May 26, 2016

Idaho Vehicle Identification Numbers

The Idaho state law regarding Motor Vehicles can be found in Title 49, Chapter 14 and they specifically states that any person who alters, destroys, or otherwise changes a vehicle identification number, or any number on a vehicle, is committing a crime and can be charged with a felony. Additionally, anyone who knowingly disposes of or sells a vehicle, or parts of a vehicle which has had any numbers altered is also guilty of a felony.

Residents of Idaho are expected to transfer the title of a vehicle within 30 days of delivery. If the vehicle was purchased from a dealer in the state of Idaho, the dealer will prepare the application for title and file it with the Idaho Transportation Department or a county assessor motor vehicle office within 30 days. If the vehicle was purchased from a private party or from a dealer out of the state of Idaho and a lien is required, then the financial institution may file the paperwork. However, if the documents are not filed within 30 days of transfer then there may be a $20 late-filing penalty which will be the responsibility of the consumer.

These are the documents that are required to be filed within the 30-day period:

  • Title (for used vehicles) – must be property signed and released by the previous owner and the lienholder, if any. For new vehicles you will need the Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin, which must be property released by the dealer and assigned to the new owner;
  • Bill of Sale – a form which includes a description of the vehicle, the sales price, the buyer’s full name, original signature of the seller, and the date. A bill of sale is not required if the seller has entered the sales price on the title in the space for this information;
  • Odometer Disclosure – this is required for the transfer of any motor vehicle which is less than ten (10) years old and under 16,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW);
  • Vehicle Identification Number Inspection – this must be completed by a member of law enforcement, a DMV employee, a military police officer, or an Idaho licensed vehicle dealer. (For lienholders who are out-of-state, the vehicle identification number inspection can be performed by the County Assessor’s office, Sheriff’s office, or Police Office where the owner resides.);
    • The state of Idaho uses a website for both official state business and for authorized subscribers to search the Idaho Transportation Department’s title and registration database; and
    • The National Insurance Crime Bureau also has a database which is free to the public and will be able to inform you based on the VIN if the vehicle has been reported stolen but not recovered, or if has been reported as a salvage vehicle by a cooperating NICB insurance company;
  • Fees – Sales tax equal to 6% of the purchase price (minus the trade-in if the vehicle is purchased from a licensed dealer in Idaho), or documentation that at least 6% sales tax was paid to the state in which the vehicle was purchased or that the vehicle was purchased at least three months before the purchaser of the vehicle moved to Idaho. Usually, a title from a taxing state which is issued in the applicant’s name is sufficient documentation to prove that tax was paid at that state’s tax rate. The exemption of three months doesn’t apply to businesses which bring vehicles to Idaho from a state which does not tax;
  • Title Fee – $14.00;
  • Registration Fees – depend on the age, type, weight, inspection requirements and your county of residence; and
  • Power of Attorney – if you are applying for a title with a county assessor’s motor vehicle office through the mail then a Power of Attorney is needed. This allows the County Assessor to sign the application for the owner. The Power of Attorney must fully describe the vehicle and be signed by the owner/applicant.
  • Title Status Inquiry

    Idaho Transportation Department’s Registration and Title Database:

    Tile or Registration Record Search

    National Insurance Crime Bureau database:


    Idaho Laws regarding Motor Vehicles and VIN

    Idaho Title Searches

    Bill of Sale Form

    Vehicle Identification Number Inspection Certification

    Idaho Department of Transportation Registration and Title Searches

    Registration Fees

    Why are VIN checks so important in Idaho?

    VIN fraud is illegal and is a felony in the state of Idaho, including when the VIN is removed during the restoration of a car. One of the best ways to protect yourself from becoming the victim of vehicle fraud is to obtain a Vehicle History Report, which will include information such as:

    • Information on the past owners, including:
      • The number of owners the car has had; and
      • The odometer readings at the time of each change in ownership.
  • Whether there are liens on the vehicle – if you purchase a vehicle which has liens against it then you may be unwittingly assuming those loans when you buy the vehicle. This can even include liens such as child support which are tied to the owner of the car and not to the car itself;
  • Brand History – such as if the car was every used as a police car or a taxi;
  • Title and accident history – this will usually include any accident reports, information regarding whether the car was involved in a flood, whether the car has been in a salvage yard, and will also tell you the name of the legal owner of the car;
  • Odometer settings and rollback alerts – sellers of cars have been known to “rollback” the numbers on the odometer so that the car appears to have lower mileage which increases the value of the car; and
  • “Lemon” determination – a VIN check will alert you if your car has been deemed a “lemon” and been repurchased by the manufacturer.
  • Some VIN checks may even tell you information as specific as the dates of servicing of the vehicle or if it has previously been sold at an auction.

    Where do you get a VIN check in the state of Idaho?

    Idaho is one of the few states which contributes data to the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, yet they may not be the best option for searching for information when buying a vehicle in Idaho. The database provides data on cars that have been in recycling yards, junkyards, and salvage yards. There is also a free database which is run by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB.) They provide free VIN checks to the public which will tell you if the car has been reported stolen and not found, and if the vehicle has been in a salvage yard. The state of Idaho Transportation Department has its own website which allows you to search the Motor Vehicle Search and Registration Records and there are other private and public websites which can be easily found by a quick search on the Internet.



    Idaho Transportation Department

    Form for Idaho Motor Vehicle Record Request

    Lemon Law in Idaho

    Lemon laws in the State of Idaho are formally called Idaho’s Motor Vehicle Warranties statute and are in Title 48 Chapter 9 of the Idaho Code. The lemon law in Idaho don’t cover motorcycles, tractors, trailers, or all-terrain vehicles (ATVs,) and the only vehicles that can be covered by the Idaho lemon law must meet the following conditions:

    • Must have been purchased or leased in Idaho;
    • Weighs no more than 12,000 pounds; and
    • Is used primarily for personal business or for family/household reasons.

    Providing that your vehicle meets the above criteria, it is covered under the Idaho lemon law until (and if) one of the following occurs:

    • The manufacturer’s warranty expires;
    • The odometer on the vehicle hits 24,000 miles or more; or
    • Two (2) years have passed since you took possession of the vehicle.
    • NOTE: If you believe that your car may be a lemon, you must report the defect to the manufacturer and try to have it repaired before one of the above events ends.

    Most states which do not cover used cars explicitly state that used vehicles are ineligible for state lemon laws and refer the consumer to the federal “lemon law” (the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act); however, Idaho does not and therefore it appears that a second party that purchases the vehicle for the same purposes (household use and personal transportation) would also benefit from the warranty to the vehicle. The law also presumes that the consumer has notified the manufacturer or dealer and attempted to get the defect repaired. It is interesting to note that the although the period for reporting the defect is two (2) years or 24,000 miles, the dealer or manufacturer has three (3) years to make a reasonable number of repair attempts related to the defect discovered within the first two years or 24,000 miles.

    The definition of a “reasonable number of repair attempts” changes from state to state, in Idaho a “reasonable number” is more precisely defined as:

    • When the vehicle has been subject to repair four or more times by the manufacturer, the manufacturer’s agents or authorized dealers and the manufacturer had at least one opportunity to try to repair the defective vehicle, but the defect continues to exist;
    • The vehicle is out of service because it is in the shop either being repaired or is in the shop waiting on repairs to be performed for a total of thirty (30) days or more; or
    • The defect or nonconformity results in total failure of either the braking or the steering system and is therefore likely to cause death or serious bodily injury if the vehicle were driven. In situations like these, one repair attempt is sufficient to meet the “reasonable number of repair attempts.”

    After the consumer has given the manufacturer or the repair shop the reasonable number of repair attempts, the consumer is expected to provide the manufacturer of the car with written notice via certified mail with a return receipt requested. When you send this information to the manufacturer you should include all the information you have on the car, and the defect about which you are complaining, including:

    • Bill of Sale;
    • Title;
    • Description of defect of the car;
    • Copies of the dates that the car was either in the shop or was otherwise unable to be used by the consumer;
    • Notes that you have taken regarding phone conversations with repair shops, the dealer, or the manufacturer regarding the condition of the car and the defect. Include dates and names if you can.
    • Any copies of additional receipts that prove that you have you have spent money on due to the car’s defect, such as: towing fees, hotel receipts (if appropriate,) and receipts from rental car (if appropriate.)

    After you send the certified letter to the manufacturer, you must either give the manufacturer one more attempt to fix the defect. If repairs are not made, or are not successful, after the written notice, then the manufacturer is responsible for compensating the consumer with either a new vehicle of comparable value or a full refund of the purchase price of the vehicle.

    Pamphlet from the Idaho Attorney General regarding the Lemon Law

    Do you need to hire an attorney for a lemon law case in Idaho?

    While it is not necessary to hire an attorney for a lemon law case, it may be a wise decision depending on the amount of time that you are able to commit to fighting a large company and your knowledge of the law and the legal system. If you do not have an attorney, the Idaho Bar Association has a Lawyer Referral Service that you can contact at 208-334-4500 or via their website.

    You are searching for an attorney who:

    • Comes highly recommended – ask friends and family if they know any good attorneys;
    • Has experience with lemon law cases in Idaho – each state has their own lemon law with specific time periods, vehicles covered, and you want an attorney who is familiar with the laws specific to the state of Idaho;
    • Affordable;
    • Trustworthy – someone that you get along with well and whom you trust is imperative when hiring an attorney; and
    • Confident – Are they confident representing you in court? Are you comfortable with this person speaking as your agent in a court?
    What are some of the benefits of hiring an attorney for a lemon law case?

    It is important to remember that the manufacturer of the car and the dealers will have legal experts on their side and you might want the same kind of expertise on your side. A lawyer will represent you in court, but they will also:

    • Explain the lemon law in the state of Idaho to you;
    • Help you to gather all the necessary documents;
    • Help to ensure that the manufacturer is treating you fairly;
    • Speed up the court process or the process before going to court; and
    • Help you to navigate the courts and the legal terms.
    Recommendations to protect yourself from being the victim of a lemon law:

    Some recommendations to protect yourself from a possible lemon law include:

    • Read and UNDERSTAND the warranty before purchasing the car;
    • Keep a copy of the receipt and the information you receive when you purchase and take possession of the car;
    • Follow recommendations in the owners’ manual when it comes to recommended car maintenance;
    • Contact the dealer immediately if you are having problems;
    • If you begin to experience problems keep all the documentation together, including receipts, emails and notes from telephone conversations;
    • If you decide to consult with an attorney and do not have one, contact the Idaho Bar Association Lawyer’s Referral Service at 208-334-4500 or online via their website;
    • When mailing paperwork to the dealer always use certified mail;
    • Contact the Better Business Bureau at 800-955-5100; and
    • Contact the Idaho Office of the Attorney General at 800-432-3545 or via the website.

    Idaho Office of the Attorney General

    Idaho Lawyer Referral Service

    Idaho DMV
    6107 Graye Ln
    1 208-454-7487

    Idaho Division of Motor Vehicles
    630 Addison Ave W
    1 208-735-4850

    Madison County Drivers License
    145 E Main St
    1 208-359-3281

    Inkom Port of Entry
    59 I-15BL
    1 208-775-3322

    Department of Motor Vehicles – Bonneville
    254 E St
    1 208-529-1350

    Idaho County Driver’s License
    320 W Main St #33
    1 208-983-2217

    Chinden DMV
    9115 W Chinden Blvd #103
    1 208-577-4666

    Buhl Department of Motor Vehicles
    201 Broadway Ave N
    1 208-543-8023

    Idaho County Assessor
    320 W Main St #1
    1 208-983-2742

    Boise County Drivers License
    3851 ID-21
    1 208-392-6059

    Gem County Driver’s License
    415 E Main St #101
    1 208-365-3524

    Nez Perce County Drivers License
    1150 Wall St
    1 208-799-3138

    Payette County Drivers License
    1130 3rd Ave N #102
    1 208-642-6013

    Teton County Motor Vehicles
    25 E Wallace Ave
    1 208-354-2938

    Jefferson County Drivers License
    200 Courthouse Way
    1 208-745-9229

    Washington County Drivers
    262 E Court St
    1 208-414-2565

    Shelley City Hall
    101 S Emerson Ave
    1 208-357-3390

    Franklin County Assessor
    51 W Oneida St
    1 208-852-1091

    Bannock County Motor Vehicle
    130 N 6th Ave
    1 208-236-7200

    Shoshone County Drivers License Office
    717 Bank St
    1 208-556-0654

    DMV Rexburg
    134 E Main St
    1 208-356-9236

    Elmore County Motor Vehicle
    150 S 4th E St # 2
    1 208-587-2127

    Nez Perce County Motor Vehicles DMV
    1230 Main St
    1 208-799-3026

    Custer County Assessor
    801 E Main Ave
    1 208-879-2325

    Cassia County Assessor
    203 E 15th St
    1 208-878-3549

    Blaine County Driver’s License
    219 S 1st Ave # 109
    1 208-788-5565

    Power County Assessor
    543 Bannock Ave
    1 208-226-7616

    Caribou County Assessor
    159 S Main St
    1 208-547-3733

    Power County Driver’s License
    550 Gifford Ave
    1 208-226-2311

    Elmore County Driver’s License
    125 S 5th E
    1 208-587-1888

    Latah County Driver’s License
    Eastside Marketplace
    1420 S Blaine St #10
    1 208-883-7216

    Fremont County Motor Vehicle
    151 W 1st N #3
    1 208-624-4449

    Motor Vehicle Department
    700 Bank St #45
    1 208-752-1201

    Lincoln County Motor Vehicle
    119 W A St
    1 208-886-7755

    Cassia County Motor Vehicle
    203 E 15th St
    1 208-878-3549

    Camas County Assessor
    517 Soldier Rd
    1 208-764-2370

    Valley County Drivers License
    107 W Spring St
    1 208-382-4203

    Blaine County Motor Vehicle
    219 S 1st Ave #103
    1 208-788-5538

    Butte County Assessor
    248 W Grand Ave
    1 208-527-8288

    Meridian City Motor Vehicle
    1769 N Lakes Pl # 100
    1 208-577-4700

    Elmore County Offices
    201 N Commercial St
    1 208-366-2136

    Clearwater County Auto Licensing
    1 208-476-4912

    Clearwater Driver’s License
    2200 Michigan Ave
    1 208-476-4521

    Benewah County Assessor
    701 College Ave # 7
    1 208-245-2821

    Gooding County Assessor
    145 7th Ave E
    1 208-934-5666

    Kootenai County Vehicle Licensing
    120 Railroad Ave
    1 208-446-1590

    Bingham County Assessor
    501 N Maple St
    1 208-782-3024

    Kootenai Motor Vehicle License
    451 N Government Way
    1 208-446-1580

    Ontario DMV
    787 SW 7th Pl
    1 541-889-8712

    Bonner County Dmv
    300 Bonner Mall Way
    1 208-265-1430

    Jerome County Assessor
    Jerome County Courthouse
    300 N Lincoln Ave # 205
    1 208-644-2740

    Bonner Driver’s License Office
    73 Eastside Rd
    1 208-448-2816

    Driver’s License
    215 S 1st Ave
    1 208-265-1431

    Nevada DMV
    3920 Idaho St
    1 877-368-7828
    Closed today

    Boundary County Motor Vehicle
    6452 Kootenai St
    1 208-267-7613

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