Do Side-by-Sides Have VIN Numbers?
VINs or Vehicle Identification Numbers are used to differentiate between vehicles. Each VIN is unique and tells a lot of helpful information on a vehicle. Side-by-sides, although quite different than the traditional car, also have VINs. The location of the code within the vehicle depends on the particular brand of your side-by-side.
In this article, we’ll explain what side-by-side VINs mean, do side-by-sides have VIN numbers, and for what they’re used.
What Exactly Are VINs?
Vehicle Identification Numbers are combinations of alphanumeric characters that form a unique code to identify a particular vehicle. UTVs, also known as side-by-sides, have a VIN composed of 17 symbols. These aren’t randomly combined, with each letter or number having a particular meaning. These are:
- The first character stands for the vehicle’s country code.
- The second character stands for the manufacturer’s code.
- The third character stands for the manufacturer’s vehicle code.
- Characters four to eight refer to the engine size, engine type, and vehicle model.
- The ninth character refers to the manufacturer’s security code.
- The tenth character refers to the vehicle’s model year.
- The eleventh character is the manufacturer’s factory code.
- The last six characters are the vehicle’s serial number.
If you know how to read a vehicle VIN, you can learn a lot by looking at a UTV’s code. If you know your side-by-side’s VIN, you can use a decoder website to find out the general data of your vehicle. It’s an interesting way to look at your UTV’s history or check if your vehicle and VIN actually match.
Where Can I Find VINs in My Side-by-Side?
The Vehicle Identification Number of a side-by-side can be located in different areas, depending on its make and model. Therefore, before you search your vehicle, try and look for the VIN in the title, the certificate of origin, the insurance papers, or the user’s manual. If you find them there, you just saved yourself the trouble of rummaging through the vehicle itself. Otherwise, refer to the list below:
Arctic Cat and Textron UTVs
- Prowler 500 – The VIN should be behind a frame on the front-right tire.
- Prowler EV – The VIN is at two locations, on a PIN plate in the front frame of the UTV and underneath the tailgate at the middle of the cross tube.
- Wildcat Trail, Wildcat Sport, Wildcat X, and Wildcat XX – On a decal on a support tube inside the front tire on the driver’s side. It will also be stamped on the tube itself.
- Commander – The VIN can be found in a label inside the glove compartment.
- Defender Models 2019 and earlier – The VIN can also be found inside the glove compartment.
- Defender Model 2020 and after – Found on a label on the front wheel well on the passenger side.
- 2013 – 2017 Mavericks, 2018 Mavericks except for the X3 X MR, 2019 Maverick Sport, 2019 Maverick Trail, 2019 Maverick Sport X MR, 2019 Maverick Sport Max – In a label under the glove compartment.
- 2018 Maverick X3 X MR, 2019 Maverick X MR, 2019 Maverick Series, 2019 Maverick Max, 2020 Maverick X MR, 2020 Maverick Max, 2020 Maverick Series – On a label behind the passenger seat.
- 2019 Maverick Sport Max T, 2019 Maverick Trail T Series, 2020 Maverick Sport T Series – On a plate inside the UTV on the driver’s side at the front.
- 2020 Maverick Sport Max, 2020 Maverick Sport Max T, 2020 Maverick Sport X MR, 2020 maverick Trail Sport, 2020 Maverick Trail Sport T – On a plate inside the UTV at the front of the passenger’s side.
- UForce – The VIN number should be stamped on the rear of the vehicle’s frame. Depending on the model, it can either be on the driver’s or passenger’s side.
- ZForce – The VIN should be stamped at the rear of the frame along the passenger’s side, just in front of the rear tire.
- Pioneer – The number should be located along the frame on the driver’s side, just below the cargo bed in the rear.
- Talon 1000R, Talon 1000X – the VIN is located just below the left fender in the front, along the frame on the driver’s side.
- Mule 600, 610 4 x4 – The VIN should be along the frame rail under the bench seat right on top of the fuel tank.
- Mule Trans 4 x 4 – Along the frame rail right under the front bench seat on the driver’s side.
- Most later Mule models – Along the frame rail under the front bench seat of the passenger’s side.
- Mule 1988 – 1999 – The VIN should be along the frame on the front side of the vehicle.
- Teryx – Along the frame just behind the front wheel on the passenger’s side.
- Teryx KRX – Along the front wheel well on the driver’s side.
- The VIN is generally along the frame on the rear wheel well on the driver’s side.
- Ranger 99 and Series 10 – The VIN should be on the console cover on the driver’s side.
- Ranger Series 11 up to 2014 models – The VIN should be in the front wheel well on the driver’s side. If it’s not, check if your vehicle is one of the exceptions in this range.
- Ranger Model 2015 and later – Your VIN should be in the rear wheel well on the driver’s side. If it’s not, check to see if it’s an exception.
- Youth RZR 170 – The VIN should be in the front wheel well on the driver’s side.
- All other RZR Models – Along the frame in the rear wheel well on the driver’s side.
All Suzuki UTV models should have the VIN stamped on the frame along the lower left or left rear side.
Rhino, Viking, Wolverine, YXZ – Stamped along the frame along the rear tire on the driver’s side.
Once you’ve located your VIN, write it down either in the certificate of origin or other UTV paperwork for easy access. Having your VIN ready for transactions involving your side-by-side is always a good thing.
Why Are VINs so Important?
Having the VIN is essential for ensuring legitimate transactions, especially if you’re purchasing a second-hand vehicle. Unfortunately, side-by-sides are relatively easier to steal than regular cars, and some states don’t even require registering them. The Vehicle Identification Number is the easiest way to track individual machines and may be the only option for finding a stolen vehicle.
You should never buy a second-hand side-by-side without confirming its VIN first. Any vendor refusing to disclose their vehicle’s VIN is a red flag that it might be stolen. Data associated with a particular VIN aren’t a matter of public record, so there shouldn’t be any issues about disclosure. The only data gained from a Vehicle Identification Number is general vehicle information and history.
A few VIN search services may reveal names and addresses of previous owners, though most require proof of title or ownership before disclosing data. More detailed VIN searches are performed by companies that charge a fee to discourage scammers from using such information illegally.
How Can I Check a VIN?
The vendor will usually provide a website to double-check VIN numbers whenever you purchase a new side-by-side. There are free websites like VINCheck that offer the same service for free. In addition, websites like Carfax and Dirt Legal offer VIN checks for a fee and produce more detailed vehicle records.
These websites become more critical when buying second-hand UTVs where the danger of buying stolen vehicles is greater. You can refer to the lists above in case the vendor doesn’t have their VIN on hand to search for them.
Can I Change My VIN?
As a general rule, changing or tampering with a vehicle’s VIN is illegal in the United States. The few exceptions to the rule are when you’re restoring a car or when you import vehicles from abroad. In the rare chance that you’re included in the exceptions, you will have to get in touch with your local DMV for the exact replacement procedures.
Do I Need My VIN for Certificates of Title or Insurance?
Yes. Generally, if you wish to obtain a certificate of title for your side-by-side, you’ll need to present a certificate of origin along with the VIN. Your local DMV will use this info to ensure that there aren’t any vehicles with the same VIN in their database. Insurance providers also require the VIN for uniquely identifying the insured vehicle.
It’s also important to note that any vehicles involved in accidents, insured or not, will have their VIN registered in a database. This makes it easier for potential buyers to check the accident history of the side-by-side that they’re planning to buy.
Know Your VIN
Just like regular automobiles, side-by-sides have VIN Numbers as well. Knowing the VIN of your UTV is always helpful, and having them close-at-hand for emergencies is always a good idea. For those who intend to purchase a second-hand side-by-side, knowing where to find the VIN for a particular UTV model may prevent headaches in the long run.