Motorcycle VIN Check: Should you give out VIN numbers online?
Conducting business in a virtual context can be a vexing process. And with so many online scammers and dishonest buyers prowling the internet, it’s no wonder why so many motorcycle sellers are hesitant to give out their motorcycle VIN number freely. That’s why, when you sell your motorcycle online, you want to make sure you’re working with an honest online retailer like RumbleOn.
For most motorcycles, the VIN is located on the steering neck or on the motor near the bottom of the cylinders. If you still can’t locate it, try contacting the manufacturer or dealer.
Why should I send someone my VIN number?
For starters, there are important condition and history checks that a buyer (RumbleOn included) will want to conduct on your motorcycle, and the only way this can be done officially is by providing a VIN. We learn about the bike’s make and model, as well as ensure it has never been stolen or missing. All of these factors can affect whether a bike can be sold.
Plus, if you aren’t as trusting of the values reported by KBB, motorcycle VINs can equip you with the information you need to assess the worth of your vehicle.
What is a VIN report for a motorcycle?
A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is like a fingerprint for your motorcycle. It’s a unique identification sequence affixed to every car, truck, motorcycle, or trailer manufactured after 1981. VINs are designed to keep track of ownership changes, problems or updates, and locate stolen vehicles.
While the VIN is unique and relevant to your vehicle, it’s not like a Social Security Number or a credit card number. Instead, the VIN is merely a collection of letters and numbers that identifies the following information:
- World manufacturer identifier: the region in which the manufacturer is located, i.e. the United States, Canada, etc.
- Motorcycle attributes: the type, model, style, etc.
- Identifiers: traits that are unique to the individual vehicle in question, options installed, engine, etc.
- Model year: the year the motorcycle was made.
- Plant code: specific plant where the motorcycle was assembled.
For more information about the VIN, check out the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Chapter V, Part 565.
Can someone steal my motorcycle if they have the VIN?
There is a common misconception that the VIN could be used to create duplicate keys for your bike, or otherwise be used in an elaborate scheme to steal your identity or your motorcycle. While there is a particular type of scam where VIN thieves will register vehicles with a stolen number, as long as you have the proper paperwork to prove ownership, there should never be a problem verifying ownership. In fact, it isn’t any easier for someone to steal your motorcycle with the VIN than it is to physically steal it in person.
Think of it this way: supplying your VIN to a prospective buyer online is no more dangerous than parking your bike in public where anybody could copy it. Motorcycle dealers will gladly post the vehicle’s identification number along with its advertisement on the web. This is merely for transparency, and the motorcycle VIN check is to ensure that a bike’s history is legitimate.
What is the VIN used for, then?
Primarily, the vehicle identification number is used in a motorcycle VIN check, or motorcycle VIN lookup, against a database and read relevant service information and a detailed vehicle history report. The VIN tells prospective buyers whether the motorcycle has been in any major accidents, what work has been done on parts (if any), and the date of the last inspection. The VIN cannot reveal personal information such as the owner's name, address, etc. Some alternative services, such as CarFax, could make it possible to research this information, but the series of numbers and letters in the VIN itself does not reveal these details.
So, in the grand scheme, is it safe to give your vin number out? Absolutely. Giving your VIN to a prospective buyer online doesn't mean you're providing any more information than today’s fifth graders can easily find on via Google or Facebook, savvy little cyberpunks...
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