Yes, travel trailers have VIN Numbers, and this includes pop-up and vintage travel trailers. In the United States, this became a practice in 1954, so there will be one somewhere.
However, the VIN number might look different than you expect if it was made before 1980. There wasn’t always logic to those numbers, so gleaming information from them can be difficult.
Are VIN Numbers and Serial Numbers the Same Thing?
If manufactured before 1980, then yes, they are the same. Standardization of VIN numbers didn’t happen until 1981, so manufacturers used serial numbers as the VIN numbers.
Starting in 1981, they became different numbers. Now, serial numbers are included in the VIN, but they are only the final six digits of the number.
Where Can You Find the VIN number on a Travel Trailer?
While there isn’t a standard location to find a VIN number, there are common places to find them. These are the most likely spots to locate a VIN:
Most Common VIN Number Locations
- The VIN will probably be around the trailer tongue and hitch.
- A thicker part of the frame located underneath. If here, it is probably at the front or rear of the trailer.
- Exterior compartments
- Interior cabinets
- On the Federal Certification Label (Locations listed below)
Less Common VIN Number Locations
- Wheel wells
- Wardrobe Closet
- Door frame
- Underneath the kitchen sink
Where Can You Find the VIN Number on a Vintage Travel Trailer?
If you are looking for a VIN number on a vintage travel trailer, look on the frame. It might not be initially obvious because they were often placed underneath the LP tanks.
Where Can You Find the VIN Number on a Pop-up Travel Trailer?
On a pop-up trailer, you will want to look on the frame and inside cabinets.
The Federal Certification Label
All vehicles must meet federal requirements which include safety standards for both Canada and the United States. When all of the certifications have been met and the vehicle is ready to be sold, the label is affixed.
You will find the VIN number on this label.
Where Can You Find the Federal Certification Label?
There are three places that you should check:
- The front-left corner near the bottom of the sidewall
- Around the entry door
- Inside one of the cabinets
How to Identify and Decipher a VIN Number
Sometimes a VIN number is stamped and sometimes it is located on a metal plate. Since the standardization, the 17 alphanumeric code contains the following information in this exact format:
World Manufacturer Identifier: In this example, the WMI is “5J8.” It refers to the part of the code that contains the country of origin and the manufacturer. If built in the United States, the first number will be a 1,4, or 5.
Check Digit: The ninth digit is sometimes called a security code, and it isn’t really important to the owner. It is used in a calculation that checks the VIN number to ensure that it is properly formatted.
Serial Number: The final six digits are assigned to the serial number. It has several uses, but it all comes down to identifying when it was made. If you need a replacement part, this will help you find the exact one that you need.
Sometimes a manufacturing plant makes a mistake and issues a recall on some of the units. The serial number will be useful in determining when your trailer was made and if it is part of the recall group.
Vehicle Year: The 10th digit corresponds to a year. It is pretty straightforward, and you can use the chart below to determine the year of your trailer.