Everything you need to know about the VIN Verification Process with the CHP

First & foremost I want confirm the following: We cannot perform a VIN verification that only the CHP is authorized to do. We make no attempts to bypass, circumvent or go around any of the rules or reasons that the DMV has referred you to the CHP. The following is being written to prepare you for your visit to the CHP. This information can help you get it done in one shot – avoiding major delays because of missing documentation or information or plain and simply because you are not ready.. I’m going to share with you real life scenarios that I have seen, and real life things you can do to avoid them.

The CHP officer that performs and specializes in VIN verification is a highly trained and specialized individual – they are not the same guy that is patrolling the highways – these people have taken several classes and courses that have enabled them to develop an eye for things that neither AAA employees, DMV employees, or private VIN Verifiers like ourselves can catch. The reason for this training is to be able to catch fraudsters and scammers and in essence to protect the public. Here’s a list of a few things you need to know about the CHP VIN Verification.

Let’s establish this: if you are getting referred to the CHP it’s for a reason. For the most part, they are valid reasons, however, there are times when you get referred to the CHP because of someone’s misunderstanding of rules or flat out laziness and ignorance. For some people, like AAA, when there is something out of the scope of what they normally see or do, they do not refer to the customer to the DMV or private VIN verifiers like Quick VIN verifications, rather, they automatically refer them to the CHP. Now, the CHP does its job, they handle what they have to handle, but due to the fact that changes in rules have caused an additional workload, some counties take weeks to get appointments due to their backlog. For that reason, it’s important to point out how sometimes YOU may have been referred to the CHP for no good reason, or invalid reasons. So for individuals in that scenario, I recommend the following:

  • If you strongly believe that the CHP referral was erroneous, ask to speak to a manager @ the DMV and clarify why you feel that way. It is NOT uncommon for DMV techs or AAA employees to just be flat out wrong. Remember, you have to have a valid reason (not just because you don’t want to go to the CHP).
  • Consult with a private VIN verifier / DMV registration service that is EXPERIENCED – when we can clearly identify that it was a mistake that you were referred to the CHP – we can help you wrap up your headache and avoid you having to deal with it yourself.

Now, moving on to the people who actually need to go the CHP. The information/advice I am going to write out to you is limited and may not be 100 % accurate due to the simple fact that access to a CHP officer is limited, and you have to go through their media people to get an actual interview. In addition, they don’t want to release too much information, due to the fact that there are criminals out there that would use that very information against the CHP’s task: to protect the public from buying chops cars.

  • If you have nothing to hide, and if you have not committed fraud or are attempting to commit fraud, you have nothing to worry about during your visit to the CHP.
  • If you do not have all of your documentation with you: supporting documentation, supporting receipts/invoices, and all of your DMV paperwork in order – DO NOT GO TO THE CHP – the staff @ the CHP that specializes in VIN verifications are EXPERT VIN verifiers – they are not one-dimensional in their knowledge. 
  • Do not come to the CHP with fake numbers: if you are bringing a $50,000 car, do not come to them with a $2,000 purchase price. First of all, they are not dumb, they can smell bull. Second, they will go out of their way to VERIFY the ACTUAL purchase price. The real number is always the best number.
  • Claiming ignorance will not save you. There’s certain protocols in place for the repair of a high value vehicle. The person that sold it to you, if they used parts with no serial numbers, will end up costing you double because in some cases the CHP will force you to swap parts for OEM parts.
  • Your vehicle must be completely assembled – do not waste your time trying to do come @ them with an incomplete vehicle.
  • For this people who do not have all their paperwork in order, and they know it, do the leg work to figure it out yourself. The bottom line is the burden falls on you.
  • So, if you KNOW your vehicle is supposed to go to the CHP and you try to bypass them by going to another DMV or to another private registration service, guess what? the CHP has the power and authority to put a VLT stop on your vehicle.
  • There is a specific list of vehicles that are AUTOMATICALLY referred to the CHP. This list of specific vehicles have been determined by the CHP and DMV (this is insider stuff – i can’t really speak on this) – so in other words, if your car is in that list, the DMV is supposed to automatically look and find a CHP vin verification.

There are a few things that trigger a VIN verification from a CHP officer:

  • The CHP officer verifies, through receipts, invoices and other means, that the vehicle was not reconstructed with used parts from stolen vehicles.
  • The CHP officer looks for possible VIN swapping.
  • The CHP is authorized to place a new VIN on the unit, (blue tagging).
  • To see the CHP, you must be referred to them by the DMV. You cannot drive up to a CHP and get a VIN verification on the spot, for the most part. Depending on the county, some CHP offices are busier than others, and could take weeks or months to be seen.
  • The CHP officer is trained in locating secondary VIN locations, and are not allowed to disclose them.
  • The CHP officer will not inspect an incomplete vehicle, unless a part has to be removed in order for the VIN to be identified.
  • There’s a special CHP office in San Bernardino that inspects specific years, makes and models. These models will automatically go to the CHP because of their higher probability of theft and or parts swapping.
  • The form the CHP gives you is CHP 97C when the inspection is complete.
  • The CHP can hold your registration/titling process and have the power to place a VLT stop.
  • Vehicles without a Federal Label are referred to the CHP.
  • Motorcycles with unavailable records will automatically go to the CHP.
  • Grey-market vehicles are referred to the CHP.

If there is more to add to this list, only a CHP officer knows! Many people freak out when it’s time to go to the CHP, but the truth is, it is rare when things “go bad” at the CHP – if it does go bad, it’s for a reason! One last thing, once you are referred to the CHP – do not look for a way around it – it will always catch up to you.

Want to learn more? Click here on The Ultimate Guide to VIN Verifications & VIN Verifiers
Contact us with your questions.
We can verify your car, truck, trailer, or motorcycle and we can also help you register or transfer your vehicle into your name.