The vehicle registration number or the VIN is a unique identifier number representing your vehicle. You must have this number available all the time to prevent getting in trouble when pulled over by a police officer. You can find this number on the vehicle paperwork or inside the driver’s door.
Your vehicle registration number is one of the most necessary documentation you must have all the time. Understanding the meaning of this document and learning where to find it helps you get out of emergencies, especially if you got pulled by a police officer.
You might already know that whenever you buy a car, you must register it under your name, and that's when you'll get a registration number. To get more details about this number and how critical it is for you, keep reading through this article.
We will highlight the details about the vehicle registration number, the locations where you can find this number, and other details about the different types of vehicles plates.
What is the vehicle registration?
Before we dig into the details about where to find the vehicle registration number, we must understand this number in the first place.
Think about the vehicle registration number as your license plate number. It is a unique number that is seated with your vehicle only. By pulling this number in any automobile database, the officer should get your information immediately.
While the vehicle registration number might include only numbers, it does include letters in some instances. These letters refer to certain meanings, and they might differ significantly depending on your state.
Your vehicle will not immediately have a registration number under your name unless you do so. In other words, when you buy a new car or used vehicle, you'll have to take the information to the local DMV office and register it under your name. When this happens, the DMV office will hand you the edition number that you'll have to keep.
When you own the car, you must keep the registration number with you all the time. This is because if a police officer pulled you over and realized that you didn't have the registration, he could easily get to your car to the nearest impound depot. Thus, to prevent dealing with these complicated situations, you must keep the registration paperwork in your vehicle.
What are the common types of license plates?
While vehicle registration numbers refer to the same thing for every car, they are not the same all the time. Let's take a closer look at the different types of vehicle registration and license plates:
1. The standard license plates
The standard license plate is the one that you'll get from your local DMV office immediately after registering your vehicle. It doesn't have any customization, and it comes with whatever number the DMV office decided to give you.
Most US vehicles are equipped with the center license plates, and that's the most common type you'll see on the roads. However, keep in mind that the sender license plate is not the same in every state, and they're typically customized and designed depending on your state. For example, California has a specific sun and palm on the license plate, while Texas has a star sign.
2. Temporary license plates
As the name suggests, the temporary license plates are the people you'll get once you register your vehicle. You don't need to keep them once you receive the final regular license plate.
Those plates are typically designed from non-durable material, which means they will wear out after some time. Therefore, it is critical that you immediately install the new license plate once you receive it. Also, you must add the sticker as well to the license plate.
3. Specialty license plates
These license plates are less common than the temporary and the center license plates. In addition, the name indicates that those licenses can be customized to get different designs that you like. In other words, you don't necessarily have to stick with the standard license plate in your state, and you can have your vehicle stand out by having a customized license plate.
Keep in mind that even if you have the freedom to sign the plate the way you want, you cannot change the registration number if you have a specialty license plate.
The other thing to remember is that the specialty license plates require extra fees, but it's not very high. In some states, it just costs you about $50 extra.
4. Vanity license plates
Finally, the last type of license plate you might encounter in the automobile market is diversity license plates. These license plates are the most advanced and customized type of license plate you'll have. Not only you'll have the ability and freedom to redesign how the plate looks, still can't change the registration number depending on what you like.
Think about the vanity license plate as your nickname in a public forum. You can choose whatever phrases you want, and you can make them represent you. However, keep in mind that even though you have the freedom to customize this plate and change the phrases in the registration number, there are some restrictions on what type of phrases you use. For example, you cannot use offensive or racist phrases on your vanity license plate.
5. Dealership license plates
Although the dealership license plate is not something comment that you might encounter unless you own leadership, you might see those in the US public roads. As the name suggests, these license plates belong to the dealerships, and they're not associated with any vehicle.
In other words, the license plates belong to the dealership, and they use them to drive their vehicles on public roads. Since you cannot drive a car without a license plate, those dealerships cannot also issue a license for every single vehicle they have in the lot. That's why whenever they want somebody who wants to perform at this drive, they can use these temporary or dealership license plates.
Is the registration number the same number on the license plates?
No, the resolution number is longer, and it cannot fit on your vehicle's license plate. That's why we said you must have the paperwork, including the registration number, every time you drive your car.
Sometimes you might hear the VIN or the vehicle identification number. As the name suggests, every vehicle must have a unique identification number that cannot be used for another car.
This number tells a lot about your car and includes information about the vehicle’s history, the previous owners, damages or accidents, etc. That's why automotive experts recommend using the vehicle identification number to generate a history report that tells you all the details about the vehicle before purchasing it, so you don't end up with a damaged car.
The VIN contains 15 characters, and each character represents important information. For example, as we highlighted before, the VIN might include numbers and letters.
Where to find the vehicle registration number?
There are multiple locations where you can find the vehicle registration number. Let's take a closer look below:
1. On the paperwork
Typically, all vehicle documentation should include the vehicle decision number or the VIN. So, for example, if you have an insurance card, it should be located there. Also, if you look at the actual vehicle registration document, you should find it. Finally, check your vehicle's title because it must be written there as well.
2. Inside your car
If you don't have access to any of the paperwork for any reason, you can also find the VIN inside the vehicle. There are many different locations that you might find it on that might differ significantly depending on your vehicle's make, model, and year.
Typically, you can find the VIN on the dashboard. However, if you didn't find it, take a look at the interior of your side door right near the hinges. Finally, you can also find the VIN in various locations under the hood.
How to read the vehicle registration number?
The vehicle registration number contains 15 characters, and every character has a specific representation. Let's take a closer look at how you can decode the vehicle registration number:
1. The first three digits
The first three digits of your vehicle registration number represent the manufacturer. These are three characters identifier for the manufacturer, and it talks about who designed this vehicle and who created it. It also provides some information about where the vehicle was built. Typically, the first three-digits can contain letters and numbers.
For example, if the first digit of the VIN is 1, 4, or 5, it tells that the vehicle was designed in the United States. However, if the number is 3, it indicates that the vehicle was created in Mexico.
The 2nd digit tills about the manufacturer. For example, the letter V represents Volvo while the letter H represents Honda.
Finally, the 3rd letter refers to the vehicle type. For instance, Chrysler Mexico or Mercedes-Benz USA will have a different third letter.
2. Digits 4 to 8
The four digits following the first three digits represent the vehicle itself. In other words, it provides some details about the type of transmission or other parts included in this car. Typically, these digits are provided by the manufacturer, and they can help you get information about repair or replacements.
3. The 9th digit
The 9th digit is extremely important because it refers to whether your vehicle is legitimate or not. Authorities and other individuals rely on checking this digit to get information about whether the car has problems or not.
4. Digits 10 to 17
These digits are unique digits for every vehicle. So if you want to distinguish your car from other vehicles, you can focus on these seven digits.
5. The 11th digit
If you focus your attention on the 11th digit of Your VIN, you could get information about the plant or the manufacturer where your vehicle was produced.
6. The remaining digits
Finally, the rest of the VIN digits refer to a serial number where your vehicle was produced. Typically, these are just random numbers that vary by manufacturer.
How to get a new vehicle registration number?
If you just purchased a vehicle and you would like to register it under your name, you'll have to issue a new registration number here to do so; you can rely on one of the following methods:
1. Visit the DMV office in person
The easiest and most convenient way to get your vehicle registered under your name is visiting the local DMV office. They should provide you with all details about the required documentation along with their wired fees to get your registration number issued.
2. Issue a registration online or by mail
You don't necessarily have to go to the local DMV office if you don't want to appear. In other words, there are some ways to get the new vehicle registration either online or by mailing the documentation to the DMV office. However, the process might be longer, and you'll need to check how long you should request the registration before a certain time frame ends that differs by your state.
We highly encourage you to give the local DMV office a call and get an idea about what needs to be done if you want to get the registration done online or by mail.
What is the vehicle registration number? Final thoughts
A vehicle registration number is an important number that you have to keep. You must provide this number every time you get pulled over by a police officer on public roads.
You can find the vehicle registration number and various locations around your vehicle’s interior, but the easiest way to find this number is by looking at the vehicle documentations. For example, you can check the insurance card, the title, vision paperwork, etc.
As we indicated earlier, the VIN tells us a lot about your vehicle's history, and if your car has major problems, it can be very hard for you to sell it to private buyers because they'll figure out about these problems. However, if you would like to get your vehicle sold and receive the top offer, you can always reach out to cash cars buyer who guarantees to buy your car no matter what!
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