BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WBOY) – AAA Bridgeport Insurance and Member Services held a free “Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etching” between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at their Bridgeport location on August 18.

This VIN etching process starts with scanning of the VIN in the vehicle door, from which a dot-matrix-stencil was printed out with the number through a computer. The stencil stickers were then be put on the windows, with etching cream applied on top. After five minutes, the stencils can be peeled off and the windows will be cleaned, the VIN will then be visible.

According to J.J. Miller, AAA Assemble Safety Advisor, if people take their vehicles into dealerships to get the VIN etching service done, it could cost from anywhere between $250 and $700. By taking advantage of this event, they are saving money, because the service was free Thursday within business hours.

Having your VIN on your vehicle windows can help in an auto-theft situation. Miller said, “If a thief were to steal your car and they wanted to try to unload it, or sell it, or get rid of it, a chop shop would not take it because it has the glass on it and it’s etched. The glass is the most expensive thing to replace on a vehicle, so more than likely, they’re not going to take it. You can’t take it to a chop shop, you can’t take it and ship it illegally over seas, no one wants it.”

Once getting this number etched onto your windows, it will stay there forever.

Other things people can do to prevent auto theft are not leaving electronics or valuable items out for those to see, and parking in well-lit areas at night, so others can see if people are around the vehicle.

This free service event happens once a year, so if you missed it this year, you still have a chance to save money next year. AAA provides countless free services to community members throughout the year. If interested in seeing their upcoming events, you can find more information here.