Removing VIN Numbers From A Vehicle Is Not Allowed

  • 2 min read

This is why you have to be very careful with the vehicle identification numbers (VIN) on certain types of vehicles, particularly some motorcycles. In this case, we’re going to talk about Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

This is a case where someone was in a high-speed chase, they got pulled over and ran out of gas, but that’s not the important part. What happened is this person was accused of grinding down VINs on the motorcycle. Why is this a bad thing?

The VIN is the number that is officially designated for the vehicle, every vehicle has its own unique VIN. And that’s the number that shows up on a title. So if you have a vehicle with a lien or it’s stolen, that VIN will keep you from selling it, registering it, or titling it. But sometimes, criminals can obscure the number on the VIN plate and appear to change them. 

In this case, the vehicle had a lien on it from a bank. So what they did was they swapped out some parts and ground down the numbers from the VIN plate on the parts to make it seem like it was a legitimate vehicle. First of all, tampering with the VIN is a felony by itself. You don’t want to have any kind of altered, changed, or removed VINs on a vehicle. But also, you’re not going to get too far because even if you grind down the numbers, the metal plate was compressed, creating a depression underneath that will always reveal the original VIN. Even if it was scraped down, there are certain types of chemicals you can actually use to bring back that VIN plate. 

So you won’t solve anything by removing a VIN from a vehicle, and we never recommend you attempt it. In this case, they were processing it for forfeiture when they discovered the VIN was ground off. Be very careful with motorcycles, especially because in some cases, the VIN is stamped on the engine, not on the frame. So if the engine is swapped, it may indicate that there are title problems for the vehicle. Be careful with VINs and be aware that you don’t want to remove or alter any VINs on a motor vehicle because it’s a felony offense.

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