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2018 Pacifica Touring L, Gas, 8 seats
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Two questions related to the VIN:

1. Would the VIN state whether a Pacifica is 7 or 8 passenger? The repair shop says it does but according to this previous link that doesn't appear to be true: Pacifica VIN decoding

2. On previously owned vehicles I've used vin tags on body panels (hood, fenders, core support, bumpers etc.) to determine if a vehicle has been in a crash. The Pacifica doesn't appear to have these tags. Other than obvious signs (paint overspray, miss matched plastic paneling, etc.) are there any other ways to determine if the van has had outer panels replaced?
 

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I thought the VIN should identify the vehicle enough so that the window sticker can be pulled up. Once you have that it should show how many seats it has.
 
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2018 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L (built 9/2017)
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The information you can find about a vehicle with just the VIN alone is pretty limited. You need to find the window sticker or contact a dealership to confirm what options your van has. This link does a good job of shedding some light on what the characters in your VIN represent.
 

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Two questions related to the VIN:
...

2. On previously owned vehicles I've used vin tags on body panels (hood, fenders, core support, bumpers etc.) to determine if a vehicle has been in a crash. The Pacifica doesn't appear to have these tags. Other than obvious signs (paint overspray, miss matched plastic paneling, etc.) are there any other ways to determine if the van has had outer panels replaced?
could you search for the vehicle history information on a website like CarFax?
 
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