How to check the history of a car with a license plate number

Written by kristine tucker Google
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How to check the history of a car with a license plate number
Check the history of a car. (classy car for sale image by itsallgood from

In order to investigate the history of a car, a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is needed. Most vehicles have the VIN number posted on the top of the dashboard on the inside of the car. However, with older models and with cars that don't have a visible VIN number, you can still get the VIN number using the number plate number. The best way to obtain a VIN number from a car number plate number is to do a reverse VIN lookup.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Copy the exact current number plate number onto a piece of paper. Include the state that is listed on the number plate. Write down any distinguishing hyphens or spaces listed on the number plate.

  2. 2

    Visit a reverse VIN lookup website. Choose a reputable site like or for the best results. Enter the complete number plate number in the request field.

  3. 3

    Obtain the car's VIN number from the reverse lookup website. Use the VIN number to research the history of the car. Choose a reputable car history reporting agency like or to obtain a vehicle history report. Enter the complete VIN number in the required field to obtain the car's history report.

  4. 4

    Pay for the reverse VIN lookup and the history report. A reverse VIN search costs between £18 and £45 (as of 2010) depending on what site you choose. Pay for the medical history report. These typically run in the same price range as the reverse VIN search. Pay online using a credit card or a bank card.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure the number plate is registered with the car. Some car dealers and individuals put a temporary plate on the vehicle for selling purposes.
  • Car history reports are reliable, but they are not infallible. Always have a vehicle checked by a certified mechanic and make sure the history report does not show any outstanding liens on the car.

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