.
If it is a number, the digit indicates the year for 1971 to 1979 or 2001 to 2009. The numeral corresponds to the last number in the year, so a 1 would be 71 or 01, a 2 would be 72 or 02, etc.
Meanwhile, the alphabet from A to Y is also used minus a few lookalike letters skipped to prevent confusion.
All models from 1980 to 2000 have a letter, and the alphabet starts at A in 2010.
One decade (9 years) will be numbered. Then the next 21 years are designated by letters before the pattern repeats.
This may seem confusing, so I created a simple chart for the year and tenth digit so you can cross-reference it easily.
Yamaha Snowmobile VIN-Year
|Tenth Character in Yamaha Snowmobile VIN||Year That Snowmobile Was Manufactured|
This year’s 10th character is the letter N, and in 2023 it will be P. The next time this character will be a number again won’t be until 2031.
Then, the whole pattern will presumably start over, though laws and standards can always change in the future.
Yamaha Snowmobile VIN Location
Yamaha snowmobile VIN location is always the same. The spot where you rest your right foot, known as a side tunnel, has your vehicle identification number etched into the material.
The second character on all Yamaha snowmobiles is “Y,” so if yours says otherwise, it is either not a Yamaha, or that part has been swapped out.
It’s important to note that there is generally a sticker with your VIN on it, which is often placed on top of the original engraved or stamped number on the tunnel.
Having a wrong VIN can lead to problems with registration, so it’s essential to check. Willfully destroying or altering VINs can come with fines and jail time.
If you suspect you may have purchased a sled with a wrong or damaged VIN, you should look it up or report it immediately.
Yamaha VIN Number Lookup
There is no single source for all the Yamaha snowmobile models to look up every year and model.
However, if you have your VIN, you can easily do a VIN lookup by cheating slightly. The Yamaha company has a library of Owner Manuals.
By typing in your VIN, you will get the correct manual for that sled, giving you all the information you need to identify the model, get replacement parts, and more.
You can find Yamaha’s free online manual finder tool right here.
Vintage Yamaha Snowmobile VIN Decoder
Technically any Yamaha snowmobile over 20 years old is considered vintage. However, if you have an old enough model, it won’t have a 17-digit VIN like the more recent models.
You may see 3 to 5 characters, typically including at least a couple of letters, then a dash, and six more numbers. Some years also have three additional characters at the end in parentheses.
The first 3 digits are the model and year, and the rest are serial numbers for that year and production run.
If you need to look up your vintage model, the only source I could locate for a list comes from Ohio Fish and Game.
However, I could not verify this chart with any direct sources from Yamaha.
Yamaha Snowmobile Production Numbers
Yamaha’s snowmobile production numbers are not consistently published anywhere on the internet.
The exact number of models made or sold doesn’t appear to be something most manufacturers share with the general public unasked.
However, Snowgoer managed to dig up an older document detailing 3 years of models in the late 60s and early 70’s.
- 1969/70 Production Year – 8,000
- 1970/71 Production Year – 12,000
- 1971/72 Production Year – 24,000
Yamaha Snowmobile Models By Year
Yamaha has been making great snowmobiles since July of 1968. With 54 years of outstanding models and innovative improvements, there are a whole lot of sleds out there with Yamaha VINs on them.
To help identify yours a little easier, I’ve made another chart showing the most popular Yamaha models each year.
The company didn’t produce a new model for some years, so I’ve omitted those.
If your model isn’t on this chart, it was a lesser-known model, or you can check a year or two back to find the model type they were making the most of at the time.
Yamaha’s Most Popular Snowmobile Models By Year
|Year||Most Popular Model|
|1971||SW396 and SW433|
|1972||GP433, EW643, and EW433|
|1973||SR433, and SM292|
|1974||GPX433 and GPX338|
|1976||SRX340, Exciter 440, and SRX440|
|1988||SnoScoot and VK540|
|1993||Exciter II SX|
|1996||Vmax 600 XT|
|2000||Mountain Max 700 and SX 700 R|
|2020||Sidewinder X-TX SE 146|
|2021||Sidewinder SRX LE|
|2022||Sidewinder L-TX LE EPS|
If you want to learn more about Yamaha snowmobile models over the last 50+ years, I recommend this video from Snow Trax TV.
They show off a vast variety of Yamaha models for fans, owners, and curious newcomers.
They also talk about some of the fascinating histories behind these incredible machines and how Yamaha came to produce them.
Helpful Tips To Know About Finding Out What Year My Yamaha Snowmobile Is
Knowing your sled’s make, model, and year is vital since you will probably need parts or a mechanic who knows your machine at some point.
One of the easiest ways to get more detailed info is by searching the VIN.
Here are a few more helpful tips to know about finding out what year my Yamaha snowmobile is.
- Another easy way to tell the age of a vintage Yamaha with original parts is to check the engine. This trick only works with original engines, but those made between 1972 and 1984 also had identifying numbers on them to make identification easier.
- According to Wikipedia’s Vehicle Identification article, “In 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the United States standardized the format. It required all on-road vehicles sold to contain a 17-character VIN, which does not include the letters O (o), I (i), and Q (q) (to avoid confusion with numerals 0, 1, and 9).” Leaving off U and Z likely has the same reason, to avoid confusing the V(v) or letter S(s) and number 2.
- The 1st character on a VIN is the country of origin, and the 2nd is the manufacturer. The 3rd to 8th place characters should indicate specific features and vary in meaning over time. The 9th is the check digit, and the 11th place indicates the assembly plant your machine came from. Numbers 12-17 indicate which order your sled came off the line, so if it says 000003, this was the 3rd sled off that line, and number 001000 would be the thousandth.
Buying a used snowmobile can save you a ton of money, and the only downside is that it has some wear and probably doesn’t include the owner’s manual or other essential information.
Fortunately, there is a straightforward way to learn everything there is to know about your sled. Locate the VIN on the right side tunnel.
Once you have the number, you can either decode it using the charts here or access the Yamaha website and hunt for a specific vehicle.