What’s a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?


Since 1954, American automobile manufacturers have used a vehicle identification number (V.I.N.).  The early VINs came in a wide array of configurations and variations, depending on the individual manufacturer.


Beginning with model year (MY) 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration required that all over-the-road-vehicles sold must contain a 17-character VIN.  The standard established a fixed VIN format.


Why should this be important to me?


The Office of Odometer Fraud Investigation reported that “Odometer tampering continues to be a serious crime and consumer fraud issue.  In 2002, National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined this crime allows more than 450,000 vehicles to be sold each year with false odometer readings, milking American car buyers out of more than $1 billion annually.”


The NHTSA web-site states “From 2002 to 2005, we have seen a definite escalation of odometer fraud.  New car prices, coupled with the increased demand for late-model used cars, has made odometer fraud more profitable than ever.  Strong enforcement of the federal and state odometer laws, i.e., prosecutions with stiff sentences, appears to be the most effective deterrent.”


Where can consumers find VIN information?


There are two companies, CARFAX and AutoCheck, that offer a service of researching and providing VIN histories to consumers.  Both AutoCheck and CARFAX can be located on the Internet.  Please be aware that Credit Union Services, LLC provides the names for reference purposes.  A decision to purchase a copy of a vehicle history report is the sole responsibility of the consumer 


We do suggest that used-vehicle buyers request a copy of the VIN report from the dealer prior to the purchase of the vehicle.  Vehicle auctions often provide a copy to dealers and, in turn, many dealers will provide a copy for the consumer.


The following information is provided from the NHTSA Web-site.


Title & Odometer Records: How to Access Them by State

Congress, in passing the law which prohibits odometer tampering, stated that car buyers rely heavily on the mileage to determine the value, safety, and reliability of a vehicle.  If you doubt the stated mileage of the vehicle you purchased, we recommend that you contact the state(s) in which the vehicle has been titled to obtain a title history.  A title history can provide crucial information about the vehicle's odometer history.

Every state requires that a private party purchaser of a vehicle obtain a title or certificate of registration in his or her name.  These transactions result in records that will contain odometer readings and odometer statements.  Federal law requires that the mileage of a vehicle be disclosed on the title each time the title is transferred.  Every state maintains title history records.

Use this listing to locate the address of the state agency where title records can be obtained.  This listing is not intended to be all inclusive, but can be used as a starting point to research a mileage and ownership history.

When requesting a title history, be sure to specify that it must include all odometer mileage at all ownership transfers.  You MUST also include the vehicle's identification number, along with the year, make, and model.   We recommend that you include the name of the last titled owner in that state and/or the state's title number if known.  This extra information might mean the difference between a "no record" response and obtaining the complete history.  Some states may not release the title history due to privacy considerations.  Be sure to specify that the purpose for your request is to obtain evidence of odometer tampering and may therefore qualify as a permissible use under 18 USC Section 2721(b)(2), motor vehicle safety.

Contact the state office before sending your request. The costs listed below may have changed. If the cost of the history depends on how many past titled owners the vehicle has had, send enough money to cover one past transaction and request the state to call or write to let you know how many past titled owners the vehicle had and how much money to send.  Include your daytime telephone number with your request.  Do not send cash.

When you receive the title history, examine the mileage statements carefully for apparent alterations and erasures before they were submitted to the state.  Then, contact prior owners to verify the mileages that appear on the title records.

If you have further questions about ordering a title history, telephone the listed agency before proceeding.  If timeliness is a major concern, many states will provide a fast service for a nominal charge. (Revised 5/11/06)


Department of Revenue
Motor Vehicle Division
Title Section
50 N. Ripley St
PO Box 327640
Montgomery, AL  36132-7640
(334) 242-9102

Division of Motor Vehicles
1300 W. Benson Blvd
Anchorage, AK  99503-3600
(907) 269-5551

Motor Vehicle Division
1801 West Jefferson
PO Box 2100
Phoenix, AZ   85001-2100

602) 255-0072
$3 for each titled owner in history.  Include  reason for request and notarized signature.

Office of Motor Vehicles
PO Box 1272
Little Rock, AR  72203

$1, plus $1 per title copy

Department of Motor Vehicles
PO Box 942869
Sacramento, CA  94269-0001
(800) 777-0133
$5 for each titled owner in history  plus $20 for copies. Include reason for request.

Department of Revenue
Motor Vehicle Business Group
Titles & Registration
Denver, CO  80261-0016
(303) 205-5608
$6 for each titled owner in history (non-refundable)

Department of Motor Vehicles
60 State St
Wethersfield, CT  06161

(860) 263-5700

Division of Motor Vehicles
Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 698
Dover, DE  19903

(302) 744-2500
$4 for each titled owner in history

Dept of Motor Vehicle Services
301 C St, NW
Washington, DC 20001

(202) 727-5000
$2 for each titled owner in history

Division of Motor Vehicles
Neil Kirkman Building
2900 Apalachee Parkway
Tallahassee, FL  32399-0500
(850) 922-9000
$1 for each page

Dept of Motor Vehicle Safety
Motor Vehicle Services
PO Box 740381
Atlanta, GA  30374-0381
(404) 362-6500

Dept of Customer Services
Division of Motor Vehicles, Licensing & Permits
PO Box 30330
Honolulu, HI  96820-0330
(808) 532-7700
No fee

Transportation Department
Division of Motor Vehicles
PO Box 7129
Boise, ID  83707-1129
(208) 334-8000

Secretary of State's Office
Vehicle Services Department
501 S. 2nd St, Room 312
Springfield, IL  62756
(217) 785-3000

Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Government Center North
100 N. Senate Ave
, Rm N440
Indianapolis, IN  46204
(317) 233-6000
$4 plus 50 cents for each page

Department of Transportation
Office of Vehicle Services
100 Euclid Ave
PO Box  9278

Des Moines, IA  50306-9278

(515) 237-3049 or 237-3148
$2.70 for every 15 minutes searching plus 10 cents for each copy of a title

Department of Revenue
Division of Vehicles
Docking State Office Building
915 Southwest Harrison
Topeka, KS  66626-0001
(785) 296-3621

Transportation Cabinet
Division of Motor Vehicle Licensing
PO Box 2014
Frankfort, KY  40622-2014
(502) 564-5301

Department of Public Safety
Motor Vehicle Division
7979 Independence Blvd
PO Box 64886
Baton Rouge, LA  70896-4886
(225) 925-6388 or
(877) 368-5463

Secretary of State
Bureau of Motor Vehicles
29 State House Station
Augusta, ME  04333-0029
(207) 624-9000

Motor Vehicle Administration
6601 Ritchie Highway, NE
Glen Burnie, MD  21062

(301) 729-4550
$2 for each titled owner in history

Registry of Motor Vehicles
Title Division
PO Box 199136
Boston, MA  02119-9136
(617) 351-9550

Department of State
7064 Crowner Drive
Lansing, MI  48918

(517) 322-1460
$6.55 for each titled owner in history, telephone requests accepted

Driver and Vehicles Services Division
445 Minnesota St
St. Paul, MN  55105

(651) 296-6911
$4 plus $1 for each titled owner in history

State Tax Commission
Office of Revenue / Title Bureau
PO Box 1383
Jackson, MS  39215

(601) 923-7200
$4.50 for each titled owner in history

Department of Revenue
Driver & Vehicle Services Bureau
301 W. High
P.O. Box 100
Jefferson City, MO  65105-0100
(573) 751-8383
$4 for each titled owner in history

Department of Justice
Motor Vehicle Division
Title & Registration Bureau
1003 Buckskin Dr.
Deer Lodge, MT  59722-2371
(406) 486-6000
$6, plus 50 cents for each copy

Department of Motor Vehicles
301 Centennial Mall South
PO Box 94789
Lincoln, NE  68509-4789
(402) 471-3918
$1 for each titled owner in history

Department of Motor Vehicles
555 Wright Way
Carson City, NV  89711

(775) 684-4368

Department of Safety
Division of Motor Vehicles
James Hayes Safety Building
23 Hazen Dr.
Concord, NH  03305
(603) 271-2251

Motor Vehicle Commission
225 E. State St
Trenton, NJ  08666

(609) 292-6500

Motor Vehicle Division
Joseph M. Montoya Building
P.O. Box 1028
Santa Fe, NM  87504-1028
(505) 827-2257
$10 if only one titled owner, $25 for more than 1 titled owner

Department of Motor Vehicles
6 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY  12228
(518) 486-4714
$5 (Check or money order payable to "The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles"

Division of Motor Vehicles
Motor Vehicles Building
1100 New Bern Ave
Raleigh, NC  27697
(919) 715-7000

Department of Transportation
Motor Vehicle Division
608 East Boulevard Ave
Bismarck, ND  58505-0780
(701) 328-2725

Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Title Division
1970 W. Broad St
P.O. Box 16520
Columbus, OH  43216-6520
(614) 752-7671

Tax Commission
Motor Vehicle Division
2501 Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73194
(405) 521-3221
$1 for each titled owner in history

Department of Transportation
Driver & Motor Vehicle Services
1905 Lane Ave, NE
, OR  97314

(503) 945-5000

Bureau of Motor Vehicles
1101 S. Front St
Harrisburg, PA  17104-2516

(717) 391-6190
$5 for each titled owner

Division of Motor Vehicles
286 Main St
PawtucketRI  02860

(401) 588-3020

Department of Motor Vehicles
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC  29016

(803) 737-4000

Dept of Revenue & Regulation
Division of Motor Vehicles
445 E. Capital Ave
Pierre, SD 57501-3185

(605) 773-3541

Department of Safety
Title & Registration Division
44 Vantage Way, Suite 160
Nashville, TN  37243-8050

(615) 741-3101

Department of Transportation
Vehicle Titles & Registration Division
Austin, TX  78779-0001
(512) 465-7611

State Tax Commission
Motor Vehicle Division
210 North1950 West
Salt Lake City, UT  84134
(801) 297-7780
$2 for each titled owner

Agency of Transportation
Department of Motor Vehicles
120 State St
Montpelier, VT  05603-0001
(802) 828-2000

of Motor Vehicles
2300 W. Broad St
PO Box 27412

Richmond, VA 23269

(866) 368-5463
$5 for each titled owner in history

Department of Licensing
Vehicle Licensing
PO Box 9909
Olympia, WA  98507

(360) 902-3770
$2 for each titled owner in history

Department of Transportation
Division of Motor Vehicles
1800 Kanawha Blvd E, Bldg 3
Charleston, WV  25317
(304) 558-3900

Department of Transportation
Division of Motor Vehicles
PO Box 7918
Madison, WI  53707-7998
(608) 266-1466
$2 for each titled owner in history plus 25 cents per page, telephone requests accepted

Department of Transportation
Motor Vehicle Services
5300 Bishop Blvd
Cheyenne, WY  82009-3340

(307) 777-4851