If you need a vehicle inspection, we are here to help. Typical inspection types include:

  • Specially constructed, reconstructed, replica, and street rod vehicles (homebuilt vehicles).
  • Homemade trailers that weigh more than 2,000 lbs. when not loaded.
  • Iowa VIN Assignment due to cab change or other reasons the public VIN tag was lost.
  • VIN verifications/corrections at the request of the county treasurer or other government agencies.
  • Older vehicles from another state with only registration as ownership.
  • Salvage vehicles that also need an assigned vehicle identification number (VIN) due to cab/frame change.
  • Additional examples (not listed above) might also receive inspections.

What documents will I need?

You’ll need to have all the required documents for your inspection. Keep all ownership documents for “essential” parts used to construct or reconstruct the vehicle and bring those with you to the inspection. Essential parts are defined as those that would conceal the identity of the vehicle or alter its method or mode of operation if they were removed. These documents may include the following:

  • Titles
  • Junking certificates
  • Registrations
  • Bills of sale
  • Receipts

A bill of sale or receipt should list the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the original vehicle for any used parts purchased for the vehicle, and the name, address, and telephone number of the seller. Trailers will require a scale ticket displaying the empty weight of the trailer.

What if you built a specially constructed, reconstructed, replica, or street rod vehicle?

If you or a non-recognized manufacturer built your vehicle, or you modified the vehicle beyond its original state, our inspector must inspect the vehicle to make sure it follows Iowa laws and rules, along with validating ownership documents. Prior to building or modifying a vehicle, you will want to review Iowa Administrative Rule 761 IAC 400.16 for application requirements and 761 IAC 450 for the equipment requirements.

You can find the definition of a Specially Constructed, Reconstructed, Replica, & Street Rod vehicles on the Certificate of Compliance.

Do I need to get my homemade trailer inspected?

If you built a trailer that weighs more than 2,000 pounds when not loaded, you will need to have us inspect it for compliance with minimum equipment requirements and to double-check the documents for all essential parts put into the construction of the trailer. A bill of sale or proof of ownership for all parts put into the trailer must be produced at the time of inspection. An Iowa-assigned VIN label will be affixed to the trailer and the same number will be stamped into the trailer.

If you purchase a trailer that was built by someone else, you will need to obtain a title or registration from the prior owner to transfer the title at your county treasurer’s office. If you are unable to obtain a title or registration from the prior owner, you will need to apply for a bonded certificate of title (Hyperlink to for the trailer that was constructed by someone other than you.

What if I need a VIN tag on my vehicle?

For homebuilt vehicles described above, for vehicles with a cab, body, or frame change, and for all vehicles that have the public VIN removed or destroyed, the vehicle is required to be inspected by the Bureau of Investigation & Identity Protection. If approved, a new Iowa assigned VIN will be attached to the vehicle, and the investigator will provide authorization, so the vehicle owner can obtain a new title and registration at the county treasurer’s office reflecting the new Iowa assigned VIN.

When might a county treasurer or other government agency request a VIN verification or correction?

Your local county treasurer may ask for a vehicle inspection in the following instances:

  • VIN error in the last six digits
  • Verification of VIN on a questionable transaction
  • Imported vehicles
  • Grey market vehicle with a short VIN
  • A non-Iowa resident such as a college student may need a VIN verification for titling in their home state.
  • Vehicles suspected of being stolen or cloned may require a vehicle inspection to determine the vehicle’s true identity.

Do I need to get an inspection if I purchased a vehicle from another state and I only have a registration as proof of ownership?

If you purchase a vehicle in another state and have only a registration for ownership, you may need to have that vehicle inspected, so it can be titled and registered in Iowa. Some other states only issue a registration document as proof of ownership on vehicles of a certain age or weight. We will need to see the current registration and your proof of purchase(bill of sale) at the time of inspection.

When do I need an Iowa Assigned VIN for my salvage titled vehicle?

Salvage-titled vehicles are typically inspected by select local peace officers who are trained to conduct salvage inspections. However, if you also need an Iowa-assigned VIN number on your salvage vehicle due to the public VIN being removed, lost, or stolen, or because of a cab or frame change, one of our investigators will conduct the salvage inspection as well as a vehicle inspection to assign a new VIN number.

Schedule an inspection

If you need a vehicle inspected, contact the local investigator in your area.

Unregistered vehicles may be towed or hauled to the inspection site, or they may also be driven to the inspection site provided the operator has an Affidavit to Operate a Vehicle for Inspection completed and carried in the vehicle.


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