Vehicle identification number (VIN) inspections are conducted for a variety of reasons:
- to verify a vehicle description
- to verify the vehicle in possession is the same vehicle documented on the title paperwork
- to correct inaccurate data on a title
- to verify that no VIN exists prior to issuing a state-assigned VIN
- to properly identify rebuilt salvage vehicles (excluding vessels, snowmobiles and off-highway vehicles)
There are two stages of VIN inspections. An inspection stage is assigned based on the reason the VIN inspection is required. Requirements and fees differ between the two stages, so read the following information carefully.
Stage I VIN Inspections
Stage I VIN inspections are required if the identity of the vehicle is in question or when a Canadian registration or a bonded application is submitted. Proof of ownership is not required for Stage I VIN inspections.
Local law enforcement officials, driver license exam station staff, and participating local county treasurer’s motor vehicle office staff are authorized to perform Stage I VIN inspections. The VIN inspector must complete the appropriate sections of the Vehicle/OHV Identification Number Inspection (Form MV20) during the inspection.
For Stage I VIN inspections performed by driver license exam station staff, the customer is required to schedule a Stage I VIN inspection appointment at a driver license exam station through the online Appointment Scheduling Service.
Stage III VIN Inspections
Stage III VIN inspections are required on all vehicles with an out-of-state or Montana salvage certificate.
Note: Stage III VIN inspections are not required on non-motorized trailers.
Commercial Vehicle Operator Licensing (CVOL) examiners, driver licensing regional managers and motor vehicle compliance specialists are authorized to perform Stage III VIN inspections. The VIN inspector must complete the appropriate sections of the Vehicle Inspection Report (Form MV208) during the inspection.
For a Stage III VIN inspection, the customer is required to:
- schedule a Stage III VIN inspection appointment by telephone in the appropriate driver licensing region
- provide required titling documentation (e.g., salvage certificates, bills of sale, purchase receipts to prove acquisition of all component parts used in the rebuilding process)
- determine the age of the vehicle by subtracting the vehicle model year from the current calendar year
- pay the associated fee