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How to Obtain a Replacement VIN Tag for an Auto

by Larry Parr

It's rarely easy dealing with any government agency, but sometimes it's necessary. To get a legal replacement VIN tag for your auto, you have no choice but to deal with your local motor vehicles department. You must bring your car in for a thorough inspection; in some states the highway patrol office itself will inspect it.

Gather the relevant paperwork. Get copies of your auto insurance information, your registration and, if available, the title ("pink slip"). Some states require you to provide a clear tittle going all the way back to the original dealer purchase; other states will help you in your search. In either case, it is important that you provide as much title information as you can about your vehicle.

Call your local motor vehicles department (the agency in your state that issues driver's licenses) to confirm that it handles issuing replacement VINs.

Take your vehicle and the paperwork to an office of your state's highway patrol if directed to do so by your local DMV office.

Your car will be inspected. The inspecting officer will check information on the driver's door post as well as the VIN number stamped on the engine block.

If the inspector is satisfied, you will be issued a temporary VIN plate, known as a "blue tag." Some states will immediately direct you to a state-sanctioned shop where your permanent VIN tag will be made and mounted. Other states will mail the VIN tag to you.

When the new VIN tag arrives in the mail, take it to the shop listed on your paperwork, where it will be officially mounted onto your car.


  • Do not attach the VIN tag yourself. Plates must be mounted with approved rivets.


  • Failure to follow all the instructions from your local motor vehicles department or from your state's highway patrol could result in an illegal VIN tag.

Items you will need


About the Author

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for television, everything from "Smurfs" to "Spider-Man." Today Parr train dogs and write articles on a variety of topics for websites worldwide.

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