The Bay area and the 9 San Francisco Bay (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma) county residents who need a VIN verification are not limited to going to the Department of Motor Vehicles any longer. For your convenience, there are more suitable alternatives for you that make it a lot easier for you to satisfy the California Department of Motor Vehicles requirements for registering your automobile, truck, trailer, or off-highway vehicle. In this article, we will answer some of the most common questions when it comes to getting your VIN verification done in the Bay Area.
A VIN verification is a California DMV inspection required to get your out-of-state vehicle registered in the DMV database. It is a physical inspection of the vehicle – this inspection is documented on the REG31 / VIN verifier form shown below.
A vehicle verifier follows the REG31 form from top to bottom and fills out the sections as they go along. Some of those items that are required to be documented are:
The vehicle year, make, and model
The VIN location
The number of wheels
The number of axles
The license plate on the vehicle
The fuel type the vehicle uses
The status of the US Federal Certification Label
The emissions label
The Odometer reading.
In addition to this, we document the type of vehicle it is, such as a commercial, automobile, permanent trailer, coach trailer, or motorcycle. Here are a few photos of what we saw on this 2017 Lamborghini Huracan.
The VIN Verification process is exactly as it says, to verify the vehicle identification number of the vehicle. A vehicle identification number is a unique number that identifies the vehicle – no two vehicles should have the same VIN. This process ensures that the vehicle actually exists (not just on paper), and second, that the vehicle identification number on the vehicle itself matches what is on the title.
To obtain a VIN verifier’s license is inexpensive and relatively easy – the training to become a verifier is minimal, however, the task that ASAP vehicle verifiers perform is very important in protecting the public against theft, fraud, and any other type of illegal activity some people want to try to do. It’s a preventative measure to facilitate catching activity that is fraudulent or avoiding an honest mistake. I would like to consider us as a gatekeeper against fraud & preventer of mistakes.
With each option that is available to you, there are benefits and drawbacks that you must be made aware of before you choose the option that is more suitable for you. It is important to know who can perform VIN verification inspections and who can’t:
Pro: If you are a member, your membership includes the vehicle verification service, along with the other services they provide.
Con: The traveling VIN inspection service is NOT an option. Furthermore, they cannot perform inspections on salvage vehicles.
Pro: There is no cost. Generally speaking, they can do most inspections, including verify salvage cars. But you must have your paperwork in order prior to being seen by them for your inspection – you can no longer just drive up and have a vehicle verifier inspect your vehicle.
Con: The traveling VIN inspection is NOT an option. There might be a wait to be seen by them depending on their workload for that particular day.
Pro: There is no cost. But you must have your paperwork in order prior to being seen by them, and you must be referred to them by the DMV. They are the ultimate authority on vehicle identification number inspections and there isn’t a unit that they cannot verify. For more information on the CHP VIN verifications please read this section of my website. Generally speaking, they handle the tough inspections that others aren’t trained or authorized to do.
Con: The traveling VIN inspection is NOT an option. They do not see customers unless they were referred to them by the DMV. Furthermore, you might have to wait weeks to get an appointment with them.
Quick VIN Verification:
Pro: We come to you. We are friendly. We are fast. We are predictable. Our business is dedicated to making the experience as seamless as possible. You set the time and place – and we are there. Licensed vehicle verifiers keep you away from the DMV, away from the long lines – and allow you to stay home, or at any place, you’d rather be, other than the DMV.
Con: We do have a service fee. Additionally, we are prohibited from inspecting salvage vehicles, vehicles without a federal label, foreign vehicles, or motorcycles with no supporting documents.
As you can see, what sets private parties apart from AAA, DMV and the CHP is that we offer mobile vehicle verifications.
Private VIN verifiers are prohibited from doing a Vin inspection on certain vehicles & for certain scenarios. These are listed below:
Inspections on vehicles that are to be revived salvage
Inspections on vehicles that have been junked
Vehicles that are 1980 or newer who do not have their Federal Safety label
Motorcycles who have no supporting documents or who were in the DMV database before and fell off
Gray market or direct import vehicles
If you are being referred to the CHP by the DMV it’s for a specific reason. In rare situations, a CHP referral is a mistake and the result of a misunderstanding or lack of knowledge. I’ll address the most common reasons you are referred to the CHP:
You have a late model vehicle that is a revived salvaged or junked vehicle. Newer vehicles are almost always referred to the CHP because they want to make sure that the vehicle was not rebuilt with stolen parts. CHP officers that are trained to perform VIN verifications mostly look for is that this recently crashed vehicle is not being rebuilt with stolen parts from other vehicles. Additionally, they fill out a proper form that only they have access to. They perform vehicle verifications that neither AAA, DMV, or a licensed vehicle verifier are authorized or trained to do.
You have a vehicle whose public VIN is missing (the VIN that is easily seen from outside of the vehicle).
You have a motorcycle that has fallen off of the DMV database and has NO supporting documentation.
You have a motorcycle that needs engine changes.
Listed below are a few reasons why you will be mistakenly referred to the CHP:
They don’t know that this particular early model vehicle doesn’t have a secondary VIN. Many early model vehicles had the public VIN in one location only.
They don’t know that the engine & VIN numbers are one and the same for an early model vehicle.
In addition to offering verification services for your vehicles we are closely associated with a registration service called Quick Auto Tags – call them to get your car licensed & titled. Listed below are some of the other requirements & documents you will need to complete the DMV registration process in California after your vehicle has been VIN verified for your non-resident vehicle:
Your out-of-state title, MSO (manufacturer’s statement of origin), or registration card (if you’re only registering your car).
For all gas-powered & some diesel-powered vehicles, you must get a smog check.
For commercial vehicles, pickup trucks (this includes small pickups, like El Caminos) you must get a California Weight-master Certificate.
For all cars, trucks, coach trailers, and most PTI trailers a VIN verification.
PTI trailer exception: If you have a brand new trailer that falls within the permanent trailer category, and it has an MSO, and it was purchased out of state, you will not have to get one.
Reg 343 form for ALL vehicles or trailers.
Reg 4017 form for trailers that fall under the PTI (permanent trailer) program
The VIN verification process is mostly used for bringing in vehicles that are not in the DMV database into the DMV system, however, it is also used for other reasons by the DMV and other entities. Below I will list a few of those scenarios:
The vehicle was in a tow yard, the tow yard initiated a lien sale, the owner of the vehicle has recovered their vehicle from the tow yard but there is a lien authorized on file. To lift the lien authorized the DMV uses the VIN verification process to confirm that the registered owner has recovered their vehicle and has physical possession of the vehicle once again.
You have a large commercial truck registered through IRP (international registration program). The IRP unit wants you to get a VIN verification to confirm the mileage (this process documents the mileage for them).
Your vehicle is being converted from one type of vehicle to another (change in body type model). An example of this is, you have a 2021 Ram 3500 that is registered as a pickup, but now you put a camper shell on it, and it is now a pickup mounted camper (PM) changing it into an automobile.
Your vehicle has fallen off of the DMV system and it needs to be re-introduced into the DMV system. (Our parent company Quick Auto Tags is a license registration service and can help you out with this).
The VIN on a car does not match the VIN on my title – this is a simple fix that the California verification process can correct.
Some individuals or companies, such as dealerships or rental car fleets, may have multiple vehicles that need verification. For this scenario, by far, the #1 solution is to have a mobile VIN verifier come to your location and get all your VIN verifications done. There are super volume discounts for auto dealerships when there are multiple units at one location. One of our asap vehicle verifiers will get it done for you! Call us to make an appointment: 415-683-3238
The costs depend on whether you want a mobile VIN verification or if you are willing to drive to the respective businesses to get it done. Below are the costs associated with each of the aforementioned places:
Quick VIN Verification – mobile, licensed vehicle verifiers come to you: between $100 – $197 in the service area. Or if you decide to visit our local office it will be $60.
AAA – at their VIN verify place – it is included in their membership, they do not service non-members
DMV – no cost
CHP – no cost
Quick VIN Verification accepts cash, check, Zelle, Venmo, credit cards or debit cards.
Our service area covers the San Francisco bay area and the 9 San Francisco Bay area counties. We service the communities listed below: