ATV without a VIN
May 20, 2011 11:44 AM   Subscribe

I've got an ATV without a legible VIN number. How can I get this thing road legal? As far as I can tell, new frames don't have a VIN, and you're expected to use the one from the old frame, so I can't just buy a frame. Obviously I could buy a VIN and title from somebody with a dead ATV of the same year, but that's starting to get difficult and/or expensive and/or dicey. Any ideas about how I can get myself all legal here?
posted by Stagger Lee to Law & Government (7 answers total)
Which country/state/province are you located? In the US the rules vary greatly from state to state. Also, what is/was the model of the ATV? Sometimes the VIN is etched in multiple (hidden) places.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:51 AM on May 20, 2011

Alberta and it's a Honda EX.

I got the thing as scrap, and it's not hard to imagine that it could have a dicey history... so I'd rather not find myself on the wrong end of that. If I can find a VIN number I can obviously call it in and let the authorities tell me if I can register it, but so far that route hasn't worked out.

Yikes... reading back, that sounds either sketchy or naive. If this doesn't work out, it doesn't work out, but it would kind of be a shame to see a perfectly good quad go to scrap over a VIN.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:04 PM on May 20, 2011

Can you just go to the police department and ask them in person? Or the DMV?
posted by amodelcitizen at 12:24 PM on May 20, 2011

"amodelcitizen" indeed. ;) It may come to that!
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:26 PM on May 20, 2011

So you basically have something like this on the front bumper frame, right, but you can't read it? Are any of the numbers/letters visible at all at this point? Maybe enough to find out where it was manufactured at least?
posted by misha at 12:44 PM on May 20, 2011

Hmm. I'm looking at Alberta Regulations for ATVs, and I see this:

(3) A person who applies to register an off‑highway vehicle must file proof of ownership satisfactory to the Registrar in a form and manner approved by the Registrar if

(a) the manufacturer’s serial number or identifying mark is removed, defaced, covered, altered, destroyed, illegible or lost, or

(b) the off‑highway vehicle was made without a serial number.

(4) The Registrar may authorize a person to issue and attach an assigned identification number to an off‑highway vehicle to which subsection (3) refers under any terms the Registrar considers proper.

A person who owns an off‑highway vehicle that is required to have a manufacturer’s serial number may apply to the Registrar, in a form and with proof of ownership satisfactory to the Registrar, for an assigned identification number to be issued and attached to the off‑highway vehicle under subsection (3).

So, it sounds like, as long as you can prove ownership to the Registrar, you can get a number assigned if that VIN is not legible.
posted by misha at 12:53 PM on May 20, 2011

Proof of ownership is pretty slack in Alberta. In most cases all you need is a simple bill of sale. When I registered my Indy Fiero it had been through at least three unregistered owners before I bought it and had been off the road for at least ten years. I had a bill of sale from the guy I bought it from (not the last registered owner) and an insurance certificate and I was good to go.
posted by Mitheral at 11:02 PM on May 20, 2011

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