Are you struggling to find the VIN on your trailer? Well, let’s give you a hand!
The position of the VIN can vary depending on the trailer. In most cases, the VIN is printed on the certification label. This will be located on the tongue or the trailer frame. This label will either be a sticker or a metal plate. If you cannot find that, the VIN may be stamped onto the trailer somewhere.
Still can’t find it? Read on. We’ve got a bit more information to share with you.
Table of Contents
Where Is The VIN on a Trailer?
Finding a VIN on a vehicle is simple. There will be a clear sticker or plate near the driver’s door. Finding the VIN on a trailer? Not so simple.
The problem with finding a VIN on a trailer is that there is no standard place to put it. Manufacturers put the VIN wherever they see fit. Normally, this will be somewhere that they find a bit of free space. So, you’ll probably have to put a bit of effort into tracking it down.
Don’t worry, though. We’ll let you know some of the more common locations for a trailer’s VIN. Later, we’ll also let you know what to do if you’re struggling to find your trailer’s VIN.
Where the VIN May Be Printed/Stamped
Again, there is no standardization here. Your VIN can appear in one of three ways:
- On a metal plate
- On a sticker
- Stamped into the metal
In most cases, the VIN will be on a metal plate or a sticker. This will also include a bit of extra information about the trailer’s certification. If you can’t find that, then hunt around for the metal stamp.
Locations of the VIN On Your Trailer
There’s no standard location for the VIN on your trailer. It could be anywhere. It’ll likely be in one of these places:
– On the tongue of the trailer
– On the frame rail (normally on the driver’s side)
– Underneath the trailer, normally near the front.
– Inside the trailer, on one of the walls.
In most cases, you’ll be looking for a sticker or a metal plate. Because this sticker or metal plate will include a decent amount of information, it should be blindingly obvious where it is. It is a rather large label!
Most trailer manufacturers will not hide the VIN, mostly because it is a very, very important piece of information. If you can’t find it, then the VIN sticker or metal plate may have fallen off.
In rare cases, the VIN may be stamped onto the trailer. This is to ensure that the trailer is identifiable if stolen, even if the plate or sticker is removed. The stamp should appear in roughly the same places that you can find the sticker/plate.
If the trailer has been stamped, and you’ve painted it, the stamp may be hidden. It should still be identifiable; it is just trickier to track down. You may need to sand off some of the paint so that you can read the VIN.
Honestly, finding the VIN on your trailer shouldn’t be too tricky. If your trailer has a VIN, then it will take just a couple of minutes of searching. As mentioned, manufacturers aren’t going to hide the VIN.
What Does a VIN Look Like?
If your trailer was manufactured before 1981, then the VIN will have 11 characters. Anything manufactured after 1981 will have 17 characters. The VIN on a trailer looks the same as a VIN on a motor vehicle.
The first 11 characters of the VIN will identify the country of manufacture, the length of the trailer, the number of axles, the model year, and the plant where the trailer was manufactured.
Your trailer will share the same information as any other similar trailer manufactured in the same location in the same year.
The last 6 characters are unique to your trailer. This is your trailer’s six-digit serial number.
If the number you have found is not 17 characters long, then you probably aren’t looking at the VIN. Well, unless your trailer was manufactured before 1981, there aren’t that many of those on the road now.
Why Doesn’t My Trailer Have a VIN?
Unless your trailer was homemade and has yet to be registered, it will have a VIN. If you can’t find it, it doesn’t mean that your trailer doesn’t have a VIN. It is just likely that the identifier has fallen off.
Most trailers nowadays include all the important trailer information on a sticker. As you can imagine, when you’re driving your trailer, all sorts of stuff will bounce up from the road and hit the sticker. Over time, the sticker will wear down. That sticker is going to be almost unreadable within a few months of regular trailer use.
While metal plates often hold up well under regular use, even they are not resistant to wear and tear.
Perhaps the most durable method for displaying a VIN on a trailer is by having it stamped directly onto the metal.
Unfortunately, very few manufacturers do that. Those that do often don’t stamp deep enough, and the number eventually wears away.
So, don’t fret if your trailer doesn’t have a VIN. It had one at one point. It can have a VIN again, although it may not necessarily be the same number that it was originally issued with.
What Should You Do If You Can’t Find Your Trailer’s VIN?
If your trailer came with any documents, then hunt around for those. Most of the time, the VIN will be written on those documents. If you’re still struggling, then you can contact the seller or original manufacturer.
If have gone through all that rigmarole and still can’t find the VIN, you can get a new VIN issued by the DMV. The rules governing this differ from state to state. In most cases, you’ll need the following:
- The trailer needs to have a valid proof of ownership.
- A bill of sale that clearly transfers ownership of the trailer to the applicant.
- The trailer will need to be inspected by the DMV. They must make sure that there is no VIN there.
Your trailer may also need to go through a few safety checks, even if it has previously been issued a VIN.
If your trailer passes the inspection, your trailer will be issued with a new VIN. You’ll get a sticker that you can place on the trailer. You are also free to stamp the trailer with a metal stamp.
Can You Register a Trailer Without a VIN?
If you want to register or obtain a title for a trailer, it will need a VIN.
This rule, mostly, applies to homemade trailers. Although, if you’re looking to gain a new title for a trailer, or wish to move the registration to another state, it will need to have a VIN.
Before the DMV gives you a new title to your trailer, they will need to inspect it for an existing VIN. If they cannot find one, they’ll walk you through the steps to obtain one.
The location of a trailer’s VIN can vary. Most of the time, it will be located on a sticker or metal plate close to the front of the trailer. In rare cases, it may be stamped onto the trailer. If you can’t find your trailer’s VIN, then you may need to talk to the DMV.
In some cases, they may be able to issue you with a new VIN. Although, you will need to prove that you have legal ownership over the trailer before they do so.
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