This post has been republished with updates since its original publish date in April 2012
The NHTSA standard for VIN assignment is applied to all motorized vehicles, motorcycles, and trailers that travel on the roads, streets and highways of the US. However, the NHTSA has no jurisdiction over recreational vehicles not intended to ever be driven on a street or highway.
These "off-road" recreational vehicles are hugely popular and account for millions of purchases and tens of millions of vehicles in use in the US every year. As a result, there is a need to decode and identify these vehicles for initial sales and marketing efforts, resale, registration, insurance, and taxation.
Are these vehicles able to be VIN decoded using the same principles and decoders used for light-duty and passenger vehicles? The answer is a solid... maybe.