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May 26, 2016

Michigan Vehicle Identification Numbers

As of June 1, 2000, it is a violation of both Michigan state law and federal laws to release information on vehicle records. The Michigan Lemon Law, or New Motor Vehicle Warranties, can be found in Chapter 257 Act 87 of 1986 of the Michigan laws.

The state of Michigan has a few webpages dedicated to looking up motor vehicle histories, VINs, and license plates. If do you not have a Record Lookup account with the Department of State then you must complete a record request for each title history using form BDVR-154. Unless you are looking up your own record, you must have one of the permissible reasons for requesting such information. Those who request another person’s title or registration history will receive a record with all personal information redacted. Each title transaction that you request costs $11 and for title histories with multiple transactions (for example when the vehicle has changed hands multiple times,) you will be charged $11 for each title transfer that is on record.

You can pay by check, cash, and debit and credit card in some places, depending on whether you need your own driving record or a vehicle record.

  • Mail – check, money order, Discover, Visa, or MasterCard with a completed form BDVR-154 to:

Michigan Department of State

Record Lookup Unit

7064 Crowner Drive

Lansing, MI 48918-1502

Note: There are other branch offices across the state of Michigan.

  • Fax – Pay with Discover, Visa, or MasterCard and fax your completed form BDVR-154 to 517-322-1181;
  • Telephone – Pay with Discover, Visa, or MasterCard by calling 517-322-1624 or 888-SOS-MICH. Only those requesting their own records or those with department accounts will be accepted by telephone.
Resources for Car Drivers/Owners in Michigan

The state of Michigan contains more than 11,000 inland lakes across the lower and upper peninsulas. It is the 10th most populous of the 50 states and the 11th largest. Michigan is also the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River.

Statistics on Accidents, Theft and Disasters in the state of Michigan:

  • In 2016, there were 3,248,359 cars registered in the state of Michigan;
  • In 2016, the Michigan State Police’s Annual Report stated that there were 312,172 accidents.
    • Of those 312,172 crashes, 79,724 resulted in serious injuries and 1,064 resulted in fatalities;
    • Of the 1,064 fatalities, 721 were male and 343 were female.
    • 241 of those who were involved in a fatal accident were alcohol-related.
    • Of those 312,172 crashes, 32,383 were related to speed.
    • Speeding was the leading contributing factor for accidents.
  • The motor vehicle theft rate for Michigan in 2016 was 203.2 thefts per 100,000 residents. This is an average of 55.2 motor vehicles stolen per day.
  • Michigan does not have many natural disasters. There are no hurricanes and tornadoes are rare.

The state of Michigan has a website run by the Secretary of State called Michigan’s Auto Lost and Found. This site can be used to find a vehicle which was taken into custody after it was declared abandoned on public or private property. You can search for a missing vehicle by either the VIN or the license plate number. If the vehicle is found, the results will display the year, make and VIN of the abandoned vehicle, the location it was found, the date it was taken into custody, and the location that it is being held. It does not include vehicle ownership information.

Michigan Lemon Law:

Michigan Legislature Act 87 of 1986

Michigan Department of State Record Lookup Request

FORM BDVR-153 – Account Holder Record Lookup Request

FORM BDVR-154 – Non-Account Record Lookup Request

FORM BDVR-155 – Record Request for Governmental Agencies

Replacement Title in Michigan

Online Services Michigan

How to Read a Driving Record

How to Read a Vehicle Record

PLUS office and SUPER!CENTER locations:

Branch Office Locator & Office Hours

Michigan Department of Motor Vehicles:

Michigan Secretary of State

Emissions and Safety Inspection Locations:

Michigan Car Inspection

Vehicle Safety Ratings

Vehicle Recalls by VIN

Automotive Reviews

Michigan Lost and Found

Online Services in Michigan

Why should you run a VIN Check in Michigan?

Michigan recommends using a VIN check or license plate company which gathers information on thefts, accidents, sales, titles, and more from government sources around the country. This information is free to the public; however, if you request it through the Secretary of State in Michigan it will cost you at least $11. With the help of the VIN lookup in the state of Michigan, you can find out the following information:

  • The technical specs of the vehicle;
  • The registered odometer readings;
  • Any manufacturer’s recalls and defects reports;
  • The history of past accidents that happened both on and off of the road;
  • Liens and loans information, if applicable;
  • Information about theft and full recovery; and
  • The use of the car as a taxi, police, or personal vehicle.

Another vehicle history report companies is the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). NMVTIS is often used by salvage and junk yards and works with the states and law enforcement to provide information such as:

  • Current State of Title and Last Title Date – this helps to verify the validity of the title;
  • Brand History – Brands are used as descriptive labels of a motor vehicle, such as “junk,” “salvage,” and “flood.” NMVTIS keeps a history of the brands that have been applied to vehicles in every state which helps consumers from purchasing a vehicle which has been damaged but has been offered for sale without disclosing the true condition of the vehicle. This can not only cost the customer more money in the beginning as the value of the car will be higher, but could also be unsafe if it has not be repaired adequately;
  • Odometer Information – odometer fraud is a crime in which the odometer is “rolled back” so that it appears that the car has fewer miles on it than it actually does. This increases the market value of the car and may cause a customer to purchase an unsafe car due to a higher number of miles on the car than they thought. Furthermore, checking the odometer reading during every title change helps consumers identify discrepancies in the history of the vehicle;
  • Why is total loss information important to consumers? – When a vehicle has been declared a total loss, the vehicle has sustained severe damage. Despite repairs that may have been performed on the vehicle it may still be unsafe to drive and may end up costing you quite a bit financially down the road; and
  • Why is salvage information important to consumers? – When a vehicle has a salvage history then chances are that it has spent time in a junk yard or a salvage yard, as it has been damaged greatly. Salvage yards are perfect places for thieves to either steal the VIN of a “totaled” car or to obtain parts from a car which has been deemed totaled.

VinCheck is another popular search as it endorsed by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. It helps to determine if a car has been reported as stolen, but not recovered or if has been reported as a salvage vehicle by the one of the companies working with the NICB. It is free for the public to search for a maximum of five (5) searches within a 24-hour period per IP address.

Some of the information that an InstaVIN® vehicle history checks and title report will tell you include information such as:

  • Current State of Title Information;
  • Historical Title Information;
  • Disclosure of Brand History on Title:
    • Flood;
    • Salvage;
    • Odometer Rollback;
    • 61 Possible Problem Events.
    • Odometer Information;
    • Information on Previous Accidents – around six million car accidents are reported annually by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration;
    • Open Lien/Loan Information Including: Issuing Financial Information;
    • To check and see if the vehicle has been previously declared a lemon;
    • If there have been any airbag deployments;
    • Impound & Towing Events;
    • Active Theft Data
    • In some cases, the title may be detailed enough to give you history on maintenance on the car; and
    • To check and see if the vehicle has been reported stolen and not been recovered.

    There are other companies which perform vehicle history and VIN checks, some are free while others cost money; although the money it could save you in the long term would be well worth the initial cost for the check. One that is recommended by the Attorney General of Michigan is Carfax.

    Michigan VIN Check

    Michigan License Plate Check

    Michigan Title Request

    Information you can find through VIN Check Michigan:

    Michigan VIN Check & Lookup

    National Motor Vehicle Title Information System

    National Insurance Crime Bureau

    Flooded Cars-Carfax

    Lemon Laws in Michigan

    Designed to protect consumers from falling victim to faulty vehicles and the financial burden that often accompanies car repairs, “lemon laws” were designed to protect buyers from purchasing new or used vehicles, which have substantial defects and/or are unsafe to be driven on Michigan roads.

    The Lemon Law of Michigan is administered by the Michigan Secretary of State and the Department of the Attorney General Office of Consumer Affairs. The complete text of the law can be found M.C.L. 257.1401 et seq.

    The Lemon Law in Michigan only applies to passenger vehicles which are privately owned and vehicles leased after January 1, 2000. Vehicles covered are those used for personal, family, or household purposes, although some business-type vehicles may be covered. The lemon law does not cover larger trucks, motor homes, motorcycles, or off-road vehicles. The Michigan Lemon Law applies to vehicle converters.

    These laws exist to protect consumers, who purchase a vehicle which has a substantial defect that the manufacturer is unable to repair. The lemon law in Michigan covers people who:

    1. Purchase or lease a new motor vehicle for personal, family, or household use and not for the purpose of selling or leasing the vehicle to another person;
    2. Purchases or leases less than ten (10) new motor vehicles per year;
    3. Purchases or leases ten (10) or more motor vehicles per year if they are purchased or leased for personal, family, or household use; or
    4. Is entitled to enforce the provisions of an express warranty pursuant to the terms of that warranty.

    In Michigan, a defective vehicle is defined as one which has had the same problem that has not been successfully repaired after four (4) attempts OR has been out of service for at least thirty (30) days because of repairs.

    You must report the problem within one (1) year from the date of delivery or during the manufacturer’s warranty, whichever comes first. If you do not report the defect to the manufacturer then you have essentially ruined your case.

    If the car continues to have problems after the manufacturer or dealer has made a reasonable number of attempts to repair it, you must give the manufacturer a final chance to repair the defect. Notice can be given at any time after the third attempt to repair the same defect or at any time after the car has been out of service for at least 25 days in a repair shop or facility. To give proper notice, you should mail a letter certified with return receipt requested to the manufacturer of the automobile.

    Upon receipt of the notice, the manufacturer must notify the consumer as soon as possible of a repair facility which is easily accessible and the manufacturer must repair the defect or defects within five (5) days after the vehicle is delivered to the designated repair facility. If the repair services were unavailable due to war, invasion, strike, fire or a natural disaster then the five (5)-day period is extended.

    If the defect is not fixed or if the manufacturer refuses to comply then there are channels you can go through, and in some cases that you must go through in order to have a court case:

    • Mediation – when the two parties agree to meet with a facilitator in order to reach a mutual agreement;
    • Arbitration – when both parties present the evidence to a neutral third party who then makes a decision.
      • In arbitration, you can choose either a state-run arbitration program or a manufacturer-sponsored arbitration.
    • If neither mediation nor arbitration works then you can always go to court to try and resolve the problems and get back your money.

    New Motor Vehicle Warranties Act

    Michigan Secretary of State:

    Michigan’s Auto Lemon Law

    Better Business Bureau AUTO LINE

    Michigan Attorney General

    Do you need a lemon law attorney in the state of Michigan?

    No, you don’t need to hire an attorney for a lemon law case in Michigan, but there are benefits to having one.

    • The manufacturer will have experts on their side and you should have experts on your side as well;
    • Lemon Law Attorneys specialize in lemon laws and consumer rights and are more knowledgeable than you would be alone;
    • A lemon law attorney can help to speed up the process;
    • Attorneys can help you remember which papers are needed and when there is a deadline to be met;
    • Having an attorney gives you more bargaining power and makes you appear more professional.

    If you do not know of a lemon law attorney in the state of Michigan you should first ask your friends and family for recommendations. You can contact the State Bar for a referral to a lawyer.

    State Bar of Michigan

    Secretary of State office
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    1759 Barlow St
    1 888-767-6424

    Secretary of State office
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    21719 Howard St
    1 888-767-6424

    Secretary of State office
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    10577 Main St
    1 888-767-6424

    Secretary of State office
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    49 Morey Rd
    1 888-767-6424

    Secretary of State office
    State Government Office
    4607 M-88
    1 888-767-6424

    Secretary of State office
    State Government Office
    2666 US-23
    1 888-767-6424

    Secretary of State office
    Government Office
    66 Michigan Ave
    1 888-767-6424

    Secretary of State office
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    1 888-767-6424

    Secretary of State Capital Area Super Center
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    3315 E Michigan Ave
    1 888-767-6424

    Michigan City License Branch
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    1724 US-20
    1 219-872-5313
    Closing soon: 12:30 PM

    Secretary of State
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    5094 Schaefer Rd
    1 888-767-6424

    Secretary of State Self-Service Station
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    333 W Michigan Ave
    1 888-767-6424

    Secretary of State Self-Service Station
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    580 N Main St
    1 888-767-6424
    Open 24 hours

    Secretary of State Self-Service Station
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    430 W Allegan St
    1 888-767-6424

    Secretary of State Self-Service Station
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    1540 28th St SE
    1 888-767-6424
    Open 24 hours

    Secretary of State Self-Service Station
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    4635 Howe Rd
    1 888-767-6424

    Niles PLUS branch office
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    110 E Main St
    1 888-767-6424

    Bureau of Motor Vehicles Michigan Road License Branch
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    8330 N Michigan Rd
    1 888-692-6841

    Michigan Secretary of State
    State Government Office
    9864 E Grand River Ave
    1 888-767-6424
    Permanently closed

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