What Do I Do If I Have an Invalid Vin?

by Sage Kalmus
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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations, only vehicle manufacturers can fix VIN errors. Law enforcement authorities consider an altered VIN a sign of a stolen vehicle. The sooner you discover a VIN error, the easier and less costly it will be to fix.


Call the manufacturer. You can get their contact information from the vehicle owner's manual or the Contact Us page of their website. Request a letter identifying both the invalid and correct VIN, with contact information from the manufacturer for law enforcement to use to follow up on the case if necessary.


Ask the manufacturer to inform the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) about the error, as the NICB represents insurance companies and retains the database of vehicles police are allowed to access. The owner is responsible for the replacement costs of all items bearing the invalid VIN, including the plate, certification label, vehicle stamp and government and insurance databases.


Don't delay on fixing VIN errors. Depending on the nature of the error and where it appears, you may be denied insurance or have your vehicle impounded. When replacing items with the invalid VIN number, the owner is liable for complying with all applicable local and state regulations.

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