Yes, travel trailers have VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) numbers. The VIN number on a travel trailer is a unique number that is specific to that travel trailer. You can think of a travel trailer’s VIN as a fingerprint as no two campers will have the same number.
The VIN is composed of 17 alpha-numeric characters (number and capital letters) that are a trailers unique identifier. The VIN is useful when tracking registrations, recalls, warranty claims, insurance coverage, and theft.
What Do RV VIN Numbers Mean?
First off it’s important to note VIN numbers are not just a series of random alphanumeric character. There truly is a structure to the VIN number and what it means. The VIN number is going to tell you the model year of your travel trailer as well as the serial number. For a thorough breakdown and explanation of how VIN numbers for travel trailers are structured and what the numbers mean you can read this excellent article from POP Yachts.
Where Are VIN Numbers Located on Travel Trailers
For towable recreational vehicles, travel trailers and fifth wheels, you will find the VIN number metal plate or on the Federal certification label. The label is typically on the left front corner (lower roadside)of the RV somewhere near the bottom of the sidewall. You can also find it, sometimes but not always, inside a cabinet or entry screen door. The metal plate with the VIN number can be found on the trailer tongue, frame rail leading to the hitch or it could be stamped on some metal part of the frame. This is how they are formatted.
The Federal Certification Label is required by the government to verify the trailer complies with all motor vehicle standards for Canada and the United States. It includes the following information: Manufacturer name, VIN, GVWR, GAWR (front/rear), tire & rim sizes and cold tire inflation pressures. Here is an example of a Federal Certification label from Heartland RV.
How To Tell The Year Of Your Travel Trailer
This is where the VIN number becomes helpful. The 10th character on your VIN number determines the model year of your travel trailer. That 10th character can either be a letter or a number, however, it is never a zero to avoid confusion. Prior to 1981 VIN numbers were not standardized. The chart below show the year to VIN numbers.
VIN Number on A Vintage Camper
When it comes to finding the VIN number on a vintage travel trailer you’ll need to do a bit more research. Prior to 1981 VIN number where not standardized and even today their is typically no set standard for it’s location. The frame is one of the first places to look. In the video below
Do Pop-up Campers Have VIN Numbers?
Yes, most pop-ups have VIN numbers unless they are vintage and they may not have one. Like towable travel trailers, pop-ups have their VIN number on the frame or on a stick either on the side or inside a cabinet door.
For further reading on pop up check our list of the 10 Best Pop Up Campers.
How Do I Get a VIN Number For My Old Travel Trailer>
If you have a very old travel trailer it’s possible it did not come with a VIN number or the number is so worn out that it is no longer legible. If you cannot find any documentation with the VIN number on it you may need to apply with your state’s DMV to have a new VIN number issues for your travel trailer.
The process for getting a new VIN depends on the state you are in. Your best course of action is to check with your state’s DMV for your particular process. Chances are you will need to complete and file an application, to prove ownership you will need a bill of sale, trailer weight and conduct any state-required inspections.
Is The VIN Number and Serial Number The Same Thing?
No they are not. The VIN (Vehicle Identification Number ) is a unique number assigned to the travel trailer. The serial number is the last six character of the VIN number.