Vin Information

Since 1954, the American automobile manufacturers have used a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) that describes the vehicle for purposes of identification. Variations exist in VIN locations and VIN systems used by the different manufacturers as well as from year to year by each manufacturer.

Beginning with the 1981 model year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Department of Transportation, required manufacturers selling over-the-road vehicles in the United States to produce the vehicles with a 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN).

The first three characters of the VIN are designated as WMI (World Manufacturers Identification). The WMI uniquely identifies the Nation of Origin, Manufacturer, Make and Type of Vehicle.

The second section has five characters and has been designated the Vehicle Description Section. This section uniquely identifies the attributes of the vehicles such as model, body style, engine, etc.

The third section of the VIN is located after check digit. It is eight characters in length and is called the Vehicle Identification Section. The first character represents the vehicle model year, the second character represents the plant of manufacture, and the last six characters represent the sequential production number.

There are no Vehicle Identification Numbers that are the same!

There may be circumstances where a VIN plate is missing from a vehicle or vehicles may be combined and need a new VIN plate. Residents who need a new Kentucky Assigned Identification Number for a vehicle made from different vehicles must apply for a VIN Removal of the plates on all the different vehicles used, and then they may apply for a new Kentucky Assigned Identification Number. Residents who have a vehicle that does not have a VIN plate would apply directly to the Transportation Cabinet for Kentucky Assigned Identification Number.

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Application for VIN Removal Authorization

Vehicles that have been combined to make a new vehicle must have all the VIN plates removed from the parts used and a new VIN plate issued for the vehicle that is now one unit. It is illegal for any person to remove a VIN plate without proper authorization. An application must be filed through the Transportation Cabinet. Once the Transportation Cabinet authorizes for all VIN plates to be removed, the owner may remove the VIN plates and forward them to the Transportation Cabinet when the resident applies for the Rebuilt Title.

The following documents and information are required: (All forms highlighted in blue are downloadable simply by clicking on them and other highlighted words will direct you to that specified section.)

  • Need a written statement explaining which parts were taken from which vehicle stating the serial numbers.
  • Need a copy of the title front and back to show the proper chain of ownership.
  • Need a copy of all receipts for replacement parts stating the serial numbers.
  • Need to state whether or not you have both VIN plates in your possession. If not, state what happened to the VIN plate or plates.
  • Need to state complete Name, Address and Telephone Number.
  • If State Police is involved, we will need copies of their report or inspection.

For further information, contact the Rebuilt Section at (502) 564-5301.

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Application for Kentucky Assigned Identification Number

Vehicles/Trailers that do not have a Vehicle Identification Number on the vehicle/trailer may obtain a Kentucky Assigned Vehicle Identification Number from the Transportation Cabinet. Vehicles/Trailers cannot obtain a title or registration without having a Vehicle Identification Number assigned to the vehicle. An application must be filed through the Transportation Cabinet. After the Transportation Cabinet assigns a Vehicle Identification Number, they will mail a Vehicle Identification Number Plate to the clerk’s office. The resident will need to pick their Vehicle Identification Number Plate up from the clerk’s office and rivet the Vehicle Identification Number Plate to the vehicle. Once the Vehicle Identification Number Plate is riveted to the vehicle, the resident will have the vehicle inspected by the Sheriff’s Department to certify the Vehicle Identification Number Plate was affixed to the vehicle properly. The Vehicle Identification Number Plate must be picked up from the clerk’s office, affixed to the vehicle, obtain the Sheriff’s Inspection and register the vehicle within ninety days of a Vehicle Identification Number Plate being assigned by the Transportation Cabinet.

*If the vehicle that you need a VIN Plate for is an electric vehicle, please contact the VIN Plate Department at 502-564-5301.*

The following documents and information are required to apply for a VIN plate: (All forms highlighted in blue are downloadable simply by clicking on them and other highlighted words will direct you to that specified section.)

  • Application for Motor Number of Vehicle Identification Number Form # TC96-169 completed by owner/buyer.
  • Submit notarized proof of ownership such as Bill of Sale, Title, Registration, Affidavit of Court Order
  • Submit notarized statement saying why there is no serial or identification number
  • Submit Name, Address and Telephone Number of person in possession of this vehicle and the location where it may be examined

For further information, contact the Rebuilt Section at (502) 564-5301.

NOTE-In accordance with KRS 186A.990, “Any person who knowingly gives false, fraudulent or erroneous information in connection with an application for the registration, and when required titling of a vehicle, or any application for assignment of a Vehicle Identification Number, or replacement document, shall be guilty of forgery in the second degree.”

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Incorrect VIN on Title

If a Kentucky title has a different VIN than what is on the vehicle’s VIN plate, it must be corrected before the sale or transfer of the vehicle. If the clerk’s office or the Transportation Cabinet can obtain the original documentation when the VIN was entered in error into the system, the VIN can be corrected without a Sheriff’s Inspection. However, if documentation is not available, the customer would require a Sheriff’s Inspection.

The following documents and information are required: (All forms highlighted in blue are downloadable simply by clicking on them and other highlighted words will direct you to that specified section.)

If an out-of-state title has a different Vehicle Identification Number on the face of the title then what the Sheriff’s Inspection finds on the vehicle then the clerk’s office may be able to correct the Vehicle Identification Number at the time of transfer. If the error in the Vehicle Identification Number is in the first eleven characters and is only a character or two different, the Vehicle Identification Number can be corrected at the time of transfer. If the error in the Vehicle Identification Number is within the last six characters, the title must be corrected by the previous state first.