A friend of mine, living in USA, went to check on a car being sold by an individual. He told me that the vehicle owner had covered part of the VIN that would have otherwise been visible through the windshield.

The owner said that he covers it for security reasons. And that it was still on the label attached to the part of vehicle frame that can be seen when opening the driver side door.

I have not heard of people blocking their VINs before, although I do remember reading about some people getting a key to a car they did not own from the dealer, by using its VIN.

Are there legitimate reasons to cover the VIN for security purposes?

  • 1
    It's a question more for mechanics.stackexchange.com but it's usually due to people being afraid of getting involved in insurance scam. But for the buyer it block them from checking vehicle history. Jan 8, 2019 at 9:05
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    I could see some argument for hiding it in general, but if the buyer and seller physically met, revealing the VIN shouldn't be an issue for the seller. I suppose there's a chance that part of the car was repaired/replaced and the VIN won't match other parts of the car...
    – Brian R
    Jan 8, 2019 at 15:40
  • I used to deal in musical instruments, and posting an item for sale online with a completely visible serial number would, on very rare occasion, result in someone filing a police report for stolen property using the posted serial number. If I couldn't provide evidence that the claim was bogus, the police could unilaterally seize the merch and "return" it to the report filer. An actually stolen high school band instrument was recovered from me this way, but this never worked on me as a scam. Anyway, you get the gist. I imagine it would be a lot harder with a vehicle.
    – Bort
    Jan 8, 2019 at 19:51
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    An attempt to evade parking tickets? At least some jurisdictions have a last-4-VIN field to minimize chance of error when the meter maid enters the license plate number. Jan 10, 2019 at 0:33

1 Answer 1


But another law allows law enforcement to impound a car with the VIN hidden or defaced, presumably to sort out its ownership. That would be costly even if no charge was brought.

This is a brief citation from a rather long diatribe on this very question. The answer appears to be "No". There are multiple reasons why law enforcement has the right/need to see your VIN.

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