How Original VW Parts Are Numbered
Have a VW part and you don't know what it fits? This may help you partially identify its original application.
Most VW part numbers are in this format: 123 456 789 AB XXX.
Not all parts have any digits following the third set of numbers ("789"). (See below.) Also, there are some parts that have do not follow this format at all. Parts beginning with N tend to be general hardware parts, such as bolts, hoses, or washers, which may not be VW specific. Parts beginning with L are chemicals such as paint. Parts beginning with ZVW are accessories that generally are offered as add-ons (such as bras or floor mats). The below rules of thumb relate strictly to parts that follow the "123 456 789 AB XXX" format, which includes most parts.
Start by looking at the first three digits of the part number. If the part begins with zero, it is an engine or mechanical part that may fit many models. 021 was originally used to identify parts that fit vehicles with Type 4 engines (i.e. 1972-83 Bus and Vanagon) but has now been redesignated for use on Passat parts (which also often fit other later watercooled models). 025 and 026 generally designate parts that fit vehicles that have the Wasserboxer engine (in other words, watercooled gas-engined Vanagons). 068 designates parts designed to fit diesel engined Volkswagens. 091 designated 2 wheel drive transmission parts, and 094 Syncro transmission parts. There are others.
Other combinations of numbers in the first group of three digits were indended to identify which actual vehicle the part was originally designed to fit (although in may actually fit multiple models). Below is a partial list. It's incomplete and may even contain a few errors, so if you have any info that will help, shoot us an email!
1C0 New Beetle
The second set of three digits identifies the general type of part, or part subgroup.
The first of these three digits identifies the main product group, as noted below. The second and third digits narrow it down more specifically. For example, 98 designates a repair or parts kit. So 698 would be a repair kit that has something to do with the wheels or brakes. You can find a full breakdown here.
1 Engine, Cooling, Clutch
6 Wheels and Brakes
The third set of three digits is the actual part number within this classification.
The next set (which is typically 1-2 letters, if it exists at all) indicates later versions of the part. This does not always mean that the later one replaces the earlier one, though. It may simply fit different years. For example, say there are part numbers 123 456 789 and 123 456 789A,. Each may fit a different year of that model, with "789" fitting earlier vehicles and "789A" fitting later ones. Or, on the other hand, "A" may supercede the original one for all years. This can vary by part.
The last set (which is usually a combination of three letters/numbers, if it exists at all) indicates color.
01C is black. 90V is dark brown. 581 is beige. There are others as well.