Man holding steering wheel

VIC has gone! The end of the ringer?

Jun 19, 2014

The DVSA have announced that the Vehicle Identity Check (not your mate from down the pub!) is to be no longer.

I anticipate that most people's reaction to this would be: What on earth is, or rather was, the Vehicle Identity Check (VIC)? They only came into play when a vehicle was notified by an insurance company as being a Category C write-off. In plain English, this means that the insurance company has said that the damage to the vehicle was such that, although technically it could be repaired, the cost of new parts was such that it would cost more than the finished car was worth.

The truth of the matter is that the car could very easily go back on the road and be perfectly legal to drive. This becomes economic when second hand parts are used or the owner is prepared to live with cosmetic marks.

Why have a VIC check? 

Simply because there was a period when written-off cars were being purchased and the identification plates and numbers welded into stolen cars of a similar description.
More recently however, car manufacturers have incorporated more sophisticated anti-theft systems into cars; for example, coding the fuel pump and ECU (the computer which controls everything from the air bags to the electric windows and central locking) to the key. 

Whilst very sophisticated criminals dealing with high value cars will no doubt work out how to overcome such devices they have had the desired effect and dramatically reduced the number of ringers going into circulation. It is also likely that the particularly well done ones wouldn’t be detected in a VIC check anyway. As a result of spectacularly low detections, when you repair and insurance write-off, it will simply have to pass its next MOT.

This will not change the situation that you should check the stamped in vin (chassis) number against the log book when buying a car. Most vehicles are stolen now by the theft of the keys in a burglary. The car is simply advertised for sale with the wrong number plates on. Don’t leave vehicle keys on display within your house, and don’t leave the documents in the glove box to make it easy for a thief to sell it on. The police can check ownership and MOT via a computer; they don’t expect you to have them in the glove box.

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