What is VIN etching?
VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) etching is when the 17 character serial number that is unique to each vehicle is etched onto the vehicle’s windows. The serial number can also be etched onto various vehicle parts, like the engine.
Why should I consider VIN etching?
VIN etching is a great idea for several reasons.
- VIN etching can help reduce the likely hood of your car being stolen.
VIN etched vehicles are 65% less likely to be stolen. Additionally, stolen vehicles are 85% more likely to be recovered if they have VIN etching.
Etching the VIN number onto your windows forces a thief to replace the windows before the vehicle can be sold. Replacing windows is expensive – it can be several thousand dollars! This reduces the profit that thief can make on your vehicle. VIN etching major vehicle parts (like your engine) can help prevent thieves from selling your vehicle’s parts.
Insurance companies give discounts for various anti-theft measures. VIN etching counts as a passive anti-theft measure. Most insurance companies will give you a discount on the comprehensive part of your premium. (Comprehensive insurance is what protects you if your vehicle is stolen). The discount depends on the company, but it can range from 5-15%.
How much does VIN etching cost?
VIN etching should cost on average no more than $20-$40 dollars. There are many do-it-yourself VIN etching kits available. Usually VIN etching your car yourself should take 15-20 minutes.
Additionally, you may be able to get VIN etching for free. The Austin Police Department holds multiple events throughout the year providing free VIN etching. Check their website for more information on dates and locations. If you are AAA member you may want to call them to see if they have any local VIN etching events. AAA has held VIN etching events throughout the country for free or at cost.
What is the VIN etching car scam?
The VIN etching scam is often associated with dealerships and some body shops. They offer VIN etching but will charge you $150-$500 for the service. If you are at a dealership or body shop that does this, leave immediately. The cost for VIN etching is minimal, and anyone who is charging you hundreds of dollars is scamming you.
Will VIN etching hurt my vehicle’s resale value?
VIN etching can actually increase the resale value of your car!
Where can I get VIN etching for my vehicle done?
Some dealerships, auto body shops, and window replacement businesses offer this as a service. However, make sure they are charging you fairly for the VIN etching.
You can buy a VIN etching kit online, and do it yourself. Most VIN etching kits will cost $20-$40 and take you 15-20 minutes to do yourself.
VIN etching is a great passive anti-theft precaution that you can take. It is cheap and doesn’t take a lot of time if you are doing it yourself. Long term, it can save you money on your insurance.