More regarding VIN plate removal

February 1, 2010 | By Richard Prince


I have enjoyed your magazine for several years and this is the first time I have

written. I am currently restoring a 1968 Chevelle SS and the dash and cowl have to be replaced.

What are the legal issues in removing the VIN & data plate from the old dash and cowl and putting these on the new dash and cowl?

Do I have to notify the Department of Transportation, the police department or anyone else? What is the correct procedure for doing this and to still keep it as original as possible?

Any help you could give me regarding this would be appreciated.


My understanding is that it’s against the law to remove, install or in any way alter a motor vehicle VIN plate.

If you feel as though you must remove the VIN plate from the car and then reinstall it, contact your local DMV office or local sheriff’s office to ask whether there’s an established procedure that allows you to do this legally.

As an alternative, are you able to “transplant” a section of the old dash that contains the VIN plate into the new dash? By this I mean can you cut out an entire section of the old dash, cut out a corresponding section of the replacement dash, and weld the section from the old dash into the new dash? By so doing you arguably are not “removing” or “reinstalling” the VIN plate.

I believe the data plate on your Chevelle is a different matter. Since it does not contain the car’s VIN I believe you’re legally entitled to remove it from the old dash and install it on the new one.

As far as the “correct procedure” for moving the VIN and data plates from the old parts to the new ones in order to keep the car “as original as possible” I really don’t have a good answer for you.

If you really want to keep the car as original as possible then perhaps you shouldn’t move the plates at all.

You don’t say why you feel it’s necessary to replace the dash and cowl but perhaps it’s possible to fix the underlying problem? Even if it will take more time and money to fix what’s wrong, it may well be worth it in the long run.

Editor’s note:

We receive numerous inquiries regarding the removal and repair of VIN plates but as our Mechanic on Duty writer pointed out, the first consideration in every such case is to contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles or its equivalent regarding legal restrictions on any procedures involving vehicle identification tags.

It’s an area where you’re always wise to exercise caution.