The VIN is a 17-digit unique number assigned during the manufacture that helps to identify a vehicle. A VIN is like a fingerprint for a car and is the most reliable way to trace a vehicle history and confirm title ownership. Hence, it is widely used by the police and many other institutions for investigating and preventing VIN tampering, detecting theft, etc. Each vehicle’s VIN is etched on labels that are permanently fixed to its body and major parts. So, you can easily find your VIN on the dashboard, engine, or underneath the spare tire. Also, it must be listed in the vehicle title, registration card, and insurance policy.
It’s illegal to remove or change a VIN plate. But, what if you find your VIN has been changed? Typically, the replacement or altering of a stamped VIN is associated with an intention of furthering theft or defrauding. According to the NICB, the most common crime is a salvage switch. In short, a crook buys a badly damaged car under a false name to use its VIN and title on a similar stolen car. To avoid buying a stolen vehicle, always check whether your VIN is authentic. If you suspect a VIN is fraudulent, you should report to the National Insurance Crime Bureau or call the police.
Legal VIN Replacement
However, there are some cases when a plate removal or alteration is reasonably necessary for providing a repair of a particular car part. When a VIN plate has been badly damaged or destroyed, state law enforcement officially may assign a VIN number. Besides, a number can be issued after the original VIN plate has been removed from a recovered stolen vehicle. If so, the appropriate records must be added to a vehicle’s title. All state DMVs report this data to NMVTIS. As a result, the NMVTIS report contains all instances of authorized VIN change. If you find that your VIN plate is not original, just run a car VIN check.
Protect yourself when buying a used car
ClearVin is one of few NMVTIS approved providers. Each of our reports contains accurate vehicle title history, VIN change and odometer rollback alerts, junk and salvage information, theft records, and much more. Protect yourself when buying a used car with a ClearVin Report and run your vehicle lookup by VIN. Alternatively, take advantage of our license plate lookup tool, which helps reveal all the hidden pitfalls.