If you own a car and for some reason you can’t seem to remember its trim, you might ask, “what trim is my car?”. You can find out the trim of your car by looking at your original sales invoice or window sticker that was provided when you bought it. You can also check your owner’s manual since it is usually written there or simply by just looking for it at the vehicle itself. There are car manufacturers that indicate the car’s trim through a decal or lettering fixed on its exterior, close to the model’s name, either on the rear or the side of the vehicle.
But what is a trim level? Do I really need to know what trim is my car? Read on and we will tell you everything you need to know!
What Trim Is My Car? But First, What Is A Trim?
A type of a vehicle model that is equipped with a combination of features selected in advance by the vehicle manufacturer is known as a trim level. It is also commonly known as a trim package. The higher the trim level of each model, the more it is equipped with preselected features and the higher the price tag it has.
But before we go through the trim levels and ask, “what trim is my car?”, we need to understand the basics of car identification. You probably heard of the terms “makes” or “models”. The “make” of your car is its manufacturer such as Toyota, Chevrolet, Ford, or Honda. The “model” on the other hand, is the car which the auto manufacturer sells like Corolla, Camaro, Escape, or Accord.
The trim level is the one that further identifies the car by its distinct set of special features. It starts with the base model or the entry-level model. As the trim level gets higher, the base model is added with more and more special features or styles, and the price tag also gets more and more expensive. You might have heard of trim level terms like EX, LTZ, SE, XLE, Touring, or Grand Touring. These are some of the trim levels used in the vehicles sold in the automotive market today.
When I want to know what trim is my car, it means that I want to know its trim level and not its style. Even though the terms “trim” and “style” are somewhat interchangeable, they are not the same. When you say “style”, it refers to car body style like if the car is a convertible, coupe, or a sedan. It is also used to identify what engine type the car comes standard as well as the drive system. There are instances where there are two cars with the same trim level but are sold with different styles.
It can be hard to remember all the specific details about your car but you need to know its make, model, and trim since these information are usually asked if you have it repaired, sold, or even when you are buying tires, parts, or accessories. This is because the car trim levels usually dictate the car’s engine type, protective exterior features, interior upholstery options, available standard equipment, transmission type, wheel size and the tire size. It might be hard to keep track of all of this information but fortunately, car manufacturers usually put a consistent ranking of trim levels to their cars.
Automakers usually use the same letters for the similar trim identification. Not all auto manufacturers do this but they normally hang the said letters on the back of the car’s model name. The letter might not mean the same thing since they can mean whatever the automakers want them to be but there are some similarities.
But whatever letters or trim names these automakers use, it basically comes down to three main categories – the basic trim, mid-range trim, and the premium trim. You might notice that there are more than three trim levels that are offered for some of the vehicles. It might include two mid-range trims or two premium trims with one trim level equipped with features for comfort and the other equipped for sport or with off-road capabilities.
To know these letters and to find out the answer to the question, “what trim is my car?”, we have provided a list to understand what the letters generally mean.
|Letters||What it generally means|
|L||Level Entry Grade|
|CE||Custom Edition or Classic Edition|
|GLE||Grade Level Extra|
|GT||Grand Touring or Gran Turismo|
|GTS||Gran Turismo Sport|
|LS||Luxury Sport or Luxury Special|
|LTZ||Luxury Touring Special|
|RST||Rally Sport Truck|
|SE||Sport Edition / Special Edition / Special Equipment|
|SLE||Standard Level Extra|
|SLT||Standard Level Touring|
|SRT||Street and Racing Technology|
|SXT||Standard Extra Trim|
|TRD||Toyota Racing Development|
|XLT||Extra Level Touring|
|XSE||Extreme Sport Edition|
|SV||Special Version or Standard Value|
|ES||Executive Sedan (Luxury Trim)|
|LTX||Luxury Touring Special|
|SEL||Special Edition Limited (Luxury Trim)|
|SLT||Special Luxury Touring|
|XLE||Executive Luxury Edition|
|XLT||Extra Luxurious Truck or Extra Level Touring|
|Editions||Black Label or Limited-Run Anniversary Editions|
The letter trim levels or names are usually used by the car manufacturers like Honda, Ford, and Nissan. However, there are some automakers that use a combination of numbers and letters like BMW and Chevrolet. For example, the Chevrolet Camaro has the Z28 or the Tahoe and a Suburban with Z71 and the 3 Series of BMW that consists of 320i, 330i, 330e, and 340i.
Trims Vs Options
The “options” that are offered upon purchasing a vehicle are different from the trim levels. The options are optional extras or features in the vehicle that do not come as standard equipment. The optional features can include upgraded sound systems, larger engines, or a sunroof or moonroof.
Car manufacturers don’t always offer a wide variety of optional features and not all vehicles have options. The selection of optional features that will be offered by the automakers are usually based on what the buyers want and what helps the vehicles sell more quickly.
Trims Vs Packages
There are also some packages offered when you buy a vehicle. It is different from the trim levels and it might not get you an answer to the question, “what trim is my car?”, but knowing if your car has some certain packages can help add value to it especially if you are planning to sell your car.
Packages are bundles of options that are grouped together with a common theme. You might have heard of some of the packages such as the navigation package, performance package, or the technology package. For example, when you choose to add a technology package for your car, it will be equipped with features such as navigation, Bluetooth, adaptive cruise control, and xenon-gas headlights. The packages can vary as well as the optional features included in it.
There are times that these groups of features are named as value packages. It means that the features that are bundled together can be purchased at a much cheaper price compared to purchasing each of the options separately.
What Trim is My Car: How Do I Find Out the Trim of My Car?
Now that we have shed some light on the differences of trim levels, options, and packages, we are ready to find out what trim is my car. Here are some of the ways you can find out the trim of your car.
- From the original invoice or window sticker.
You can find out the trim of your car by checking the original invoice or window sticker given to you when you purchased your car. You might see the trim listed on the invoice along with other details of your car. It is important that whenever you purchase a car or even parts or components of a car, you need to keep the original invoice and receipts because you will need it later on.
- From the car’s owner’s manual.
Checking the owner’s manual can also help you find out the trim of your car. It is usually written on the manual’s cover.
- It can be found on the vehicle itself.
The car’s trim level is sometimes branded on its back or side. You may see it as an emblem, lettering, or decal on the side or on the back of the car.
- Using the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN.
When you decode your car’s Vehicle Identification Number or VIN, it can reveal a lot of its details like its country of origin, airbag type, body type, transmission type, model year, engine size, and trim level. It is important that you know your VIN, especially its last six characters since it has the car’s unique ID. If you are not sure what your vehicle identification number is, you can find it stamped on a metal plate mounted on the vehicle’s dashboard close to the windshield or on the jamb of the driver-side’s door. You can also find it stamped on the firewall of the engine.
- Through a diagnostic health check.
If for some reason, you can’t find the original invoice or the owner’s manual of your car, you can visit a repair shop and ask for a diagnostic health check. By doing so, you will be able to get your vehicle identification number and your car’s trim level. It is one sure way of getting an answer to the question, what trim is my car?
Why Do I Need to Know the Trim of My Car?
You probably now have an idea on how to know what trim is your car. But there might be some people who ask, why do I need to know what trim is my car? For one, if you are planning to sell your car, you will have to get all the information and the specific details about it. Maybe knowing your car’s trim level can help you sell your car for the most money.
If your car is due for a repair, it is best that you and your technician know the car’s trim level before performing any repairs. Cars that have different trim levels could also mean that they can have different parts and different sized parts. The technicians need to be aware of it so they can verify the car’s trim level before they purchase the parts or start to repair it. This is necessary especially if the said car was involved in an accident or in a collision.
The trim level of the car needs to be identified and verified first so the technicians can begin to diagnose the components that need to be repaired or replaced. They can do this by identifying the trouble codes and through other tests. If the problems are identified, they can proceed to order and purchase the needed replacement parts. This way, the repairs will be done accurately since not all models have the same parts and knowing the car’s trim level ensures that the right part or component will be used.
Knowing what trim is your car can also be useful when you want to determine its correct tire application. This is because some automakers choose different wheel and tire sizes for each trim level. To ensure that you get the right tire for your car, you need to identify your car’s trim level first.
Knowing the answer to the question “what trim is my car?” and knowing what a car’s trim is can be very beneficial for you so you can make a wise decision when you are planning to sell or trade your car. It can also be useful when you are deciding to buy a new car. Just make sure that you will ask the dealer about the different trim levels, options, and packages so you can get the best value for your money. By doing so, you will be able to pick and drive a car that is just right for you.