Motorcycle VIN Check: Sell a Motorcycle Online
"Is it ok to give out a VIN number for my motorcycle?"
This is a common question when it comes to online vehicle and motorcycle sales. “Is it OK to give out a VIN number?” The short answer is yes. It is absolutely okay to give out your motorcycle’s VIN online, especially when you are trying to sell your bike.
There are important condition and history checks that a buyer (RumbleOn included) will want to conduct on your motorcycle, and the only way this can be done officially is by providing a VIN. We learn about the bike’s make and model, as well as ensuring it has never been stolen or missing. All of these factors can affect whether a bike can be sold.
What is a VIN report for a motorcycle?
A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is like a fingerprint for your motorcycle. It is a unique identification sequence affixed to every car, truck, motorcycle, or trailer manufactured after 1981. VINs are designed to keep track of ownership changes, problems or updates, and locate stolen vehicles.
While the VIN is unique and relevant to your vehicle, it is not like a Social Security Number or a credit card number. Instead, the VIN is merely a collection of letters and numbers that identifies the following information:
- - World manufacturer identifier: the region in which the manufacturer is located, i.e. the United States, Canada, etc.
- Motorcycle attributes: the type, model, style, etc.
- Identifiers: traits that are unique to the individual vehicle in question, options installed, engine, etc.
- Model year: the year the motorcycle was made.
- Plant code: specific plant where the motorcycle was assembled.
For more information about the VIN, check out this infographic that details what is contained in a motorcycle VIN, and the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Chapter V, Part 565.
Get the most out of your trade in, and get a motorcycle shipped for free!
Can someone steal my motorcycle if they have the VIN?
Can you get personal information from a VIN number? There is a common misconception that the VIN could be used to create duplicate keys for your bike, or otherwise be used in an elaborate scheme to steal your identity or your motorcycle. While there is a particular type of scam where VIN thieves will register vehicles with a stolen number, as long as you have the proper paperwork to prove ownership, there should never be a problem verifying ownership. Simply put, it's not any easier for someone to steal your motorcycle with the VIN than it is to physically steal it in person.
Think of it this way: On most vehicles, the VIN is located in a place where it can be easily seen by the public (such as by parking cops or meter maids), meaning anyone can walk up to your vehicle and see the VIN. Supplying your VIN to a prospective buyer online is no more dangerous than parking your bike in public where anybody could copy it. Motorcycle dealers will gladly post the vehicle’s identification number along with its advertisement on the web.
This is merely for transparency, and the motorcycle VIN check is to ensure that a bike’s history is legitimate.
What is the VIN used for, then?
Primarily, the vehicle identification number is used in a motorcycle VIN check, or motorcycle VIN lookup, against a database and read relevant service information and a detailed vehicle history report. The VIN tells prospective buyers whether the motorcycle has been in any major accidents, what work has been done on parts (if any), and the date of the last inspection. The VIN cannot reveal personal information such as the owner's name, address, etc. Some alternative services, such as CarFax, could make it possible to research this information, but the series of numbers and letters in the VIN itself does not reveal these details.
At the end of the day, it's nothing more than a combination of numbers and letters identifying the details of a bike, not the owner. For most motorcycles, the VIN is located on the steering neck or on the motor near the bottom of the cylinders. If you still can’t locate it, try contacting the manufacturer or dealer.
Really, giving your VIN to a prospective buyer online doesn't mean you're providing any more information than today’s fifth graders can find on their own through Google or Facebook, those savvy little cyber punks...