VIN Inspection Information
- Salvage to Rebuilt from Salvage Titles (Click for Salvage Title Checklist)
Salvage titles are commonly issued to vehicles that have been deemed a total loss by an insurance company. This applies to vehicles that have been involved in a crash, damaged by hail, recovered theft, vandalized, etc. Most often, these vehicles are purchased from an auto auction, such as Copart, and require repairs. These vehicles will be issued a salvage title. Once the repairs have been completed to make the vehicle roadworthy again, the vehicle needs to be inspected by a certified VIN inspector. (See the section on Roadworthy Requirements for more info)
All receipts for parts used and repairs made must be kept and brought to the inspection appointment. You MUST have your salvage title to complete the inspection. Vehicles without titles will need to follow the bonded title process in addition to the salvage inspection (See the section on Bonded Titles for more information).
A completed DR2424 Salvage Title Statement of Fact form must be completed prior to the inspection and available for the inspector to sign.
The vehicle must be die-cast stamped “REBUILT FROM SALVAGE” using no smaller than ¼ inch letters on the B pillar (near where the door latches on the frame of the vehicle) in a location easily identified prior to your appointment. See the section on Salvage Stamp Info for more.
- Bonded Titles
If you purchased a vehicle without a title (bill of sale only) or lost the title prior to titling it in your name, you will have to follow the Title Established by Surety Bond process. This also applies to large trailers (over 2000 lbs) purchased without titles. For small trailers see the section on In Lieu of Bond and Homemade/kit trailers.
Vehicles purchased with skipped or jumped titles (meaning the seller sold the vehicle without retitling it in their name first) or a title signed improperly also require bonded titles. Proper ownership must be established. This can be proven with a proper bill of sale (many can be found online), Motor Vehicle Power of Attorney as appropriate, or you may present the invalid title as proof of purchase.
In cases of an owner’s death, if a vehicle is inherited thru an estate, a death certificate may suffice. If the vehicle is gifted, please obtain a bill of sale, even if the sale price is $0.
Vehicles with bonded titles must also meet roadworthy requirements.
- Rebuilder's Titles & In Lieu of Bond (+25 Years Old)
In the event a title is lost for a vehicle more than 25 years old, it may be sold/purchased and titled with only a bill of sale. If the vehicle is roadworthy (see the section on Roadworthy Requirements), no bond is required and a title will be issued. Click here for the In Lieu of Bond (Vehicles 25+ years old) checklist.
If the vehicle does not meet roadworthy standards, a bonded title will be required even though the vehicle is over 25 years old and the applicant should follow the Rebuilder’s title check list. In order to get a certified VIN inspection for this vehicle, it must have, at a minimum, a frame, a body, steering mechanism, axles, wheels and suspension. Motorcycles must have a frame, front forks, a motor, a transmission and wheels. If it does not have these components, a certified VIN inspection cannot be performed.
Please do not damage or remove any VIN numbers during restoration. See the section on damaged VIN numbers here.
Once the vehicle is rebuilt, it will need to be re-inspected to determine roadworthiness. Click here for the Rebuilder's Title to Regular Title Checklist.
- Off Road Dirt Bike to a Street Legal Conversion
This section describes the process to convert an off-road dirt bike title to a street legal regular title. This applies to dirt bikes only, Colorado does not title OHV/UHV/ATV or golf carts for on road use. Conversion kits are available for purchase online which often contain all the required elements listed below. Check with an off-road vehicle dealer if you have questions. To pass inspection the dirt bike needs the following:
- At least 1 mirror
- DOT approved tires with sufficient tread
- A horn hardwired to the vehicle’s electric system (no battery powered horns)
- Tail light
- Signal lights are optional, however, if the bike is equipped, they must work. If you do not have them, please be prepared to demonstrate hand signals.
When loading your bike on to a trailer or into the back of a truck, please make sure the bike can be started and that the VIN number (located on the forks) is visible without the inspector having to climb into the truck or onto the trailer. The inspector has the required forms they need to fill out, no need to print those ahead of time.
This section outlines the process to title trailers. This includes trailers assembled from a kit (for example, kits purchased from Harbor Freight or trailers purchased from a dealer that assembles the kit such as Home Depot or Lowe’s), homemade trailers (such as a trailer made from an old truck bed, etc.) and small trailers weighing less than 2000 lbs. without titles (often purchased in states that do not require titles for small trailers). Trailers fitting this category must have:
- 2 safety chains in good condition and properly affixed to the trailer and vehicle that are of a reasonable length and strength so as to prevent the tongue of the trailer from contacting the ground in the event that the tongue comes off or out of the hitch.
- Working lights. For lighting requirements, have your trailer measurements available. Most trailers in this category need 2 tail lights, 2 brake lights and 2 signal lights (often in the same light assembly), amber marker lights on both of the front corners, and a license plate lamp.
- Fenders over the tires
- Tires with sufficient tread
If you have built a trailer from scrap parts or purchased parts, please have receipts for any parts and materials used.
- Trailers weighing over 2000 lbs. (empty weight) require all the elements listed above as well as these:
- Trailers with 2 axles or more must have brakes on at least one axle capable of being operated from the vehicle pulling the trailer.
- A break-away brake installed and functional
The inspector has the required forms they need to fill out, no need to print those ahead of time.
- Vehicles and Trailers with Missing or Damaged VIN Numbers
If the public VIN number on your vehicle has been damaged, is missing or is otherwise unreadable, a Colorado Assigned ID will be required. This is most common on trailers and older vehicles that have been restored. The public VIN on vehicles manufactured after 1981 is located on the driver side of the vehicle, visible where the dash meets the bottom of the windshield.
For trailers with missing or damaged VIN numbers, see the Trailer requirement here. The inspector will verify the condition of the VIN and give you the appropriate paperwork.
If you’re restoring a vehicle, please DO NOT remove any VIN numbers from the vehicle. If necessary for repainting or restoration, tape over the VIN plates and exercise extreme caution when cleaning them so as not to destroy them or render the information unreadable. If the VIN plate appears to the inspector that it has been tampered with or replaced, a Colorado Assigned ID is required. Tampering with VIN plates is a Class 5 Felony.
- Mechanic's and Storage Facility Lens Procedure (Click for Checklist)
If you own a mechanic/repair facility and have a vehicle that has been abandoned by a customer after repairs have been completed, you may obtain a title for the vehicle and attempt to recoup money lost. The owner or authorized agent of the company must bring the vehicle for the inspection. You need to bring all documentation of the repairs, attempts to contact the owner and any other documents outlining your involvement with the vehicle to the inspection. If the vehicle is not roadworthy (see Roadworthy requirements), depending on the year of the vehicle, DMV will likely issue a salvage title. In order to register that vehicle for on-road use, the Salvage to Rebuilt from Salvage title process must be followed. (See the section on Salvage titles for complete details)
If a vehicle has been abandoned on private property, the property owner must call a tow truck to remove the vehicle. Title will not be issued.
- Out of State Purchases (VIN Verification)
VIN verifications are for vehicles that were purchased or last registered by the current owner in another state. The owner has the title (or is paying the lienholder) and there is no salvage branding. This form can be filled out by:
- ANY law enforcement officer
- Many licensed dealerships and
- Any licensed Colorado Emissions testing location.
Contact your local police agency, dealer or emissions testing location near you. This form does not require a Certified VIN Inspector to complete and can often be done quickly by one of the three options listed above.
- Roadworthy Requirements
Colorado Revised Statute 42-6-102(15) defines roadworthy: "Roadworthy" means a condition in which a motor vehicle has sufficient power and is fit to operate on the roads and highways of this state after visual inspection by appropriate law enforcement authorities. In order to be roadworthy, such vehicle, in accord with its design and use, shall have all major parts and systems permanently attached and functioning and shall not be repaired in such a manner as to make the vehicle unsafe. For purposes of this subsection (15), "major parts and systems" shall include, but not be limited to, the body of a motor vehicle with related component parts, engine, transmission, tires, wheels, seats, exhaust, brakes, and all other equipment required by Colorado law for the particular vehicle.
The following are the most common issues preventing a vehicle from passing inspection:
Vehicles with safety system warning lights illuminated. These lights indicate safety system problems and therefore are deemed to be hazardous to operate. This specifically includes Airbag and ABS (braking system) lights. Most check engine lights won’t necessarily cause the vehicle to fail the inspection.
- Cracked windshields – small cracks out of the field of view may pass, however large cracks or cracks that visually impede the driver’s full view will not be accepted.
- Tires with insufficient tread (must have a minimum of 2/32 tread depth, usually indicated by wear bars)
- Inoperable lights: Headlights, high beams, signals, tail lights, brake lights and license plate lights are required.
- Horn must be operable and audible
- Anything deemed unsafe will not pass inspection.
- Older vehicles that did not have modern safety features (seatbelts, airbags, abs, etc) are not required to be retrofitted.
- Regardless of age or manufacturer, the following items are required on ALL vehicles seeking to be titled:
- Front windshield glass constructed with safety glazing material (shatterproof)
- At least one working wiper blade o Lights listed above o Horn hardwired to the vehicle’s electrical system with sufficient decibels to be heard from 200 Feet
- DOT approved tires with more than 2/32 inch tread depth (off road tires not accepted)
- At least one rear facing mirror that allows the driver to view 200 feet behind them
- What if the Reason for a VIN Inspection is Unknown?
Try looking through the categories and see which type most closely matches your situation. If you still can’t decide which appointment type you need, contact a VIN inspector or your local DMV office and speak with someone to help define under which category you should schedule your appointment.
If you’re looking to run a free VIN check, please use the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s site.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What do I need to bring with me to my appointment?
Bring ALL ownership documents (this includes titles, bill of sale, power of attorney if applicable, etc.).
For vehicles rebuilt from salvage – You must complete the DR2424 prior to your appointment, listing all parts and repairs made. You must also bring receipts to support those parts and repairs. Vehicles without receipts for major components will not pass inspection. See the Salvage to Rebuilt from Salvage section for more details.
The inspector has the forms the DMV requires they fill out for each case. It is not necessary to print them and handwrite your information.
- What should I expect when I arrive for my appointment?
When you arrive at the location for your appointment, look for signs directing you to the inspection line. Most locations have a specific area they want you to wait and there are usually signs to help you navigate.
Stay with your vehicle unless otherwise instructed. Prepare your documents and gather your payment while you wait.
The inspector will come to you and ask questions. Please know why you need a certified inspection. Different reasons require different forms, this helps the inspector know how to properly complete the inspection.
The inspector will check your vehicle for the roadworthy requirements (see roadworthy requirements) and then complete the appropriate paperwork.
- How can I book an appointment?
Select the reason you need an inspection from the top of this page. At the end of each section, there is a link to the booking website. Choose a location that’s convenient for you and the next screen will show you what is available at that location. Each location sets its own inspection days and times, so if what you’re looking for is not available at one location, check other locations as they may offer different times and days.
- I need an inspection ASAP, but the next appointment is six weeks away.
Unfortunately, this is often the case. High demand for inspections and few inspectors often makes the soonest appointment four to six weeks out (sometimes more). Check the website often, if an appointment is cancelled, it will show up on the website. Check other locations. The Denver metro area is often booked the farthest out. Other areas often have sooner appointments if you’re willing to travel a little farther.
- Do you take walk-in appointments?
No. Most of our offices do not have room to support having multiple vehicles waiting for inspections. Many vehicles need this inspection so demand is high and greatly exceeds the number of inspectors available for these inspections. An appointment is required for all Certified VIN inspections. Click here for an appointment.
- Can you come to my house?
Unfortunately, no. Inspectors book appointments every 20 minutes making it difficult to leave the inspection location. If you have a circumstance that prevents you from bringing the vehicle/trailer to the inspection, contact your local Certified VIN inspector and speak with them directly. Off-site inspections are done at the discretion of the inspector. Appointments booked on our website are to be completed at the inspection location (usually the Colorado State Patrol office in that county).
- Can I get an inspection in a different country than I live in?
YES! It doesn’t matter in which county you get the inspection completed. DMV requires you register your vehicles in the county you live in, but the inspection can come from any county as long as it is a Certified VIN Inspector.
- Do I need to bring the car to the inspection?
Yes, part of the inspection process includes determining if the vehicle is roadworthy.
- What's the difference between a VIN verification and a Certified VIN Inspection?
A Certified VIN Inspection is for vehicles with titling issues. Common reasons for certified VIN inspections include salvage vehicles, vehicles purchased without a title, lost titles or titles signed incorrectly, vehicles or trailer assembled from kits, vehicles or trailers that are missing VIN numbers or you are trying to title on off-road dirt bike that you’ve made street legal.
VIN Verifications are for vehicles without those issues. You own a vehicle (and there are no issues with the title) that has been registered to you or purchased in another state and you are simply trying to switch the registration and title to Colorado. See the VIN Verification section for more info.
- I didn't get confirmation after booking my appointment.
If you booked an appointment and entered your email address correctly but did not receive a confirmation email, your appointment was not booked. Please go back on the website and re-book the appointment.
You should receive a reminder email 24-48 hours prior to your scheduled appointment if you lose or forget your appointment information.
- How do I cancel an appointment?
There is a link at the bottom of your confirmation email with instructions for how to cancel. Should you need to cancel within one business day of your appointment, the website will not allow that. Please contact the office and notify the inspector that you will not be able to make your appointment. Most often, leaving a message with the name, date and time of the appointment is sufficient.
- I don't have plates on my vehicle or trailer, am I going to get pulled over?
It is possible. DMV can issue temp tags for vehicles needing to be inspected. Please see your local DMV for information. You can be stopped and issued a citation by any law enforcement officer for driving an unregistered vehicle while driving to or from your appointment.
- Do you do Odometer Certifications/Inspections?
Colorado does not require law enforcement inspections of odometers. Odometer disclosures are required on vehicles based on their age. Contact your local DMV office to determine if your vehicle requires an odometer disclosure before transferring/titling.
According to the DMV here is some information about odometer disclosure requirements:
- For an Individual-to-individual transaction with a Colorado Title:
- The Odometer Disclosure Statement is incorporated on the back of the title; no additional documents are required for titling.
- The buyer’s signature acknowledges receipt of the odometer disclosure information. Only one buyer’s signature and hand printed name is required.
- An odometer disclosure statement is required on any document used for transfer of ownership (Contact the DMV for required forms).
- Odometer Requirements:
- At the time of sale, record existing mileage (no tenths) as shown on the vehicle’s odometer.
- One of the three following odometer indicators is required:
- Actual mileage (A)
- In excess of mechanical limits (E)
- Not actual mileage - WARNING ODOMETER DISCREPANCY (N)
- When completing the odometer disclosure statement, the buyer and seller must hand print and sign their name acknowledging the mileage.
- For an Individual-to-individual transaction with a Colorado Title:
- How can I find out if a vehicle I'm considering purchasing is stolen or salvaged?
If you’re looking to run a free VIN check, please use the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s site.