All road vehicles have a vehicle identification number or VIN. That number is crucial as it helps to identify road-worthy vehicles. Trailers also have a VIN and you should know how to find it on the trailer’s frame.
You can easily find the VIN on a trailer’s frame near the tongue or its axles. The 17-digit number is etched directly onto the trailer’s frame or onto a metal plate that’s then welded onto it. Alternatively, check the user manual or the trailer’s insurance or registration documents. Lastly, consider asking the seller or the manufacturer.
Keep reading to find out more!
Table of Contents
What Does The VIN Number Look Like On A Trailer?
Before you go searching for the VIN number on your trailer, you’ll want to know precisely what it is and what it looks like. The first thing you must understand is that the VIN consists of 17 digits in a row.
Those numbers are a code that tells the trailer’s whole life story, like what country it came from, who made it, and when it was produced.
Besides that, manufacturers also tend to use two different methods to present those numbers on the trailers they produce.
Firstly, you’ll find that some trailers have VIN numbers etched directly into the metal frame. In some cases, that might make those numbers much more challenging to spot, as you’ll have to stand much closer to the trailer to recognize them.
Alternatively, you’ll also find trailers have their VIN etched onto a metal plate. The VIN will be there along with other important details like the trailer’s serial number, model number, manufacturer name, and much more.
In other words, the metal plate serves as a centralized place for all of the trailer’s crucial information. It makes finding that information quick and easy for the owner, a potential buyer, or even the authorities who want to know more about it.
How Can You Find The VIN Number On A Trailer?
Firstly, you must understand that there is no rule telling manufacturers where to put the VIN on their trailers. So even if the VIN is on one part of a particular trailer, you might not find it in the same spot on another one.
Here are the three places you’ll likely find the VIN on a trailer:
1. At The Tongue
The first and most common place you’ll find a trailer’s VIN is somewhere at the tongue. In other words, the first place you should check is at the section between the trailer bed and the coupler.
The VIN being somewhere at the tongue is especially common these days with newer trailers. That’s because there is an increasing number of manufacturers choosing to put the number in the same spot.
As you read earlier, the VIN itself could be etched directly onto the trailer’s frame or onto a metal plate. So, you’ll want to look closely as you search for it and use a flashlight, if necessary.
2. At One Of The Axles
If you can’t find the VIN somewhere near the tongue, the next place to check is at one of the trailer’s axles.
That’s another common place that manufacturers will use to etch the VIN along with other important information about the trailer.
Remember: trailers can have one or more axles. So, you’ll want to know how many axles your trailer has before searching them for the VIN. That way, you’re more likely to find that information quickly.
3. Somewhere Along The Frame
Remember: there’s no fixed rule telling manufacturers where to place the VIN on a trailer. So if you can’t find it at the tongue or anywhere near the axles, it’s likely somewhere else along the frame.
Searching and inspecting a trailer frame for its VIN can be quite time-consuming, so it’s best to take an organized approach to it.
You can do so by inspecting one side of the trailer at a time and moving from its front at the tongue to the rear near the tail lights.
Do Some Trailers Not Have A VIN Number?
Yes, it’s true that some trailers simply do not have a VIN anywhere on them, particularly those produced before 1981.
It’s only in recent decades that manufacturers have been required to display the VIN on the trailer frame.
Fun fact: road vehicles, in general, only started using the VIN in 1951. It took a couple of decades before a requirement was put in place for trailers to be registered and receive a VIN.
What Do I Do If I Can’t Find The VIN Number On My Trailer?
Suppose your trailer was made after 1981, yet you still can’t find its VIN. Perhaps the frame suffered damage, making the VIN etchings completely unreadable. In that case, you’ll have to be a bit more creative when searching for its VIN.
Here are 4 alternative ways to find the VIN for your trailer:
- Read the manual: Firstly, check the user manual for your trailer. Some manufacturers include the VIN and serial number in the manual to act as an easy reference.
- Check its documents: Alternatively, you’ll likely find the VIN on the trailer’s official documents. That includes papers regarding its registration, insurance, or purchase. The VIN is often included in those documents to identify the trailer correctly.
- Cross-reference serial number: Earlier, you read that trailers also have serial numbers on them. If you can’t find the VIN but the serial number is visible, you can cross-reference it in the manual or documents to find the VIN.
- Ask the seller or manufacturer: Last but certainly not least, you can also ask the person you bought the trailer from or the manufacturer that made it. The seller will likely have some record of the trailer and its VIN. Meanwhile, the manufacturer could use the serial number to find the corresponding VIN.
As you can see, there are plenty of other options for finding your trailer’s VIN if you can’t find it etched directly onto its frame. So, don’t worry if you can’t find it.
Just remember that the VIN is a unique identifier for the trailer. That means the VIN is in many more places than just its physical frame.
You can find it on documents related to the trailer or by simply asking the people who made and sold the unit to you!
Are You Allowed To Tow A Trailer Without A VIN?
No, you cannot tow a trailer if it doesn’t have a VIN. That’s because all road vehicles must be registered and identified with the correct information. The VIN is how a trailer is identified.
Towing a trailer without a VIN is a bad idea. If you get pulled over, you might be subject to fines or other applicable punishments based on state and federal laws.
So, always make sure that your trailer has a VIN before you take it out on the road!
The vehicle identification number (VIN) is a crucial set of numbers that identifies all vehicles on the road. That also includes trailers which are required to have a VIN so the authorities can identify them easily.
You can find the number etched directly onto the trailer frame or onto a metal plate welded onto the same frame.
If you can’t find the VIN that way, check the user manual or any official documentation you have for the trailer. You can also use the trailer’s serial number to ask the seller or manufacturer to check their records.
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