Motorcycle VIN Check & VIN Inspections

ATTENTION: Be prepared to satisfy any insurance requirements when you register & title your motorcycle.

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How to Decode a Motorcycle VIN for Free

Use this free VIN decoder to look up information about any motorcycle.

Simply enter the bike’s VIN and the system will return the information it can find about the vehicle. 

We’ll provide you with unique details about the motorcycle, such as:

  • Year, make, model. 
  • Style, upgrades, and features. 
  • Engine type and engine size. 
  • And more!

Decoding the VIN is useful in a variety of situations, such as:

In some states, a motorcycle VIN Inspection is part of the title transfer and registration process. Learn all about VIN inspections here.

Where is the VIN Number on a Motorcycle?

You’ll typically find your motorcycle’s VIN in the following locations:

  • On the VIN sticker on the neck of the frame.
  • Stamped into the neck of the frame.
  • Stamped onto the engine case – engine VINs are typically different than frame VINs. (The frame VINs are what is typically used for VIN checks and verification.)

You can also find your VIN on the title and registration paperwork.

Motorcycle Frame VIN vs Engine VIN

On most bikes you’ll notice that the frame VIN and engine number are typically different.

For the purposed of your title and VIN inspection, the VIN that is stamped to the frame will be the primary VIN.

Many states do not include the engine VIN on the title at all.

State VIN Inspection Requirements

Below is a list of states that have some sort of VIN inspection requirement:

StateMotorcycle VIN Inspection
AlabamaRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
ArkansasRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
CaliforniaRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
ColoradoRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
ConnecticutRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
DelawareRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
FloridaRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
GeorgiaRequired if the motorcycle has no title.
IdahoRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
IndianaRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
KansasRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
KentuckyRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
MaineRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
MissouriRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
NebraskaRequired to register out-of-state, rebuilt, or salvage title motorcycles.
NevadaRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
New HampshireRequired for abandoned motorcycles, antique motorcycles, motorcycles from a state that only titles bikes less than 10 years old.
New MexicoRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
OhioRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
OklahomaRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
OregonRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
PennsylvaniaRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
Rhode IslandRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
TexasRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
UtahRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
VermontRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.
WashingtonRequired to register out-of-state or rebuilt motorcycles.
WyomingRequired to register out-of-state motorcycles.

What is a VIN Inspection/VIN Verification?

A VIN Inspection is not a vehicle history report or a stolen vehicle/salvage title VIN check.

For the purposes of registering and titling used, out-of-state vehicles, a VIN verification is essentially to make sure the physical state of the vehicle matches the information contained in the VIN.

A VIN inspections is a physical inspection of the motorcycle’s:

  • Year.
  • Make.
  • Model.
  • Body type.
  • Weight, if applicable.
  • Mileage.
  • Federal Certification Label.
  • Emissions label, if applicable.
  • VIN locations.
    • VIN stamps on the frame.
    • VIN stamps on the engine cases, in some states.

VIN verification are conducted by:

  • a certified employee at the DMV.
  • highway patrol.
  • a licensed VIN verification company.

The DMV and the highway patrol do not typically charge a fee for a VIN inspection, you’ll just need to bring them the bike.

If you need to get a VIN verification for your motorcycle as part of the registration process, you’ll either need to bring the bike to the DMV or highway patrol station or find and pay a VIN verification company to come to you.

The certified inspector will fill out, sign, and hand you the VIN inspection form, which you’ll need to submit as part of the registration application.

Sometimes, you may be asked to provide the title, previous registration papers, or the Bill of Sale as part of the inspection.

How to Check if a Motorcycle is Stolen

Buying a stolen motorcycle is not a situation you want to find yourself in.

Luckily, the motorcycle VIN can be used to check if a bike is stolen.

The DMV and highway patrol can check a motorcycle’s VIN to see if the bike has been reported stolen.

You can also check a VIN yourself using the NICB VIN Check.

However, you don’t always need to run a VIN to spot a stolen bike for sale. Here are some instances where you may encounter a stolen motorcycle:

  • The VIN on the frame has been obviously tampered with.
  • The seller is acting shady or trying to complete the deal quickly.
  • The seller won’t be able to provide good information about the bike’s history.
  • The deal is too good to be true.

10 thoughts on “Motorcycle VIN Check & VIN Inspections”

  1. Hi, I have ‘79 Triumph Bonneville SE that I purchased out of state and brought into CA. I was told I need two labels: 1) Emissions Label, which have, and 2) Federal Certification Label, which I DON’T have.

    What is a Federal Certification label and how do I get one please?!

    1. motorcyclezombies

      The Federal Certification Label or DOT label should be there. It’s typically attached near the headstock of the frame, or, in some cases, under the tank.

      If it is actually missing, it might be worth a call to the CHP for some advice on next steps.

  2. Hi I have a Honda Cb550f that hasn’t been registered since 1991 I don’t have a title only a bill of sale how do I get a title.

  3. I have a question, I live in MA they don’t require VIN checks for any type of vehicle and I’m trying to register it in VT cause it doesn’t have a title, the bike is a 600cc, can I get a vin check in any state?

    1. motorcyclezombies

      Yes, you can get it completed in another state for VT registration. However, Vermont temporarily waived VIN Inspection requirements due to COVID – double check before you get one done.

  4. I have a question.
    I am trying to buy a 1982 Harley Sportster from FL and register it in CA.
    The Frame vin and Engine vin DO NOT MATCH. The bike does have a clean title. (frame # is used)
    Does it matter that the engine and frame vin do not match for registering it in california???

    1. motorcyclezombies

      Nope, that doesn’t matter. In most cases on most bikes these numbers do not match. You should be all set.

    1. That may vary from state to state – but in many states, yes, most public notaries who have been authorized by the DMV can do this too.

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