Because manufactured homes travel the highways, on their own chassis en route to the home-site, most states classify a manufactured or mobile home as a motor vehicle. As a “motor vehicle” the home is given a vehicle identification number (VIN) just like any other motor vehicle.
The Short Answer
The vehicle identification number (VIN) can be found in one of two places on the home:
- Inside – The VIN can be located on the Data Plate for the home.
- Exterior – The VIN will be stamped onto the steel frame of each section of the home.
See below for additional information as to finding the data plate inside, or where the steel frame stamping will be. Also, why is the VIN important?
Why Is The VIN Important For My Mobile Home?
Just like any motor vehicle, the VIN offers specific information coded into the number about that home. For a manufactured home, the VIN will have the following components to the number:
- Manufacture ID – There will be 3 digests that identify the manufacturer and the manufacturing plant where the mobile home was produced.
- State Of Manufacture – There will be 2 letters identifying the state where the manufactured home was built.
- Serial Number – This will be a number assigned by the manufacture that uniquely identifies that particular home.
- Section Code
- If the home is a single-wide it will not have a section identifier.
- If the home is a multi-wide home, there will be an “A” or “B” or “C” identifying the section. A/B is used for double-wide homes. A/B/C would be for a triple wide. The letter A, B or C identifies the separate sections.
- The rest of the VIN for each section is identical except for the letter identifying the section.
Just like with any motor vehicle, the home will have a title. If the home is a multi-section home, then there will be a separate title for each section of the home. The VIN on the title should match the VIN found on the home.
When buying or selling, the VIN on the title should be matched against the one on the home. This prevents any mistakes or scams that might be taking place.
VIN Located Inside On The Data Plate
The easiest place to find the VIN is inside the home on the HUD required data plate. The data plate is required by HUD to be placed in every manufactured home before leaving the factory. The data plate offers pertinent information about that particular home, including the VIN.
Data plates are usually located:
- On an inside wall of the master bedroom closet, or
- On the inside of a cabinet in the kitchen, or
- On a wall around the HVAC system closet.
Sometimes, during the life of the home, an owner might not understand the importance of the data plate. They may have removed or even painted over the data plate. At times, when the data plate has been removed, the owner understands its importance and file it away with the other papers on the home.
If you’re purchasing a home that has an unattached data plate, make sure to match the VIN number found on the data plate with the VIN number stamped on the steel frame of the home to make sure you have the proper data plate.
VIN Located Outside On The Steel Chassis Frame
The second place to find the VIN, this one takes a little more effort, is on the steel chassis of the home.
If the home is an older home with the triangular tongue still attached to the home, the VIN may be embossed on the beam for the tongue. It would be in letters at least 3/8” tall.
Most modern manufactured homes have the triangular tongue beams removed when the home is set up. It will be necessary to remove some of the skirting along the front of the home. Once the skirting is out of the way, there is a steel beam that runs parallel with the front of the home, and perpendicular to the side. This is the steel beam that the triangular tongue beams attach to.
The VIN will be etched or embossed onto the face of this steel beam. The letters may be anywhere from 3/8” to 2” high. If you have a multi-wide home, there will be a separate number on each section of the home. The numbers will appear the same except fo the last. It will actually be a letter, A, B or C, identifying that particular section of the home.
These VIN numbers should be matched against the title to the home to make sure the title actually goes to that unit.
The HUD tag, required to be attached to a manufactured home, is important for many reasons. We have purchased, been given, or acquired “somehow” many older mobile homes that we have renovated and flipped. In order to sell these homes, we have to have a title, a VIN number and often are required to reference the HUD tag as well as the home’s data plate. So where can all this be found? And … what does any of it mean?
The tag, issued by HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) is a 2” by 4” plate made of metal that is attached to an exterior wall of each section of a mobile home. A single wide has one tag, and a double-wide will have two tags. In general, people will refer to this as the HUD label.
This metal tag generally should be attached to the rear of the home, usually about a foot from the side and a foot up from the bottom. This has been required by HUD on every manufactured home built since June of 1976.
What Is The Data Plate?
The “Data Plate” is a paper label affixed inside the home and is the size of a standard sheet of paper (8 1/2” x 11”). The Data Plate can be found:
- In a kitchen cabinet,
- An electrical panel,
- A bedroom closet,
- Inside the water heater closet,
- Or the inside of a bathroom cabinet door.
The Data Plate has maps of the United States to inform the owner of the Wind Zone, Snow Load, and Roof Load of the home; the Data Plate Will contain the following information:
- The name and address of the manufacturing plant in which the manufactured home was manufactured;
- The serial number and model designation of the unit, and the date the unit was manufactured;
- The statement: This manufactured home is designed to comply with Federal manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards in force at the time of manufacture;
- A list of the certification label(s) number(s) that are affixed to each transportable manufactured section under 3280.8;
- A list of major factory-installed equipment, including the manufacturer’s name and the model designation of each appliance;
- Reference to the roof load zone and wind load zone for which the home is designed and duplicates the maps as set forth in 3280.305c. This information may be combined with the heating/cooling certificate and insulation zone map required by 3280.510 and 3280.511. The Wind Zone Map on the Data Plate shall also contain the statement:
Data Plates Should Never Be Removed
If you are remodeling a home and plan on replacing whatever the data plate is attached to, you need to CAREFULLY remove it and attach it to one of the other approved areas in the home.
This plate should be kept by whatever means is necessary. Without the Data Plate, you may not be able to get financing on the home.
It would be advisable to place clear plastic over the Data Plate to keep it from being destroyed.