When did VIN first appear under windshield ? Is it now mandatory ?

Petrol Pete

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As Above.

I did a bit of work on my 2006 Toyota yesterday and despite having owned it for a few years now I just noticed that there is no VIN number on the dash showing through the windshield (I really must wash that car more often :p )

We have older cars with a dashboard VIN and I was just wondering if it was up to individual manufacturers to include it or just leave it on the B pillar , under the carpet or in the engine bay . SWMBO 2004 Zafira has windshield VIN and one under a plastic trap door drivers side floor.

Just curious.
 

markjay

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When in the Continent I noticed that in certain countries no cars have VIN on the windscreen, so it seems to be down to the local market. In fact, it's a line entry on the Datacard, so clearly an option for some markets. Is your Toyota a Japanese import by any chance?
 

markjay

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Found this posted on one of the forums, no way to know if it is correct but it does sound plausible:

"It is a legal requirement in some markets for the vehicle manufactures to manufacture their vehicles so that the VIN is visible from new, but there is no legal requirement on the owner/maintainer to retain this feature."
 

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In it's past it may have been in the custody of a salvage yard or insurance holding business. They tend to remove the VIN plate behind the screen for whatever reason.
 

markjay

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In it's past it may have been in the custody of a salvage yard or insurance holding business. They tend to remove the VIN plate behind the screen for whatever reason.

So that they can sell the windscreen as parts?
 
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Petrol Pete

Petrol Pete

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When in the Continent I noticed that in certain countries no cars have VIN on the windscreen, so it seems to be down to the local market. In fact, it's a line entry on the Datacard, so clearly an option for some markets. Is your Toyota a Japanese import by any chance?
No , it's UK spec ...built in France ! :eek:
 
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Petrol Pete

Petrol Pete

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In it's past it may have been in the custody of a salvage yard or insurance holding business. They tend to remove the VIN plate behind the screen for whatever reason.
No , it has never had one . There is no space or empty 'window' behind the screen for a visible VIN plate to reside in.
 

markjay

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Perhaps the windscreen was replaced at some point?
 

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I first saw this in the US many years ago, then it gradually appeared here but no idea when.
 

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Genuine UK market cars have had the vin shown on the frontmost part of the dashboard visible through the WINDSCREEN for many years. Vehicles in the rest of Europe seem not to have it.
 
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Petrol Pete

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It could be that the UK market did not specify it's inclusion until a certain date and it's cheaper to build a car without it so they left it out if allowed. As I said my Toyota is French built and the older Zafira built in Germany (with visible VIN) , the Zaf might be from Brazil or Philippines but I doubt it.

So that raises another question. If your car has a VIN visible to all passers by are you legally allowed to cover it up , whatever your motives are ? ie: is it a legal requirement to leave it visible for law enforcement ?
 

markjay

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It could be that the UK market did not specify it's inclusion until a certain date and it's cheaper to build a car without it so they left it out if allowed. As I said my Toyota is French built and the older Zafira built in Germany (with visible VIN) , the Zaf might be from Brazil or Philippines but I doubt it.

So that raises another question. If your car has a VIN visible to all passers by are you legally allowed to cover it up , whatever your motives are ? ie: is it a legal requirement to leave it visible for law enforcement ?

The quote in my post #3 seems plausible - e.g. perhaps it's like Start/Stop, i.e. every new car must have it, but whether the owners later switch it off or even disable the feature altogether is down to them - the car won't be unroadworthy or illegal if the auxiliary battery is removed, for example.
 
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Petrol Pete

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As markjay says ^^^^ . but then why bother at all ? Somebody somewhere must have asked for this feature which will add cost to the build of a car...but it appears it is not mandatory in cars of the same age sold into the same marketplace.

I recently spent quite a while working in the car manufacturing industry and I know how a tiny (almost seemingly pointless) change on something has a big impact on the build , sometimes in cost and sometimes just in time and complexity on the production line.

We might never know the answer , just one of those 'things' 🤷‍♂️
 

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As markjay says ^^^^ . but then why bother at all ? Somebody somewhere must have asked for this feature which will add cost to the build of a car...but it appears it is not mandatory in cars of the same age sold into the same marketplace.

I recently spent quite a while working in the car manufacturing industry and I know how a tiny (almost seemingly pointless) change on something has a big impact on the build , sometimes in cost and sometimes just in time and complexity on the production line.

We might never know the answer , just one of those 'things' 🤷‍♂️

Interestingly, the cars I saw in Europe, still had the little rectangular see-through window in the windscreen, even though there was no VIN underneath. So I'm guessing that displaying the VIN in the windscreen isn't a UK peculiarity, but probably quite common in many countries around the world - unlikely that MB would have equipped every car they make with a UK-specific windscreen.
 

markjay

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On another note, back in 1990 I collected a new W201 from Sindelfingen for the father of a friend, drove it to Cologne to have it loaded on a plane and shipped abroad (the father was a construction engineer working in Africa and the Middle East at the time).

When collecting the car, it turned-out that while the car had the right spec for export, the documents accompanying it were for shipping to the UK. The explanation was that the documents were automatically generated according the owner's address, which was given in the UK.

The solution was to hand back the car (which we already collected and was parked in the customers car park) - apparently it had to go back to a certain point at the end of the assembly line and reprocessed from there with the new shipping address, so that the computer can automatically regenerate the correct documents after the address was corrected on the system.

I remember the car being driven by an MB employee through a tunnel back into the factory - carefully navigating around the stream of cars coming in the opposite direction.... unexpectedly, there was a delay, because the second PDI found a fault that the first one didn't - excess wax on the panel joints inside the engine bay. This was rectified, but the local registration office was now closed, so MB could not provide us with the new Zollkennzeichen - the white oval customs plates than were needed to drive the car in Germany - yes, the car had to be reregistered with the local Kraftfahrzeug Zulassungsstelle presenting the new export documents. So we stayed another night in Stuttgart and came back the next day to (finally) pick-up the car.

On the plus side, driving a brand new car from Sindelfingen to Cologne was a nice experience...

The bottom line is that - as Pete rightly said - the slightest change in spec can spell a major headache (and cost) for car manufacturers.
 

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From what I have found (UK C&U legislation & EU Regulations), there are requirements for the VIN to be stamped or etched in an accessible location in a part of the vehicle that cannot be readily replaced, and also a requirement for the VIN to be displayed with other information on a plate or sticker that is easily visible. These relate to vehicles manufactured or first used after 01/01/1980.

What I cannot find is any legal requirement for the VIN to be visible through the windscreen, except in the USA where it has been a mandatory requirement since 1968.
 

markjay

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Petrol Pete

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So as markjay has discovered in post #19 ^^^ it is not a requirement , useful for anyone working on the car needing to order parts and possibly helpful to law enforcement .

👍
 

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