I am really surprised at the lenght of this thread and the fact that some of you think we have some kind of alternate reason for getting VIN beyond the obvious....trying to get the right part the first time for the customer. Parts professionals have no interest in doing anything but selling parts to their customers. Manufacturers (all manufacturers) make changes in design, vendor, etc throughtout the model years. We used to depend on the production date and the VIN. We would have to break down the VIN in the paper catalog and then go to the page, look for the specific model and then find the proper production date range to get the correct part. Now...we just enter the VIN and go to the page we need, click on the number next to the little picture and bingo....we have the correct part number for your vehicle.
Body shops and mechanical shops know that providing the VIN helps them get the right part the first time thus satisfying their customers. Is it perfect? No, because it depends on information provided by the manufacturer who, like all humans, does make mistakes. I get far more calls from folks who got the wrong parts than I do from someone who is refusing to give my counter people their VIN. Stop being so damned paranoid.......
Originally Posted by Unit 91
The catalog system Subaru uses requires the full VIN to filter correctly.
Also, it doesn't keep your VIN in a database. The VIN numbers are erased when the program is closed (often times even before that). They don't get stored or filed or anything else.
I can find almost any part number without a VIN, but sometimes it helps because there are odd model year splits and things that are just easier to make sure are correct with a VIN supplied.
If I remember I'll take a screenshot or something for the haters.