VINs, Keys and Thieves

image of what vehicle VINs look likeWe have been getting some emails about thieves writing VINS from cars, then going to the garage, with a story of course, and getting a key made for your car. Could you write something on this and verify this statement is true. What can we do to stop this?

Keys Cut From VINs

It is possible to provide VINs to a dealer or locksmith and then having a functional key cut using only this information.

Covering Up the VIN Plate

The e-mail that you are speaking of advises that you should cover up the publicly viewable VIN on your vehicle so that a potential thief cannot see it from outside and then use it to have a key cut.

There is nothing wrong with following this advice. The law does not forbid you from covering up the VIN, but it does need to be available for viewing if you are stopped by police and they wish to verify it with your registration documents and other public VINs displayed on your vehicle.

Be Careful How You Cover the VIN

Don't cover up the number in such a way that it will cause you difficulty in uncovering it for this purpose!

Don't Remove the VIN Plate!

However, don't take this advice a step too far and remove or deface the VIN. If you were to do so, the Criminal Code tells police that they may conclude that the vehicle is stolen from this fact alone. That would provide grounds for seizure of the vehicle if ownership needed to be proven.

You would also be required to notify ICBC immediately and apply for and mark a new VIN as instructed.

Preventing Vehicle Theft

I suspect that the chances of this actually happening to you are slight. It is far more likely that the thief will just break in, and force or hotwire the ignition switch and drive away. Preventing your vehicle from being stolen is more likely to be successful through the use of an anti-theft device.

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Maybe a bit off topic but a lost key fob can be a pricey problem. A senior neighbour lost the key fob to her Chrysler minivan and was quoted close to $400 to replace it at the dealer.

I suggested she contact a locksmith who did the job for $75. I also believe that Canadian Tire has much the same price. Finally if you still have one on hand you can order one from Amazon and program it from the original.