Certain vehicles are required to undergo a VIN verification in Ohio. The main reason to verify a VIN number in OH is to ensure that the vehicle identification number (VIN) shown on a car matches the one outlined on its title. Generally, a VIN inspection can be completed in a few different ways, depending on the model year of the vehicle in question. On the other hand, the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) only administers state car inspection procedures in certain counties.

It is important to understand the specific reasons why cars are required to undergo a VIN number verification, as well as how significant this procedure is for motorists to avoid any unnecessary legal disparities with the BMV. The sections below describe when drivers will be required to request a vehicle verification, the establishments where they can complete this procedure and how an applicant can be prepared for a new car inspection.

When is an Ohio VIN verification required?

The state of Ohio requires car owners in certain locations to request a VIN inspection whenever they purchase a new car or need to apply for a registration renewal. A VIN verification is also necessary in the case of out-of-state vehicles that are brought into OH. As a general rule, you must verify a VIN number if you reside in one of the following counties:

  • Cuyahoga
  • Geauga
  • Lake
  • Lorain
  • Medina
  • Portage
  • Summit

In addition, a car verification is required for gas- and diesel-powered vehicles, hybrid vehicles and flexible fuel vehicles that are:

  • Less than 10,000 pounds.
  • Made within the last 25 years, except vehicles that were made within the last 4 years.

Car inspections are required in the aforementioned counties every two years. Vehicles made in years ending with an even number are required to get a VIN inspection during even years, whereas cars made in odd years need to get an inspection during odd years.

Certain types of vehicles are exempt from state car inspections in Ohio, besides those belonging to residents who do not live in the seven counties where they are mandatory. Examples of instances when cars are exempt from vehicle verifications include:

  • Car models that are over 25 years of age
  • Motorcycles
  • Motorhomes
  • Commercial vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds
  • Recreational vehicles
  • Historical and exhibition vehicles

Ohio also enforces permanent VIN inspection exemptions for cars that are powered by electricity, alternative fuel and non-commercial vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds. Temporary OH vehicle verification exemptions are offered to military service members, students attending school in a state or area where inspections are not required and spouses of vehicle owners who passed away.

Where can I go to obtain a VIN inspection in Ohio?

Ohio drivers can complete the VIN number validation process at a local Ohio BMV branch or through a licensed car dealership in the state. Additional car inspection stations can be located through the state’s official search tool, which drivers can use to find qualified emissions testing centers near them.

What to Bring to a VIN Number Verification in Ohio

When drivers verify VIN numbers on their vehicles, they should be prepared to submit certain necessary documents and information that will be required by qualified inspectors. For instance, OH motorists should bring:

  • A filled-out DMV VIN verification form, available on the state’s official DMV portal or at a local BMV office.
  • An acceptable payment method for the VIN inspection fee, which may vary according to each county in Ohio.
  • A form of personal photo identification, such as a driver’s license.
  • The title of the vehicle, which may be an out-of-state certificate.

Some instances may require more documentation for a state vehicle inspection to take place. As an example, new and out-of-country car purchases may require:

  • A bill of sale
  • Authentic ownership document
  • Original bond release letter
  • S. Customs and Border Entry form, which must be stamped
  • Odometer statements
  • English translations of documents that were issued in a foreign language

If your out-of-state vehicle is due for a car verification, a vehicle inspection form for an emissions test must still be completed. In these cases, motorists must request a vehicle inspection in the state where they are currently in, provide a copy of their vehicle registration, fill out the Ohio-issued extension application form, and mail these materials to the address provided on the application document.

What to Do After Completing a VIN Inspection in Ohio

After a car passes a VIN verification in Ohio, the driver will be given a vehicle inspection report that is valid for one year. Moreover, this type of verification will not be required again for two years.

On the other hand, if a car fails a vehicle verification, motorists will receive documents describing which issues were identifies, so that a mechanic can repair them and the car can later be retested. OH offers three free VIN inspection tests per year for cars that fail this procedure the first time.

After the three free attempts, vehicle owners will be required to pay a fee for subsequent tests. Some drivers may also be eligible to apply for vehicle inspection extensions through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) due to low-income issues or financial struggles related to car repairs. Instructions regarding these extensions can be found on the official OH EPA website.

Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.