Where do I find the VIN/serial number on a very old (pre-1976) mobile home?
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
If your mobile home was built after June 15, 1976, see our other blog post Where do I find the vehicle identification number (VIN) on a mobile home? That’s the date the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) took over responsibility for mobile home standards, and also officially changed the name to “manufactured home.” There are multiple ways to find the VIN/serial number on a HUD-era home, but older ones can be problematic.
Pre-HUD mobile homes definitely have a serial number stamped on the frame but, unlike newer homes, it is not required to be stamped in the front steel beam cross-member under the home (the beam that the tow hitch is bolted onto, perpendicular to the long side of the mobile home). It is likely there, but could also have been stamped on the towing tongue, which may be long gone. Or it might be on another location on the I-beam frame.
Another complication is that the stamping is usually not impressed very deeply into the steel and 40-plus years of corrosion may have made it difficult to find or unreadable when you find it.
The older homes also did not have a HUD-mandated data plate inside the home with the VIN/serial number noted on it, but many did have a similar sticker posted on an interior wall (often a closet), or inside of a cabinet door, or near the electric panel. Look around the home interior but, again, it may have disappeared after years of repainting and remodeling.
The last place to look is the public records of the Deparment of Motor Vehicles for your state in a previous title transfer or, if the home was converted from personal property to real property, the county property appraiser or tax collector’s office. The serial number may been retired as part of the conversion to real property, but will appear on the paperwork for the conversion. There may be a fee charged for a records search to get your number.
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