All about QR codes for VIN

What is QR Code?

A QR Code is a two-dimensional (matrix) barcode format initially developed, patented and owned by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave for car parts management; it is now in the public domain. The “QR” is derived from “Quick Response”, as the creator intended the barcode to allow its contents to be decoded rapidly. It can store up to 2,335 ASCII characters in one barcode symbol, and includes Error Correction Code (ECC) which allows error-free reading even when a symbol has been partially lost or destroyed.

The QR Code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL, or other data. Its components include: quiet zone, finder patterns, alignment pattern, timing pattern, version information, data cells and error correction.

QR Code

What are the elements that make up a QR code?

A QR code has several elements that allow it to function as designed:

  • Quiet zone: This refers to the blank white border around the QR code that isolates the code from among other printed information.
  • Finder patterns: These are the large black and white identical squares in the corners, except for the bottom right corner. The finder patterns enable the decoder software to recognize and determine the correct orientation.
  • Alignment pattern: These are the smaller black and white squares within the QR code that ensure the code can be deciphered even if it's distorted.
  • Timing pattern: The timing pattern consists of altering black and white modules that run horizontally and vertically between the three finder patterns. The timing pattern makes it easy to identify the individual data cells and is especially useful when the code is damaged or distorted.
  • Version information: These are small markings within the QR code that simply identify which version is being used in a particular code (there are 40 different QR code types).
  • Data cells: Each individual black or white square that is not part of one of the standard features (the timing, alignment, and other patterns) contains data in the code. Data is stored in 8 bit parts, called code words, in the data cells.
  • Error Correction: A portion of the data stored in the barcode is devoted to Error Correction Codewords, or ECC; this sophisticated technology is used to detect and correct errors as well as help recover lost data (known as erasures).

Why use a QR Code for a VIN?

QR codes are an easy, fast way to find and read VINs, allowing vehicle dealers to access information easier and more quickly with the use of a high quality VIN scanner system. Here are a few reasons why QR codes are ideal formats for VIN:

Advantages include:

  • Readable From Any Direction: The alignment patterns at the three corners of the image enable rapid reading, while the timing pattern allows for the code to be read even if distortion or damage has occurred.
  • More Information: They efficiently pack more information in a smaller space as opposed to one-dimensional (1D) barcodes. Each barcode can store up to 7,089 values.
  • Fewer Errors: They employ much more robust error correction technology than traditional 1D barcodes; in addition to having built-in error checking systems, they may still easily be detected and read if damage has occurred.
  • Easily Read: They are easily read with any smartphone.
  • Greater Security: They provide greater security than 1D barcodes, due to their ability to encrypt information.

What are the typical uses of QR codes in the automotive industry?

Now used for everything from directing consumers to websites to paperless menus at restaurants, QR codes are everywhere. But they actually originated in the automotive industry as a way to track automobile parts. For vehicle dealers, the QR code can be helpful in a variety of ways. QR codes affixed to cars on the lot can direct shoppers to useful information about the vehicle; QR codes on dealership signage can encourage visitors to sign up for news and offers by providing contact information; finally, dealers and manufacturers are using QR codes for VINs (as opposed to other barcodes) as a way to help dealers easily access vehicle information.

How do I scan a VIN QR Code?

As most people know, scanning a QR code is as simple as using the camera on your phone. But with a dedicated app specifically for VIN scanning, dealers will get more powerful vehicle information on the go to help them better sell. The Laser Appraiser VIN Scanner for iPhone and Android allows dealers to quickly and easily scan a VIN, delivering a mobile vehicle appraisal and valuation, with live, critical auction and valuation data.

How does Laser Appraiser use VIN QR Codes?

The Laser Appraiser VIN scanner is an ideal way to get vehicle information quickly. And with new advanced technology, it can automatically find VIN QR codes, VIN numbers or VIN barcodes within larger blocks of text, automatically—even damaged or hard-to-read codes! Having a fast-reliable VIN scanner is vital for dealerships, but specifically for small independent dealers. To keep prospective buyers engaged on the lot, you need in-depth vehicle information at your fingertips, and even a moment wasted with a faulty scanner can compromise the deal.

How can I generate a QR code from a vehicle identification number (VIN)?

You can generate VIN QR codes for free with our handy VIN Code Generator Tool. This tool allows you to turn any VIN into a barcode—either a QR code, Data Matrix or Code 39. Simply choose your code type, enter your VIN and then select your format and resolution to generate your QR code. Click here to access the tool.

Get Easy VIN QR Code Scanning with Laser Appraiser

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