Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 2 of 38

Chapter 1: General Registration Information

1.170 VIN Check-Digit Requirements

Refusal of Registration

Federal statutes require DMV to refuse registration of a new vehicle (including a trailer) which does not pass check-digit.

  • Vehicles not manufactured for on-highway use which do not pass check-digit, and do not meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) are prohibited from on-highway registration in California.
  • If the VIN does not pass check digit and the vehicle is:
    • An off-highway vehicle (OHV) or a vehicle incidentally operated on the highway, the check-digit requirement may be bypassed and the application processed.
    • Not an OHV or a vehicle incidentally operated on the highway, the application will be returned. The submitter must verify the VIN on the application with the VIN assigned to the vehicle and:
If the VINThen
Was entered incorrectly on the applicationCorrect the VIN and resubmit the application.
Agrees with the VIN on the vehicle• Contact the vehicle manufacturer regarding the VIN. (A manufacturer that incorrectly computes a VIN must notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA] with the incorrect VIN and what the VIN should have been and provide the dealer with a copy of the letter sent to NHTSA).
• Resubmit the application with the copy of the letter sent to NHTSA.

Caution: Some vehicles with MSOs, such as Diahatsu and
Kawasaki, do not pass check-digit because they do not meet EPA or
NHTSA standards. These vehicles can only be registered as OHVs.

DMV will waive the administrative service fee (ASF) or registration penalty accrued when the application is cleared, if the original application was received within 20 days of the date of sale.

NHTSA’s address is:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Office of Vehicle Safety and Standards
NEF-1, Rm 5321
400 7th St. SW
Washington, DC 20590