If you find out that your VIN plate is damaged, missing, or destroyed, how do you get a new one? There are several steps you need to take. Each state may issue the VIN plate differently and have different processes for issuing a replacement.
What is a vehicle identification number (VIN)?
A VIN (vehicle identification number) is a specific 17-character string of numbers and letters that uniquely identifies a specific vehicle. Every car has its own VIN, no two cars are exactly alike.
A VIN is readable through the windshield of the vehicle. It is also located on the driver’s side dashboard and door jamb on most vehicles. The vehicle title may also hold a VIN or it can be found on the insurance policy for the vehicle.
The purpose of a VIN is to provide an accurate description of a motor vehicle for use in official government operations such as registrations, renewals, and record keeping. The VIN is designed to identify a motor vehicle with various important characteristics including make, model, model year, body style, engine size, weight, and manufacturing plant designation.
Example: How To Get A Replacement VIN Plate in Ohio
The process to apply for a new VIN is very similar across all 50 states. Vehicle identification numbers are regulated by the federal government, so the processes across each state will be very similar. Here is how to apply for a replacement VIN plate in Ohio:
In Ohio, a vehicle owner can apply for a new VIN assignment if the original VIN is damaged, destroyed, or missing. To request a new VIN, you must submit an Application For Replacement Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) To A Motor Vehicle (BMV 3713). However, prior to submitting this application, you must complete the following tasks:
- Obtain a salvage receipt for inspection from any Deputy Registrar location and pay a fee of $50. You will need this receipt to schedule the inspection with the state highway patrol. Note that the vehicle does not have to be a salvage vehicle. It is simply the dual responsibility of the salvage inspector to also inspect new VIN assignment applications.
- Schedule the inspection with the state highway patrol using the salvage receipt.
- When showing up for your inspection, you must bring the following:
- Purchased salvage inspection receipt
- An original valid certificate of title
After the inspection is completed, the state highway patrol will complete and present a Salvage Inspection form (HP 106) to you.
Once you’ve obtained the salvage receipt, had the vehicle inspected, and obtained the Salvage Inspection form (HP 106), submit your application to the BMV with the following documents:
- Application For Replacement Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) To A Motor Vehicle (BMV 3713)
- An original valid certificate of title
- Completed Salvage Inspection form (HP 106)
Upon receipt of your application, the BMV will submit forms BMV 3717, HP 106, and a copy of the original title to the state highway patrol. Additionally, the BMV will send the original certificate of title to the Clerk of Courts in the county where the application was filed.
If your application for a replacement VIN is approved, the state highway patrol will manufacture your new VIN plate. They will receive the new VIN plate in the mail and contact you to schedule an appointment for installation. Typically, the state highway patrol or other law enforcement agency will physically install the VIN plate for you to ensure it goes on the correct vehicle.
To obtain a new certificate of title with the replacement VIN plate, the state highway patrol will submit form HP 106 to the Clerk of Courts and instruct them to issue you a new certificate of title. The Clerk of Courts in the county where the application was filed will issue a new replacement title notated “replacement vehicle identification number plate installed”.
The VIN is an essential part of your vehicle. If you are looking to get a new certificate of title in your name, but your VIN plate is damaged, missing, or destroyed, your state will likely have a procedure for issuing a replacement VIN.