What to Expect When Your Vehicle or Trailer is Examined

During the examination, you must show your operator’s licence – or other picture ID if you do not have an operator’s licence – and proof of ownership. When applicable, a VVS representative will make a photocopy or take a digital picture of the following documents:

  • ​Proof of vehicle ownership (e.g., registration, bill of sale, new vehicle information statement [NVIS], etc.)
  • Salvage invoice
  • Proof of ownership of components used (e.g., bill of sale)

A VVS representative will then examine your vehicle or trailer and its parts to determine if:

  • ​The vehicle or trailer has been reported stolen – a new VIN cannot be assigned until the “stolen” status is removed by the police
  • It is unsafe for road use – in some cases, a VIN will not be assigned to a vehicle that uses certain non-repairable parts​


Registering Your Vehicle or Trailer

If VVS assigns a new VIN or confirms the original VIN of the vehicle or trailer after the examination, our representative will:

  • ​Install the VIN plate on your vehicle/trailer
  • Give you a copy of the VIN Approval Form (either paper or email).

To register your vehicle or trailer, you must present the examination form to a motor vehicle registry agent​. The VIN plate is issued by the Government of Alberta​ or the Government of Saskatchewan and must not be removed from the vehicle.

If the VIN plate is removed, you must have the vehicle or trailer inspected again and must pay the service fee before VVS will issue an official replacement VIN plate.​


Additional Inspection Requirements May Apply

VVS’s vehicle examination is not an inspection of the safety and/or mechanical integrity of the vehicle. A Salvage Vehicle Examination​ or an Out of Province Vehicle Examination​, at your expense, may be required before the vehicle can be registered in Alberta or Saskatchewan. Please contact a provincial motor vehicle registry agent​ for information about registering your vehicle or trailer.

Alberta Transportation and Saskatchewan Government Insurance have agreements with the police and with VVS to share information collected from the users of this service. This is for the purposes of investigating auto theft and auto-related offences, including conspiracy, fraud, possession of stolen property and other related crimes. This information sharing, without the direct consent of the applicant, is authorized under sections 40(1)(e) and (q) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.


For more information, please contact VVS.


Why should I care about my VIN?

Understanding Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs)

An accurate VIN can:
Assist consumers in buying a used vehicle. If you know how to check your vehicle’s VIN, you will be less likely to buy a stolen vehicle or a vehicle that has been deemed nonreparable or unsafe for road use. For more information about buying a used vehicle, contact your provincial or territorial licensing/registration office.


  • Help ensure a hassle-free transaction when you register your vehicle, renew your licence plate permit or transfer ownership. An accurate VIN helps confirm the identity, ownership and insurance of your vehicle.
  • Help law enforcement identify and recover stolen vehicles.Make it easier for vehicle body and maintenance shops to order appropriate parts for your vehicle (e.g., identify model series, engine and drivetrain).
  • Help your insurance company identify your vehicle to ensure that your insurance is properly rated and confirm ownership in the event of a claim. Protect your vehicle’s identity. Unlike a fingerprint, duplicate vehicle identities can be created, making it easier to sell stolen vehicles.


Who should you contact if there is a discrepancy with your VIN?

If the VIN on the vehicle ownership permit does not match the VIN plate on the dashboard, contact the motor vehicle licensing/registration office in your province or territory right away.

If the VIN on the pink liability card does not match the VIN plate on the dashboard, contact your insurance agent, broker, or insurance company right away.

What is a VIN?

The vehicle identification number (VIN), since model year 1981, is a series of 17 letters and numbers. Accepted as the North American standard for identifying vehicles, the VIN provides key information about the manufacturer, model, model year, make, equipment and class of a vehicle.


How can I check my VIN?

Very similar to a fingerprint, the VIN uniquely identifies a specific vehicle to the insurance industry, law enforcement, government, consumers and concerned stakeholders.

  • Compare the VIN plate on the dashboard of your vehicle with the one that is usually found at the bottom of the driver’s door post (if it is not there, refer to your owner’s manual).
  • Compare these to the VIN on your registration certificate
  • Compare all of the above to the VIN shown on your pink liability card (proof of insurance).

Useful tips about the VIN

  • e letters I, O and Q are not used anywhere
  • Position 9 of the VIN can be only the values 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and X.
  • the last five positions of the VIN are usually numeric.
  • Be careful when dealing with the following sets of letters and numbers – they may look or sound similar: S and 5, H and 8, G and 6, Z and 2, B and 8, D and 0, U and 4, Y and 4, M and N, U and V, F and S, T and P and B
  • Position 10 of the VIN (model year) cannot be U or Z. For cars and light trucks, model year can be determined by using the type of character in Position 10. (if numeric = years between 1981 to 2009) (if alpha = years between 2010 to 2039).


Positions 1-3
The World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI), assigned by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Each manufacturer has one or more WMI codes. The first character normally represents the country where the vehicle was assembled. For example, “1” stands for the United States, “2” for Canada, “3” for Mexico, and so on.

Positions 4-8
Characters used by manufacturers to identify characteristics such as car line or series, engine, restraints, gross vehicle weight and body style.

Position 9
A “check” digit, based on a mathematical algorithm, for determining the validity of the VIN.

Position 10
The year of manufacture.  In the example above, “A” indicates the car was made in 2010.

A 1980- B 1981 – C 1982 – D 1983 – E 1984 – F 1985 – G 1986 – H 1987 – J 1988 – K 1989 – L 1990 – M 1991 – N 1992 – P 1993 – R 1994 – S 1995 – T 1996 – V 1997 – W 1998 – X 1999 – Y 2000 – 1 2001 – 2 2002 – 3 2003 – 4 2004 – 5 2005 – 6 2006 – 7 2007 – 8 2008 – 9 2009 – A 2010 – B 2011 – C 2012 – D 2013 – E 2014 – F 2015 – G 2016 – H 2017 – J 2018 – K 2019 – L 2020 – M 2021 – N 2022 – P 2023 – R 2024 – S 2025 – T 2026 – V 2027 – W 2028 – X 2029 – Y 2030 – 1 2031 – 2 2032

Position 11
The plant where the vehicle was assembled.

Positions 12-17
A sequential number that uniquely identifies specific vehicles.

For example, the first 11 characters in the VIN identify this vehicle as a 2010 Ford Mustang GT, and the last
6 positions identify it as a particular 2010 Ford Mustang GT.

Province of Alberta SGI | Saskatchewan driver's licensing and vehicle registration