Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 2 of 38

Chapter 1: General Registration Information

1.160 Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Plate Assignments (VC §4161)

DMV will assign and affix a VIN plate when required for original registration of the following vehicles:

  • Trailers with an unladen weight under 6,000 pounds (except logging and auxiliary dollies).
  • Trailer coaches.
  • Special mobile equipment.
  • Implements of husbandry.
  • New motorcycles (except specially constructed [SPCNS] motorcycles).
  • Snowmobiles (except when the VIN has been defaced or obliterated).

All documents and requirements for the registration application must be complete before a VIN plate is assigned.

DMV refers all requests for assigned VIN plates on the following vehicles to the California Highway Patrol (CHP):

  • SPCNS motor vehicles.
  • Motorcycles (except new). Older motorcycles registered by engine number only must be assigned a frame number by CHP before being registered with DMV.
  • Passenger vehicles.
  • Commercial motor vehicles.
  • Commercial trailers 6,000 pounds or more unladen.
  • Logging dollies and auxiliary dollies.
  • Snowmobiles (when the VIN has been defaced or obliterated).
  • Volkswagen body changes.

CHP must verify a vehicle when:

  • Its identity cannot be confirmed or there is a discrepancy between the public and alternate VIN.
  • The public or alternate VIN has been altered or tampered in any way.
  • The Federal Certification Label is missing or illegible, and an alternate VIN cannot be located.