skip to left menu
skip to main content


Vehicle & Driver· VIN QUESTIONS

What is a VIN?

"VIN" (Vehicle Identification Number) is a unique universal serial number issued to every vehicle by the manufacturer. Within the 17-digit number are codes that indicate the vehicle's make and model, the factory where the vehicle was manufactured, a serial number and information about optional equipment.

Why does the WSP conduct VIN inspections?

The WSP inspects vehicles at the request of the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) in an effort to deter auto theft and the trafficking of stolen parts (RCW 46.12.560).

How do I know if I need an inspection?

A licensing agent will let you know if you need an inspection at the time you apply for a title.  You may also receive a letter from DOL directing you to an inspection if there is a problem with your vehicle's VIN.

What is a licensing agent and where are they located?

A licensing agent is your county auditor or official subagent in business to provide vehicle titles and other services. (See Licensing Locations)

Do I have to go to a licensing agent first before I schedule an inspection?

Yes. The licensing agent will be your first stop in getting your vehicle titled. Please visit Licensing for more information.

How do I schedule an inspection? Can I just show up at the local VIN lane?

Inspections are by appointment only. Please visit our scheduling page at Inspections. Due to the high demand for vehicle inspections we are not able to accommodate walk-ins.

Where are the inspection locations and do you inspect vehicles anywhere else?

VIN lanes are located in several areas of the state (See Inspections). These are the only locations we conduct inspections.

How much will my inspection cost?

Money will be collected by the licensing agent at the time you title your vehicle and fees vary depending on the type of inspection needed (No money is collected at the VIN lane).

How do I get my car, trailer or truck to the inspection lanes if it's not licensed?

Unless you transport the vehicle on a licensed trailer, you will need to purchase a transit permit before you can legally drive your vehicle to the inspection. (See Transit Permits).

What do I need to bring to my inspection?

You will need to present the following at the time of your inspection:
  1. The vehicle/motorcycle/trailer that you need inspected;
  2. A completed Washington State Patrol Inspection Request Form provided by the licensing agent (Unfortunately, we won't be able to inspect your vehicle until we have a completed form).
  3. If you are rebuilding a salvage vehicle you will need a bill-of-sale or copy of title sent to the insurance company and original receipts for all major component parts;
  4. Other documents (please see Handouts on Inspections site for the vehicle that pertains to you).

I'm rebuilding a salvage vehicle. What qualifies as a valid receipt for the parts I purchased?

Receipts for parts must be original and must be made out to the vehicle owner, immediate family member or body shop that repaired the vehicle. If not, then a notarized bill-of-sale from the individual on the receipt qualifies or, in the case of a licensed business, a letterhead statement of transfer for the parts. (Receipts must be legible and must include the invoice date, invoice number, business address, and stock number or VIN used as parts donor vehicle).

What if I bought my parts on the Internet?

The only electronic receipts or Internet receipts accepted will be for new, aftermarket parts with the following documentation:

  1. Original packaging slip or shipping invoice;
  2. Computer generated sales invoice to include business name, address and phone number (The invoice must be printed and given to the VIN Officer at the time of the inspection).

I'm rebuilding a salvage vehicle and but have not replaced all the damage parts. Can I have it inspected before I'm finished?

No. A rebuilt salvaged vehicle must have all damaged major component parts replaced or repaired to meet requirements before inspection. The WSP will only inspect complete vehicles per RCW 46.12.560. Major component parts include at least each of the following RCW 46.80.010:

Engines and short block
Transmission and/or transfer case
Front or rear differential
Front or rear clip
Quarter panels
Truck bed or box

Note: If the vehicle was originally manufactured with airbags, all airbags must be replaced prior to the inspection.

I'm building a homemade car/trailer/kit vehicle/ORV etc. What equipment do I need to have installed and what additional documentation is required for inspection?

Please see the Checklists section for equipment requirements and Handouts for required documentation on the Inspections site.

Does the WSP inspect off road vehicles (ORV) for use on the road?

We do inspect ORV's but not to certify them for use on the road. This is a service your local mechanic or dealership can provide.

I am a licensed dealer. How can I get multiple cars inspected?

Please call your local VIN Office, if you are a licensed dealer and need multiple inspections.

My state requires me to have my VIN inspected before I renew my license tabs. Can I have my vehicle inspected for a state other than Washington?

No. Only non-resident students and non-resident active duty military personnel may have their vehicle inspected for VIN verification. Military personnel must provide a leave and earnings statement showing residence of record. Students must provide a letter from their college stating the student is paying out-of-state tuition or proof of enrollment. (See WAC 308-99-040)

I just need a VIN verified to make sure the car I'm buying isn't stolen. Do I need a full inspection?

No. You don't need to schedule an inspection. Any commissioned police officer can check to see if a car is recorded as stolen. Please visit your local police department or county sheriff's office.

Can I get my emissions checked when I bring my car for inspection?

No. Emissions checks are a separate program administered by the Department of Ecology.

Adobe Reader Link Icon Please note that some of the documents provided on this page are available in Adobe® PDF format only and will require the Adobe® Reader in order to view or print them from your Web browser.

Back to Top


VIN Inspection Lane

Quick Links