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Illegally Removing VIN Numbers

Illegally Removing VIN Numbers

You have to be very careful with VIN numbers on certain types of vehicles, especially some motorcycles. In this case, we’re going to talk about Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Other types of vehicles with VIN numbers as well. This is a case where somebody was in a high-speed chase and got pulled over. They ran out of gas but that’s not really the important part of the article. What happened was this person was accused of grinding down identification numbers on the motorcycle. Illegally removing VIN numbers is a serious crime. 

Why is that a thing? Well the identification number, or VIN (vehicle identification number), is the number which is officially designating which vehicle it is by make. That’s the number that tells you which vehicle you own and that’s the number that shows up on a title. So if you have a vehicle that has been stolen, that VIN number is going to keep others from selling it, registering it, titling it, whatever the case may be. 

If you can somehow obscure that VIN number or change it then criminals can have a vehicle for free. In this case the vehicle I believe had a lien on it from a bank, so what they did was they swapped out some parts and grind down the VIN numbers off, too make it seem like this was a legitimate vehicle. First of all having a vehicle with tampered VIN numbers is a crime by itself. Don’t want to have any kind of altered, changed, or removed VIN numbers on a vehicle. No one really is going to go far because even if you grind it down there are methods you can use with certain chemicals to bring back the VIN number.


 Here’s what happens when a VIN number is stamped into a piece of metal:

The depressed part of that VIN number is what is visible. Even if someone were to grind it off below the part that you can see, there’s actually compressed metal beneath it. So the little letter that goes into the metal isn’t the only part that’s changed. Below that the metal is compressed so if you put certain types of acid or certain types of chemicals, you can actually bring back that VIN number. So no one is really going to solve anything by removing a VIN number from a vehicle.

In this case, they were processing it for forfeiture when they discovered the ID numbers had been ground off. So be very careful with some types of vehicles, especially motorcycles. In some cases, the ID number for a motorcycle is actually on the engine, not on the frame. So if you just swap out the engine, sometimes you can maybe try to hide a vehicle that doesn’t have a good title. Be careful with VIN numbers and be aware that you don’t want to remove or alter any VIN numbers on a motor vehicle because you can get in trouble for that. Very Illegal. 

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