Getting a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection, commonly referred to as a VIN verification in Tennessee, is a Department of Revenue (DOR) requirement for certain classes of vehicles. A VIN inspection in TN allows state officials to confirm the identity of a vehicle and verify its component parts. While some states require out-of-state car owners to get an identification inspection, only owners of salvaged vehicles or certain types of trailer units are required to undergo a vehicle verification in Tennessee.

To verify a VIN number in TN, car owners must complete the necessary certification paperwork while submitting the applicable documentation. Unlike certain states, where the car verification process must be carried out by an approved official or by an authorized third-party inspector, this type of procedure in Tennessee is done on an individual basis by self-submitting the necessary paperwork.

On the other hand, the specific process that must be followed by a vehicle owner to get a car’s identity verified will depend on what type of vehicle is being inspected. To learn more about vehicle verification procedures in Tennessee, continue reading the sections below.

When is a VIN verification required in Tennessee?

A DMV VIN inspection form must be completed by Tennessee residents who own vehicles with salvage titles. Overall, car verification certificates are required from all TN owners of salvage vehicles that have been declared rebuilt. It is only through obtaining these forms that a car owner can submit title and registration paperwork for his or her vehicle.

Generally, this is the most common reason for state motorists to verify a VIN number. To do so, vehicle owners must fill out a form and include receipts with the year, make and identification number for any of the following parts that may have been replaced on a salvage vehicle:

  • Engine and transmission
  • Interior
  • Cowl, frame, hood, roof panel, deck lid/hatchback and front end assembly front and rear bumper
  • Right rear fender, left rear fender, right front fender, left front fender
  • Right front door and left front door
  • Right rear door and left rear door
  • Driver side airbag, passenger side airbag, left rear airbag, right rear airbag
  • Cab and cab clip
  • Tailgate and trailers

It is important to note that a vehicle VIN verification must be completed by owners of most types of trailers in Tennessee. For instance, a TN VIN number validation must be carried out by owners of trailers, semi-trailers or pole trailers that are homemade, materially reconstructed or with missing VINs.

Owners with vehicles that fall into these categories are required to submit a form along with the required documentation to the necessary authorities, before they can move ahead with the titling or registration of a trailer.

Where can I submit a completed DMV VIN inspection form in Tennessee?

Depending on your particular circumstances, there may be different locations where you must submit a new vehicle inspection certification to. While some states accept validation requests at DMV car inspection stations, owners of salvaged vehicles in Tennessee must send their complete certification request packets by mail directly to:

Tennessee Department of Revenue
Special Investigations Section
Anti-Theft Unit
44 Vantage Way, Suite 160
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-8050

Owners of trailers that require a vehicle inspection certification must instead submit their completed application and accompanying documentation to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Like owners of rebuilt salvage vehicles, owners of trailers must mail the necessary material to the applicable state office. In this case, the appropriate office is the following:

Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
Cashier’s Office
1150 Foster Avenue
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-8050

What to Include in a VIN Number Verification Application in Tennessee

The Tennessee vehicle inspection form and supplementary documentation that motorists must submit depend on the reason why they are submitting these requests. For example, owners of salvage vehicles seeking VIN verification must complete the “Application for Motor Vehicle Identification Certification” form and gather the following supporting documents:

  • Color photographs of the vehicle in its damaged condition, by quadrants.
  • Receipts for all of the replaced parts of the car, showing the year, make and identification number of the vehicle from which they were taken. Moreover, this must include the complete name and mailing address of the buyer and seller.
  • A notary stamp.
  • An application conversion fee of $75.
  • If rebuilt by hire, a notarized affidavit including the rebuilder’s name and address.

Owners of trailers in Tennessee requesting a VIN inspection in order to title or register their vehicles must submit their paperwork to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Once a driver has completely filled out the “Application for Certificate of Trailer Inspection” form, he or she is asked to mail it with a money order for $25 to cover the application fee.

What to Do After Completing a VIN Inspection Certificate in Tennessee

In most cases, vehicle owners attempt to verify a VIN number whenever they are trying to title or register a vehicle at the TN DOR. In these situations, any proof of a completed DOR VIN verification form and supporting documentation should be included in the vehicle owner’s application packet for a tag and title.

On the other hand, owners of trailers who need to undergo VIN inspections must mail in the completed verification request and wait to receive an appointment notice from the Tennessee Department of Revenue, which will administer the inspection of the vehicle. Vehicle owners in this situation can expect to wait between four and six weeks for their requests to be processed before an appointment date with an officer can be set.

During the appointment, a state trooper will inspect the vehicle and make sure it is up to necessary safety standards. Then, he or she will issue a statement of approval or disapproval on the spot.

Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.