Automotive Replacement ID Tags

ID tags carry a wealth of information regarding the vehicle and have been used for more than 60 years. Each vehicle sold in the US now carries a unique tag or Vehicle Identification Number and cannot be sold or transferred without the number being affixed to it.

Because the information is so important, vin labels are meant to be a permanent item and is manufactured from steel, with the number engraved into the metal, rather than typed in ink.

The vin code will identify the manufacturer, the factory of origin, the gross weight, the date of manufacture and other information. A separate ID tag is located on the engine, identifying the manufacturer, the engine capacity and whether the engine is made with a single cam or multiple cams.

Additional tags are used for the transmission, body and for some vehicles, a tag identifying the load and towing capacity and proper tire pressures. A separate ID tag is required because engines are interchangeable. A working engine in a wrecked vehicle can be removed and placed into a serviceable vehicle with a bad engine.

The salvage, automotive repair, body collision and insurance industries rely heavily on vehicle tags. The repair services use vehicle tags to properly match interchangeable parts. Reading the code permits the automotive technician to match engine parts, and the collision repair specialist to match factory paint or body parts. Transmission shops will use the tag to obtain a replacement transmission.

The insurance industry can use the tag information to track claims and theft. Law enforcement will usually use the vin to identify a stolen vehicle. The multiple tag system can assist law enforcement in identifying “chop shops” or illegal stolen car operations.

Though meant to be permanently affixed, the tags can sometimes be destroyed in an accident, a fire or theft. In these situations, a replacement tag may be needed. In some states, vehicles cannot be registered without all tags present. There are companies who manufacture replacement ID tags and with supplied information, can create new tags similar to the original.

With information supplied by the owner, new tags will be engraved with the original information and shipped to the owner. To deter theft or misuse of tags, some companies will only engrave one tag per vehicle. Some companies will also provide assistance in retrieving lost information, through a title search, manufacturer records or other means.