A Free License Plate Search Reveals A Treasure Trove Of Information About A Car
As enthusiasts, we are always looking for better and easier ways to research cars we are interested in buying. For example, classics or soon-to-be classics such as BMW 325’s or Porsche 914’s are quickly rising in value and can be tough to find examples that haven’t been modified, let alone in good condition. For classic car shoppers, the additional information a quick license plate search provides can prove invaluable about a car’s past history.
Is A Vehicle License Plate Search Similar to A VIN Check?
A license plate search is very similar to a standard VIN check. There are many services that can provide a free license plate search and the results will be similar to what you see with a VIN check.
You may find while searching for your next used car, the owner has neglected to provide the VIN number. It may be a simple mistake or, in a worst-case scenario, purposely left out to hide problems with the car such as accident damage or a salvaged title.
What Can I Learn from A Vehicle Free License Plate Search?
- Look for title branding. This is an official designation by a state agency telling you if a car has any damage and may be unsafe to drive. A branded title will tell you if a car has been salvaged, is totaled or junk from an accident or has been deemed a lemon by the manufacturer.
- Record of a major accident. A car can sustain major damage in an accident and be repaired. To what level is hard to say. Was the repair work done correctly and to manufacturer specifications? Only experienced and well-equipped repair shops are capable of returning a damaged car to spec. Be wary of any accident damage and ask for all records of the work done.
- License plate records show the car as stolen. The license plate history will tell you if the car has been stolen in the past. The more troubling detail is if it shows the car as currently stolen. That means the seller is not the owner of the car and probably should be reported to local police. Which leads to the next point.
- Is the car road legal? This can vary by state but some of the basic requirements for road worthiness are headlights, taillights, side and rearview mirrors, seat belts, tires designated for street use and not for the track and finally, the car in generally good working order. It may sound silly but make sure a car you are considering buying has these basic features, most of which are linked to your safety. Which leads us to the next point.
- Has the car passed a recent vehicle inspection? Today, inspections usually mean making sure a car is meeting emission requirements set by your local government. Some cities and countries will also go further by making some safety checks. But if a car can’t meet some of the basic requirements I listed above, more than likely it won’t pass an inspection.
- A license plate search can reveal issues with a car’s registration. Who wants to bother with a car that can’t be registered? The details a search provides gives you all the reasons why a DMV won’t make a car road legal. Doing some simple research goes a long way to making you feel better about the car you want to buy.
- And any other information that is publicly available.
Can I Do a License Plate Search?
As a potential car buyer, adding a license plate search to your car shopping weapons of choice is a good idea. You want to know as much as you can about a car you are considering buying and the license plate information can answer most of your questions.
Of course, there are other reasons you may want to do a license plate search. Are you safety conscience, worried about who is giving your child a ride to school or to the playground? A quick search can tell you if the other parent’s car is safe and reliable.
But these are just a few examples of why you should do a search. To put your mind at ease for something as simple as knowing more about the vehicle used in the car pool to help you with making an important purchase, a free license plate search provides crucial details to help you make decisions you and your family can rely on.