SCM Editor-In-Chief Jeff Sabatini recently took our 2006 Lotus Elise in for its every-two-years emission testing. We expected it would be routine, as it powered by a modern (by our standards) Toyota engine.
But not because of emissions issues.
On the printout we got from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the last six digits of the Lotus VIN came up as zeroes. That is not what shows on the chassis plate nor on the title. The DEQ employee administering the test told us that even though the car “passed” the actual emissions test, the car was failed because of the VIN mismatch.
A bit of searching on the internet turned up a 2013 service bulletin from Lotus called, “Potential loss of electronically stored VIN in ’05 to ’07 MY vehicles.”
To summarize, any U.S.-market 2005–2007 Elise or Exige can have its VIN wiped out. It is recommended that owners should take their cars back to the Lotus dealer for reprogramming of the engine control module.
Of course, there are no longer any Lotus dealers in Oregon.
So I’m asking for your help and advice. Have any of you fellow Lotus owners had the same issue? And if so, how did you address it?
I’ve encountered plenty of problems with old cars over the years, but a car forgetting its own VIN is a new one for me.
I thank you in advance for your suggestions.