VIN Inspections in Montana
VIN inspections in Montana are overseen by the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) under the state Department of Justice (DOJ). A Montana VIN check (or vehicle identification number check) verifies the description of a motor vehicle prior to titling a vehicle in the state. Additionally, vehicles must undergo a VIN number inspection in Montana if a car owner needs to correct inaccurate information on the vehicle’s title, or the identity of a rebuilt salvage vehicle is in question. The state also requires vehicles to undergo a car inspection service in Montana to verify that a VIN does not already exist. To learn more about getting a VIN inspection in Montana, review the sections below.
Montana VIN Inspection Requirements
The state divides VIN inspections in MT into three stages: Stage I, II and III. However, the requirements for undergoing a VIN number inspection vary depending on the stage of the inspection. For instance, the state requires Stage I VIN checks in Montana when the following circumstances apply:
- The state needs to perform an inspection of a public VIN number.
- When the identity of the vehicle is in question.
- When car owners do not have a vehicle’s Certificate of Title and they need to apply for a Break/Bonded Title (Form MV10). In this case, drivers can only meet Montana car registration requirements if they complete an inspection.
- When a driver submits a bonded application or a Canadian registration.
- The car is a custom, kit or street rod vehicle.
When completing the local or out of state VIN number inspection in Montana, the inspector must complete an application for Vehicle/Vessel/OHV/Identification Number Inspection Certificate (Form MV20). When completing the MT VIN check application, the inspector must provide the vehicle’s year, make, model, color, body style, length, odometer reading and a signature.
Note: To complete a Stage I inspection, drivers do not need to submit proof of vehicle ownership.
Stage II verifications pertain to out of state VIN inspections or vehicles with Montana salvage certificates. Generally, the state requires Stage II VIN inspections in Montana when the following circumstances apply:
- The state needs to verify the vehicle’s public identification number.
- The car is a salvage or junk vehicle.
- The vehicle is older than five years of age and has an out-of-state or Montana salvage certificate. However, the certificate must contain an issue date of earlier than October 1, 2011.
- The vehicle is older than 15 years of age and has an out-of-state or Montana salvage certificate (with an issue date of on or after October 1, 2011).
- The vehicle has been reconstructed or specially constructed.
- Additional VIN information is needed.
- The vehicle’s identity is in question.
Note: When completing local or out of state VIN inspections in Montana, the inspector must complete Form MV20. Additionally, the driver must submit all required title documentation, including any bills of sale, salvage certificates or purchase receipts. Furthermore, the applicant must estimate the age of the vehicle by subtracting the vehicle’s model year from the current calendar year.
Stage III car inspection services, however, apply to the following types of vehicles:
- Salvage or reconstructed vehicles.
- Vehicles under five years of age with an out-of-state or Montana salvage certificate (with an issue date of earlier than October 1, 2011).
- Vehicles under 15 years of age with an out-of-state of Montana salvage certificate (with issue dates of on or after October 1, 2011).
- Vehicle with questionable origin .
- Vehicles that the state needs to perform a complete inspection on using as many sources of identification as necessary.
Note: When completing a VIN number verification, applicants must determine the vehicle’s age and submit all titling documentation. However, Stage III VIN inspections do not apply to non-motorized trailers.
VIN Inspection Exemptions in Montana
Drivers only need to complete VIN inspections in Montana under certain circumstances. For this reason, most vehicles are exempt from undergoing car inspection and VIN services, unless the vehicle’s identity is in question or when a vehicle owner submits a bonded application or a Canadian registration. Furthermore, salvage vehicles must undergo inspections for VIN numbers.
Out-of-State VIN Inspections in Montana
Drivers cannot complete VIN number inspections from outside of the state. To perform a VIN number inspection in Montana, motorists must do so within the state’s western, central, northern or eastern regions.
Inspection Fees in Montana
Fees for conducting a VIN check in Montana vary depending on whether the inspection is a Stage I, II or III inspection. To obtain specific VIN inspection fees in MT, motorists must contact the inspection station before heading in. There is no charge to perform Stage I inspections, but most Stage I and II inspections are $18.50. In most cases, the MVD cannot issue the vehicle’s title until the applicant pays the inspection fee.
Where to Get a VIN Inspection in Montana
When a vehicle needs to undergo a state car inspection service, vehicle owners must schedule an appointment to complete the Montana VIN check at a driver license exam station, regional driver licensing office, or other participating inspection station. However, specific locations vary depending on the stage of the inspection. Drivers may complete Stage I VIN inspections under local law enforcement officials, participating county MVD staff, and driver license exam station staff. Vehicle owners may complete Stage II vehicle inspection services under driver license exam station staff members, DOJ employees, motor vehicle compliance specialists or Montana Peace Officers. Drivers may complete Stage III inspections under driver licensing regional managers, commercial vehicle operator licensing examiners and motor vehicle compliance specialists.
Note: Vehicle owners must schedule the VIN check by contacting an MVD regional office by telephone. Regional offices include the western regional offices in Kalispell or Missoula; the central regional offices in Bozeman or Helena; the northern regional office in Great Falls or the eastern regional offices in Billings or Glendive.
- See also Vehicle History Reports.