What’s the difference between the title number and the vehicle identification number? The title number and the VIN number were made for two different reasons.

Title number vs. Vehicle identification number (VIN)

The title number is typically a 7-8 character or number string that identifies the owner of the vehicle. It doesn’t necessarily tell you much about the vehicle itself, but it’s made to identify the owner. The title number will change each time it is transferred to a new owner.

The vehicle identification number (VIN) is a 17-character string that identifies all the specifications of a vehicle (make, model, manufacturer, year, trim, etc.). The VIN does not show the owner of the vehicle, only the specific features, and history of the vehicle itself. The VIN will never change, even if it is transferred to a new owner. (Note: improperly changing the VIN is a felony)

Where to find your title number

Your title number can be found on your vehicle title or on your registration card. If the DMV recently sent you a notice to renew your registration, you’ll also find your title number on this document. Your title number is issued only by the DMV.

Where to find your VIN

Your vehicle identification number will typically be shown in more places than the title number. This is because when cars are repaired using other parts, the VIN has to be verified as legal for road use before being used. Your VIN can usually be found on the dashboard, frame, cowl, door jambs, and under spare parts.

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