Driver's Guide

7 Steps to Make a Stolen Car Legal 2023 [Exposed Guide]

Are you wondering how people make a stolen car legal? Well, I will show you, in this article, the steps taken by carjackers to make a stolen car legal. Statistics entail that vehicle theft increases, so you should be aware of the act. As unbelievable as it may seem, it is possible to legalize a stolen car.

To make the stolen car legal, you would have to change the VIN of the vehicle, forge ownership papers, get a duplicate car title, then legalize the car by rebuilding it from scratch with the car parts available. This is a long, stressful process, but worth it if you are hell-bent on legalizing a stolen car.

People get away with stealing vehicles, especially if they have a well-phased planned to get the car off the heat of the moment. The most challenging aspect for thieves is stealing a car. Once stolen, the legalization of the stolen car becomes a walkover.

The recovery rate of stolen vehicles is about 56.1%, and about 30% of the cars are damaged, especially if the crook preferred a joyride over a complete theft. Cops investigate and look for stolen cars, but the owner is never guaranteed to get back the vehicle.

Before a car is stolen, the offender would have had a couple of the owner’s personal information. Some such information would include the owner’s name, signature, state of residence, etc.

In this well-researched article, we will discover how to make a stolen car legit for driving. Offenders have been practicing these measures for ages, and little or nothing can stop the legalization process of stolen vehicles.

how to make a stolen car legal


This article intends to inform the general public about how possible it is to legalize a stolen car. The author(s) and the website strongly condemn any act of car theft or any attempt to legalize a stolen vehicle.

Steps to Make a Stolen Car Legal

This section will discover crooks’ traditional processes to steal and legalize a car.

Below are the various methods/measures offenders employ regarding legalizing a stolen car.

  1. Disabling Car Trackers

How do people get away with stolen cars

This is the first step when they try to make a stolen car legal. Most car owners install hidden car trackers in their automobiles. Clever offenders are aware of this practice and have a way of identifying the position of the tracking device.

The identification process becomes even easier with the presence of scanners worldwide.

After a short drive, an offender parks in a secluded area and disables the tracking device. The devices are often hidden, so an offender must search and disable them thoroughly.

For the sake of time, the offender resolves to use a scanning device to quickly locate any tracker in the vehicle.

  1. Driving to Out-of-Sight Location

The offender will drive off to a new location to make a stolen car legal. An ideal location would often be on the outskirt of the city.

how to make a stolen car legal

They already know the roads where the police are stationed and would avoid such highways. And regarding how to keep a stolen car, the crooks are always conscious of the spots the police designate themselves.

In situations where vehicle theft involves top individuals who can bribe corrupt officials, the driver of the stolen vehicle will have a transmitter. The signal device will alert the driver of the various locations of the police, and they can decide what route to follow.

  1. Respraying the Vehicle

Respraying a stolen car is easy, and the offenders hastily do the paint job, leaving some parts of the car untouched. As you may judge, painting is always a poor job with no finesse.

Traditionally, the colour for the paint job has to match the car the offenders intend to imitate.

For instance, before offenders steal a car, they would have copied the VIN from another vehicle similar to the target car. After the theft, they respray the stolen car to match the colour of the vehicle bearing the copied VIN.

This way, they get the car to correspond with the title when performing a VIN check.

  1. Changing the VIN

It is very illegal to change the VIN of a vehicle, but a car offender makes no exception to this law. What the offender does is change the VIN by an act of VIN-switching, which is the only way to make a stolen car legal.

Can a stolen car become legal

The offender searches for a vehicle of the same model as the stolen car. He then copies out the VIN of the car and modifies the stolen car to match the genuine car. If the vehicle is red, he will spray the stolen car red to reflect in history.

Another standard method is the salvage switch. Here, the crook will buy a damaged car similar to the stolen car and turn it to scrap using a false name for the title. The scammer will then use the salvaged car’s title and VIN for the stolen car. Now, the stolen car becomes a salvaged car and uses the VIN and title of the previously damaged car.

The strip and run is another way an offender can alter the VIN. The car will be reported as ‘stolen’ while the offender breaks the car into parts. He will allow the regions containing the VIN to be seen by the police, who report the vehicle as ‘found.’ The offender can now purchase the details, including the VIN, and rebuild the stolen car into a clean one.

  1. Forging Ownership Papers

Forging a driver’s license is not the only possible way to make a stolen car legal. A vehicle offender may also use software such as Photoshop to design the pink slip or title. The Department of Motor Vehicles would unknowingly accept the fake documents upon receiving the correct owner’s signature, date, and daytime telephone number. Things are even more comfortable because the “release of ownership” section requires no notarized signature.

Understand that the Department of Motor Vehicles can’t check millions of drivers’ signatures and compare them with the forged signatures of an offender. So, they will only confirm whether the car is stolen or not. Since the original owner is yet to report the vehicle as stolen, the offender modifies the papers successfully.

  1. Getting a Duplicate Car Title

Regarding how to make a stolen car legal, a delay in applying for a new title may hinder the process. If the car owner reports the stolen car early, the offender will find it difficult to bypass the vehicle status assessment.

The first measure after a successful car theft is getting a title for the car. Forging a fake car title may not be the best option for offenders because it is easily detectable; however, they have no choice but to develop.

They will not title the stolen car in the same city, and it may be in another suburb or any area away from the former. Immediately, a vehicle offender fully prepares the car; he obtains a new title by petitioning the county’s common pleas court. The titling process of a stolen car is cheap; below is a rundown for titling the vehicle.

  • I am contacting the court.
  • I am declaring a misplaced title of a car.
  • I am filling out the title application form.
  • We are providing a sales receipt or bill of sale.
  • I am making payment.
  • I am getting an affidavit.
  • Applying to the Department of Motor Vehicles

The simple steps above generate a valid title for the stolen car within an hour. After that, there are just a few more steps toward legalizing a stolen car.

While applying for a car title, an offender must be mentally composed. The officials will likely report the situation without his knowledge to the police if they find out.

  1. Legalizing the Car

There are several ways an offender can legalize a stolen car. An offender may advertise the vehicle in the newspaper as entirely different from the original or involve a crook dealer.

Method 1

If the offender puts the car for sale in the local newspaper, a buyer will respond to the deal and strike a bargain. The agreement is typically appealing, and anyone would want to pay for the car. The offender then provides a fake receipt which convinces the buyer to believe he is a lucky buyer.

When the buyer arrives at the Department of Motor Vehicles, the officials notify him that it is a stolen vehicle. Now, the police will impound the car. Usually, it is possible to recover a vehicle from impound even without insurance, but it is now impossible for the unfortunate buyer.

Method 2

This method involves an offender and a crook dealer. The offender sells the stolen car into scrap, which the crook buyer purchases. However, the parts of the stolen car containing the VIN will not be on the scrap list. The police who reported the vehicle as “stolen” will find these parts with VIN and register the car again as “found.”

The authorities will auction the parts with VIN into scrap, which the crook dealer will purchase at cheap rates. He now has all the details and can rebuild the stolen car into a legal one. The offender will then decide what he can do with the stolen vehicle. The stolen car is now legal with the VIN intact.

How to Prevent Your Car from Being Stolen and Legalized

how to legalize a stolen car

Do the following to keep your car from being stolen:

  1. Remove Valuables from the Car

Most times, the visible valuables in your car attract a thief. If you do not want thieves eyeing your vehicle, do not put anything of value in the car.

  1. Always Lock the Car

No matter how close you are to the car, do not hesitate to lock the car. The insignificant moment you have your eyes off the car, it becomes history. Try not to leave the car in the ignition while standing apart from the vehicle, no matter how close you are.

  1. Lock the Glove Box

Do cops look for stolen cars

Once a thief accesses your car, he approaches the glove box, which houses essential documents.

  1. Be Mindful of Where You Park

The places you park your car could pose a threat to the safety of the vehicle. Use paid parking lots when necessary, and do not abandon your car on roads with scanty residents.

  1. Report Stolen Car to the Police Immediately

If your car is stolen, alert the police immediately. Get your tracking device to work before the thief locates and disables its functionality.

Can You Make a Stolen Car Yours?

The simple answer is “Yes.” However, trying to make a stolen car yours is illegal and inhumane, and there is a risk of years in prison regarding how to make a stolen car legal and yours. Even though not many persons involved in vehicle theft end up in jail, you may not be so lucky.

Can someone register a stolen car?

You can’t register a stolen car. Any attempt to write a stolen car will result in the police impounding the car and maybe prosecuting you for possessing a stolen vehicle. The best shot would be to forge every available document and blame it on an imaginary owner if the police catch you.

Author(s)’ Note

The brain behind this article is strictly a ton of research. The author(s) has no experience of legalizing stolen vehicles and would not welcome any message requesting assistance that involves making a stolen car legit. Do not include yourself in car theft, as you risk serving a jail term of up to 10 years, depending on the jurisdiction.


Never rule out the possibility of criminals to make a stolen car legal. Every day by day, tons of reports show an enormous increase in the number of stolen vehicles.

Funny enough, barely one-third of stolen cars are recoverable. Do you think of what happens to stolen vehicles? Well, they are now legally driven by happy owners and are irretrievable. With regards to how to keep a stolen car, a vehicle thief will never own a stolen car; they either sell it through switching VINs, selling it off to scrap, etc.

Report suspicious vehicle theft to the police and do not be part of the criminal act.

Do you find this informative? Share to enlighten other drivers.


Latest posts by Bernard Juchli (see all)

Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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One Comment

  1. can you provide in detail whos adress and names go where on certain documents when asking for duplicate also what court is being petitioned .

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