ISO standards and Your Car

ISO standards and Your Car image

Text: Vince Pornelos / Photos: BMW Press, Kobac | posted April 28, 2010 12:32

Standards for better motoring

We see it almost everyday from a factory that display it proudly to the child seat in the back of your own car... but have you ever actually wondered what ISO means?

ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization, is a non-governmental institution and the world's leading developer of international standards. In short, ISO delivers standards -whether managerial, engineering, among others- that can be implemented worldwide for products, companies and even government institutions.

ISO does not reinvent the wheel, instead they distill an international consensus from a broad base to come up with implementable standards that can be followed all across the world. The organization is composed of about 50,000 experts in different fields worldwide who contribute their respective inputs. As of August 2006, ISO has delivered 16,077 standards that covers business, industry and technology.

So what does this mean for the car industry and the car enthusiast? Well, here's a short list of ISO standards that we find in our daily rides.

ISO 7736 - A standardized format from 1984 for car audio head units, covering dimensions and installation. The standard is derived from the German-developed DIN 75490, hence it is more often referred to by DIN size, either single DIN (180mm x 50mm) or double DIN (180mm x 100mm).


ISO 13216 - Commonly known as ISOFIX, 13216 defines standard anchors found in most modern cars for child seats, making mounting and installation easier and more secure.

VIN tag

ISO 3779 - A standard for unique vehicle serial numbers, known as the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), for all road vehicles. It has 3 sections: the World Manufacturer Identifier, Vehicle Description Section, and the Vehicle Identifier Section.

These are just a few of the common ones, and there are thousands others that define safe, efficient standards for the automotive sector. Whether for fuels, engines, seats to even the way your vehicle's controls and buttons work, ISO has had a hand in developing standards for our safety and convenience.