Driver's Guide

How to Make a Stolen Car Legal – How it is Done

Howdy, Driver? Do you know the appropriate steps regarding how to make a stolen car legal? Statistics entail that vehicle theft increases, which is more reason you should be aware of the act. As unbelievable as it may seem, it is possible to legalize a stolen car.

To make stolen car legal, you would have to change the VIN number of the vehicle, forge ownership papers, get a duplicate car title, then legalize the car by rebuilding 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 hardest aspect, for thieves, is to steal a car. Once stolen, the legalization of the stolen car becomes a walkover.

Apparently, the recovery rate of stolen vehicles is about 56.1% and about 30% of the vehicles are found 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 car.

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 legalizing process of stolen vehicles.


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.

How to Make a Stolen Car Legal

how to make a stolen car legal

In this section, we will discover the traditional processes crooks employ to steal and legalize a car.

Below are the various methods/measures employed by offenders regarding how to legalize a stolen car.

  1. Disabling Car Trackers

How do people get away with stolen cars

Most car owners install hidden car trackers in their automobiles. Smart offenders are aware of this practice, and they do 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, which means an offender has to search and disable thoroughly.

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

  1. Driving to Out-of-Sight Location

To make a stolen car legit, the offender will drive off to a new location. An ideal location would often be in the outskirt of the city.

how to make a stolen car legal

They already know the roads where the police are stationing and would avoid such roads. 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 an easy task. The offenders hastily do the paint job, which leaves some parts of the car untouched. As you may judge, the paint job is always a poor job with no finesse.

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

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

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

  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 to change the VIN by an act of VIN-switching.

Can a stolen car become legal

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

Another common 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 crook will then use the title and the VIN of the salvaged car 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 parts containing the VIN to be seen by the police who report the vehicle as ‘found’. Now, the offender can purchase the parts including the VIN, and rebuild the stolen car into a clean car.

  1. Forging Ownership Papers

Forging a driver’s license is not the only possible act with regards to how to make a stolen car yours. 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 the signature of millions of drivers and compare it with the forged signature of an offender. So, they will only confirm whether the car is stolen or not. Since the original owner is yet to report the car 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 option than to forge.

They will not title the stolen car in the same city. The stolen car may be titled 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 common pleas court of the county. The titling process of a stolen car is cheap; below is a rundown for titling the car.

  • Contacting the court.
  • Declaring a misplaced title of a car.
  • Filling the title application form.
  • Providing a sales receipt or bill of sale.
  • Making payment.
  • Getting affidavit.
  • Applying in the Department of Motor Vehicles

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

While applying for a car title, an offender is to be very 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 decide to advertise the car on the newspaper as a completely different car from the original or involved a crook dealer.

Method 1

If the offender puts the car up for sale in the local newspaper, a buyer will respond to the deal and strikes a bargain. Typically, the deal is always 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 then notify him that it is a stolen vehicle. Now, the police will impound the car. Usually, it is possible to recover a car 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 in the scrap list. The police who earlier reported the car as “stolen” will find these parts with VIN and report 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 parts and can rebuild the stolen car into a completely legal car. The offender will then decide what he can do with the stolen vehicle. Apparently, 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 car, 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 car, 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 important documents.

  1. Be Mindful of Where You Park

The places you park your car could pose a threat to the safety of the car. 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, it is illegal and inhumane to make a stolen car yours. Regarding how to make a stolen car yours, there is a risk of years in prison. 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 register a stolen car will result in the police impounding the car and maybe prosecuting you for being a possession of a stolen vehicle. The best shot would be to forge every available document and blame it on an imaginary owner if you are caught by the police.

Author(s)’ Note

The brain behind this article is strictly a ton of researches. The author(s) has no experience of legalizing stolen vehicles and would not welcome any message requesting for 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 making a stolen car legit. 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 cars? 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 keep a stolen car; they either sell it through switching VINs, selling 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.

Bernard Juchli

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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