How to Use a Vehicle License Plate for a Vehicle History Report

Updated February 21, 2017

Before you buy any used car, it is wise to check its past history through a vehicle history report. These reports only cost about £16 (as of 2010) and are available on any car as long as you have the VIN number. If you do not have a VIN number, you can look it up using the car's number plate number. This is called a reverse VIN lookup and is available online. After you obtain the VIN, you can purchase the vehicle history report.

Log onto a reverse VIN look up website, such as or Each offers a reverse VIN look up service where you can find a VIN using a number plate or a number plate using a VIN.

Enter the number plate number into the appropriate search box online. Click "Submit" to perform the search and pay for the service. The fee for this service can range from £18 to £45.

Obtain the VIN and any related information about the vehicle provided in the report. This may include the name and address of the owner of the vehicle.


The number plate must be current in order for the reverse look up service to work.


Some reverse look up sites will offer a refund if they are unsuccessful in locating the VIN while other sites are nonrefundable. Check the terms, before paying the fee, unless you're absolutely certain you have the correct number plate and it's registered.

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About the Author

Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.