California DMV VIN verification process

First and foremost, it is imperative to understand that this is a physical inspection. Neither pictures or video will substitute what actually has to happen: that a licensed VIN verifier, AAA employee, CHP officer or DMV employee must lay eyes on the car, truck, motorcycle or trailer. It is illegal to perform to fill out the REG 31 form without actually physically inspecting the vehicle. The reason for this has everything to do with fraud prevention, registering the wrong vehicle, or, incorrectly registering a vehicle. California has millions of vehicles that enters the state on annual basis, so the way that they guide themselves on registering your car, truck, motorcycle or trailer the REG 31 form is used as a guide. Here are the 10 steps in the California DMV VIN verification process:


  1. Document the vehicle license plate, permit, or dealer plate.
  2. Document the number of axles
  3. Document the fuel type
  4. Document whether or not it is an OHV, and if it is, a complying or non-complying unit
  5. Document the VIN number
  6. Document the category (automobile, commercial, permanent trailer, coach trailer, motorcycle, or OHV)
  7. If the unit is a motorcycle, document the engine number
  8. Document the BTM (this is the unit's configuration, example: pickup, sedan, couple, etc etc)
  9. Document the year
  10. Document the make, model, number of wheels
  11. Document the VIN location, how it is affixed to the unit, and what type of identification it has, such as metal plate or adhesive.
  12. Document the VIN condition in appearance.
  13. Indicate how the year was determined.
  14. Confirm whether or not the federal label, if it has one, matches the primary VIN.
  15. Document the current odometer, if any (sometimes the battery runs out of juice, or the vehicle is so old, it doesn't have one).
  16. Indicate which document was used to compare the VIN on the unit.
  17. Document whether or not this vehicle is EPA and or California compliant & also document the engine family number.
  18. Document where the VIN verification was performed.
  19. And the final step, sign and date the VIN verification form.


I have listed for you the several things we have to document when we perform a VIN verification, however, it usually takes between 5-10 minutes, depending on the unit. By far, the most time consuming ones in my experience or diesel powered motor homes. This is due to the fact that the engine bay is accessible through the floor of the motor home, underneath the bed in the rear!


Are you ready to take the next step and schedule a VIN verificaiton? Call us @ 951-409-9091 or schedule an appointment!


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