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1.165 Vehicle Verifications

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Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

Chapter 1 General Registration Information

1.165 Vehicle Verifications

DMV may require a physical inspection of a vehicle (verification of vehicle) prior to completing a vehicle registration application.

A verification of vehicle is always required for:

  • Registration of a vehicle last registered out of state. (see exceptions on the next page).
  • Reregistration of a previous “junk” or “salvage” vehicle, unless the application contains a CHP Certificate of Inspection (CHP 97C) form.
  • Registration of a specially constructed (SPCNS) motor vehicle or trailer.
  • A vehicle for which DMV does not have a record, except a new vehicle reported sold by a licensed California dealer on an Application for Registration of a New Vehicle (REG 397) form.
  • Recording an engine change, motorcycle engine case change, or change from engine number to vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • Assignment of an identifying VIN number by DMV.
  • When the VIN shown on certificates is different from the VIN shown on record. (including vehicles being junked).

A verification of vehicle is not required for:

  • A new trailer purchased in another state and eligible for registration under the permanent trailer identification (PTI) program, provided:
    • The trailer has never been registered.
    • The trailer has not been modified, altered, or assembled from a kit.
    • A secure manufacturer’s certificate/statement of origin (MCO/MSO) is submitted for the complete trailer.
  • A new commercial vehicle purchased in another state as a complete vehicle or as an incomplete vehicle to which a new body was added to make a complete vehicle, provided the vehicle:
    • Has never been registered or issued International Registration Plan (IRP) registration in California or was issued IRP registration within the last 60 days only.
    • Has not been modified, altered, or assembled from a kit.
    • Has an unladen weight of 6,001 pounds or more.
    • Meets California emission standards.

Note: A verification of vehicle is required for a vehicle that does not meet California emission standards.

Authorized Vehicle Verifiers are:

  • DMV employees.
  • Peace officers including military police (California Penal Code §830).
  • Employees of auto clubs that provide registration services.
    • Auto club verifiers must include the abbreviation of their auto club name with their signature.
  • Persons licensed as vehicle verifiers by DMV.
    • Licensed vehicle verifiers cannot do VIN inspections for revived salvage, revived junk, SPCNS vehicles, or motorcycles with an unavailable California record (last registered in California but a record no longer appears on the DMV database).

Form Completion

The verification of a vehicle is always completed on the Verification of Vehicle (REG 31) form unless an Application for Assigned Vehicle Identification Number Plate (REG 124) form is required.

See the Vehicle Verifier License Handbook for instructions and note:

  • Verifications of incomplete or unassembled vehicles (parts) are not acceptable. For an electric motorcycle, the serial number on the electric motor will be used as the engine number.
  • Emission label verification for nonresident vehicles may be completed by an authorized vehicle verifier or peace officer.
  • The federal safety label is used as a second source of public VIN verification. When missing or illegible, an alternate, accessible VIN must be located by a DMV employee.

Exception: Off-highway vehicles may not have a federal safety label but may be processed if the VIN has not been altered.

  • All descriptive information requested on the form must be physically inspected and completed, except:
    • Axles–completed only for commercial vehicles and trailers other than camp
      trailers or trailer coaches.
    • Estimated weight–completed only for trailers other than camp trailers or trailer coaches.
    • Length/width–completed only for camp trailers, trailer coaches, and motor
      homes.
 
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