So, you bought a car with no title, no bill of sale, and no VIN (vehicle identification number). Now, you just built a frame and installed an engine or tranny on it. There is no VIN, so it is just a body with no identification whatsoever. Fortunately, you may be able to register a car with no VIN number, even if the tags on the firewall are missing or corroded beyond recognition.
The VIN is a 17-digit code unique to each vehicle. If your vehicle does not have a VIN, you need to register it at your local DMV. The process can differ by state. When you want to register a car with no VIN number, you visit your nearest DMV office.
How to Register a Car with No VIN Number
In Kentucky, for example, you need to fill out the Application for Vehicle Identification Number form. Then, show proof that you own the vehicle, such as a notarized affidavit, bill of sale, or title. You will also need a notarized statement explaining why your vehicle does not have a VIN. Make sure to provide your name, address, phone number, and where the vehicle can be checked. Note that if you provide incorrect information on a VIN application, you could get fined and face forgery charges. That said, below are the steps to register a car with no VIN number.
Schedule Your Vehicle Inspection
Bring your car to the motor vehicle agency inspection lane. Your car needs an inspection to get a VIN. You’ll need to provide some documents: a completed inspection request, a bill of sale, or a title certificate. If it’s a private sale, make sure the bill of sale is notarized. Also, bring a photo ID. In Washington State, if your car doesn’t have a VIN, they’ll give it one and give you plates if needed.
For self-assembled vehicles, you need to have comprehensive documentation showing the construction process and the origins of the components used.
For older vehicles being restored that you found in a barn or a similar setting and it’s missing its VIN tag, you’ll need to provide proof of your legitimate ownership.
Payment for Inspection Fees
In Washington State, the licensing department charges a fee for inspections. Remember, fees can be different in each state, so make sure to check with the agency before you go.
Have the Car Inspected
In Indiana, the police play a role in the VIN assignment process and will be involved in two distinct stages.
- For cars that originally had a VIN, the police will inspect the vehicle for hidden VIN numbers and subsequently run a check to ensure the vehicle isn’t stolen.
- For self-assembled vehicles, the police will use a checklist to verify the numbers on specific components, such as the engine, to ensure they aren’t stolen.
Once the Bureau of Motor Vehicles or Department of Motor Vehicles issues a new VIN tag, you’ll need to attach it securely to the vehicle. The police will then inspect to confirm that the tag has been permanently affixed to the specified vehicle.
Register Your Car with No VIN Number
When you get a verification form to register a car with no VIN number, go to your nearest motor vehicle office right away. In Connecticut, for instance, if you lose your form 30 days after verifying your VIN, you need to get it verified again. There’s a $10 fee. Fees can be different in other states, so check before you go. Take your vehicle to the motor vehicle office, and the agents there will help you with the registration.
Even if the hidden VINs are identified, the newly assigned VIN will be generic and different from the original. This change can adversely affect the value of the vehicle, especially if it’s collectible.