Getting A Title For A Motorcycle

  • 3 min read

Is getting a title for a motorcycle any different from getting a title for a car or truck? Well, technically, the title document for a motorcycle is the same as for any other motor vehicle. However, the process of getting a title for a motorcycle or a bike may have some different requirements, and here’s the reason why.

Unique VIN Placement and Inspection Requirements
Motorcycles generally have two physical differences that make the titling process more enhanced. First is the VIN number, the Vehicle Identification Number. On a motor vehicle like a passenger car, truck, or SUV, that VIN number is stamped into many places on the vehicle: on the dashboard, the firewall, the cowl, usually on the door jambs underneath, and on modern vehicles, there are 14 or 15 hidden VIN numbers. On motorcycles, there’s not as much space, so it’s usually on the forks or on the neck, somewhere close to the handlebars, and it may be in other places of the frame. On older Harley-Davidson motorcycles, it may even be on the engine or on the engine case.

Scrutinized VIN Inspection
The Department of Motor Vehicle agencies in all states recognize that motorcycles have a different VIN number placement. So, they usually make a requirement to have a more scrutinized inspection of that VIN number. The reason is that motorcycles are easier to steal due to their size. If you just change one part, sometimes you can get rid of a stolen VIN number. They’re going to look at that vehicle more closely to make sure it’s not a stolen vehicle. In fact, when processing titles, every once in a while, we’ll get a message that the vehicle has an active theft record. More often than not, it’s a motorcycle. For whatever reason, a lot of those are Harley-Davidson motorcycles because it’s easy to swap the motor and just get a new VIN number. So, if you have a motorcycle and yours is going to be legitimate, that’s not what we’re saying. Be aware that you may run into more complex titling processes for a motorcycle versus a regular vehicle because the DMV recognizes the differences.

Recognizing Market Differences in Motorcycle Title Security
The physical difference of the motorcycle and the market differences in the security of ownership on a motorcycle title play into the complex titling process. The DMV recognizes these differences, which means the process for obtaining a title for a motorcycle may involve more steps and scrutiny than for a regular vehicle.

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