Can a Serial Number on a car part lead to the owner of the car?

My mailbox was hit over the weekend. There were car parts left behind. One of the pieces had a serial number on it. Is there anyway to use that number to find the car who did it?

Doubtful, unless they left behind an entire fender or hood. The part number will help identify the year, make and model however. If the parts have a body color, or there’s paint scuff off on the post that will help also. Have you reported this to the Police? I know in some areas they still respond to hit and split crashes.
If you can provide year, make , model and color they’ll have something concrete to work with.
With the above information you can also check around the local body shop’s for an identical vehicle coming in for repairs.


If the number left on the part is truly a serial number and not a part number, then it should match the VIN number of the car, and can be traced through the state motor vehicle records by the police (unless your state allows public access to their data base).

You need to contact the police but don’t be surprised if they are unhelpful. I faced a similar situation once in NYC and a patrolman simply shrugged and said, “if you didn’t see them do it you haven’t a case.” So, try it yourself and see.

An example of this is when they found the rear axle from the truck used in the OK bombing and traced it back to the actual vehicle. There are many examples where forensics have been used to track down a vehicle with the smallest shred of evidence left behind. It comes down to desire and $$$. First, you have to be sure that is a UNIQUE identifying number. Likely, a body part does not have a serial number but rather a mold number or date code. That would only help to identify the make/model and year of manufacture. Any exterior paint color might ID the color of the car for that component. But really, who would go to such extremes for a mailbox? No authoritative body is going to launch an investigation over a damaged mailbox.

Are you sure this is a serial number? More than likely it is simply a parts number that is molded in and that number may be on a million other cars with identical parts, especially if the parts are minor plastic body fittings.
Part numbers are often molded in and are raised letters/numerals; serial numbers are usually stamped or are molded into a separate tag such as the dashboard VIN plate, etc.

An example of this is when they found the rear axle from the truck used in the OK bombing and traced it back to the actual vehicle.

The problem is…MOST police are NOT going to do that kind of investigation unless someone was killed.

Unless you know who did it, it certainly is not worth the effort to track it down. Mail boxes are not that expensive. Be happy they have a car repair and they likely will not remember doing it, but they will remember the hang-over and hopefully mom and pop will ground them for a month.

I thought I covered that pretty well in the last sentence of my post.

I have a similar prob. But they hit my car and destroyed my passenger side. There is a big drag racing problem here in Astoria Queens NYC, in fact local news was just here 1 wk ago doing a story on it. I was in my car parked at the curb when 6-7 drag racing cars came tearing around the corner & the lead car smashed into my side & continued on even faster. I tried to give chase but couldn’t even catch up to the last car in the line.
Back at the site I retrieved a piece of their car & it has a QR code & ID number. I’ve been trying everything online to use that number to just get the make and model. And then I know there are like 2 or 3 body shops these muscle car kids use over here. And I was going to follow up with them & police, IF I could only get the make & model.
ES0053707102 is the number on it. If anyone knows a way to look that # up please let me know.
Thank you!

Why would you wait? They comitted a crime of hit and run, the cops will take that up. They will look for cars registered in the area based on your description and local body shops for vehicles like it. Getting component info will require cooperation from vehicle mfr and they may not serialize certain body and or trim parts making them traceable.

I would not have advised that. That was the time to call the police.

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So if you caught the guy, so what? So their insurance or non-insurance would pay for the damage to your car? Or you want them in jail? Let you insurance company do the work if it is worth it, and let the police take the action they deem appropriate and go on with your life. Years ago about 5 am I watched a guy back into my Corvair in the apartment parking lot. I had everything except the license number. All in all I should have just dropped it. My effort helped no one and I fixed it myself anyway.

As far as the mail box, I noticed the snow plow ate the neighbor’s post a couple days ago. Too late now to do anything till spring so he just propped it back up and screwed some 2x4 splints. Actually the city will pay for the damage if it met regulations. I noticed some huge divits in the lawns too as the plow drivers gain experience for another season.

I hear that, our mailbox at the cabins was pushed over from snow from a plow, Moved it a couple of years ago due to drive realignment, it was 2 inches lower than it should be, so no help. * had done a 4x4 stake thing to hold the post, as the ground is full of rocks and did not have a post hole digger up there. $85 if we install it and we will take care of any damage. I thought cool, then there was plus plus plus, $365 total. will see if it survives this winter.

Circa 1960, my aunt’s nifty '48 Ford was parked in front of their house overnight. In the wee hours of the morning, a drunk barreled down a perpendicular street, T-boned her immaculate old Ford, and left it on the lawn. Luckily, the offender got stuck in the soft ground, and was still spinning his wheels when the Nassau County cops showed up and put the cuffs on him.

My uncle rewarded my aunt for her loss by buying her a “new” '54 Ford, which I assume was paid for by the drunk’s insurance company.

Contact the police and your insurer. There are a lot of cameras on light poles these days. Maybe the accident was captured on one of them. If you wait too long, the video will be erased. Make the calls ASAP. You need to tell them where and when, as close to the hour and minute it occurred.

That reminded me. The headlight was rearranged pretty good so that the light shined in the trees. My wife was driving it and got stopped. The officer asked her if she was hunting coons? She has not had a good relationship with the police. At any rate I moved the body work up on my schedule a little to point the headlight in the right direction. I’ve never coon hunted though so wonder is that how you spot them? In the trees at night?