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Vehicle identification numbers

Updated: 20 December 2010

A vehicle identification number (VIN) is a unique 17-character number that identifies your vehicle. VINs help combat fraud and are the main way we identify vehicles for registration and other processes. Warrant of fitness and certificate of fitness inspections check the VIN and the police or vehicle inspectors may check the VIN during roadside inspections.

Vehicles that require a VIN

Most vehicles require a VIN. It's the manufacturer's or importer's responsibility to ensure a new vehicle has a VIN. Some vehicles already have VINs assigned and attached overseas before they get to New Zealand. Otherwise, an entry certifier will issue and attach a New Zealand VIN at entry inspection.

Your vehicle may not need a VIN, if it has a frame or chassis number and:

  • was first registered before 1 April 1994
  • entered or was manufactured in New Zealand before 1 February 1994.

But, if the frame or chassis number has been removed, your vehicle must have a VIN. Only entry certification agents can allocate and fix VINs onto your vehicle.

Where to find the VIN on your vehicle

VINs can be:

  • stamped into the vehicle structure (often the firewall) during manufacture
  • stamped on a metal plate and fixed onto the vehicle body
  • etched onto the rear window of the vehicle.

What to look for

Used import. NZTA assigned VIN prior to 29 November 2009

Used import. NZTA assigned VIN prior to 29 November 2009.

Used import. NZTA assigned VIN from 29 November 2009

Used import. NZTA assigned VIN from 29 November 2009.

Factory issued VIN for a truck

Factory issued VIN for a truck.

Factory issued VIN for a car

Factory issued VIN for a car.