How can you be sure you are not buying a stolen vehicle when buying a used car from a private seller? Carrying out the steps of this online vehicle check is a safer way to buy a second hand car.
There is more than one way to check if a car is stolen before purchase. Performing checks on vehicle registration and MOT test number can help you be certain the seller is genuine.
Note: UK law protects customers when buying a car from a garage dealer or registered trader. So, there is less importance in knowing how to check if a vehicle is stolen if you buy a brand new car.
This is the important part:
If you are going to buy a used car, you need to be extra cautious and check you are not buying one that someone stole from its rightful owner.
As a rule, buyers will have fewer consumer protection rights when they buy a used car from a private seller. That is why you should use the DVLA free stolen car check to ensure it has not been nicked.
Here's the step by step guide:
In most cases, there will be four tasks to consider if you buy a second hand vehicle from a private seller. First and foremost, you need to carry out some basic checks on the documentation BEFORE you buy it!
Then, assuming it is a genuine sale, you would need to pay for it and register yourself as the new owner with the DVLA.
The third task will be getting adequate motor insurance to drive it legally on the road. The final step is to tax the vehicle before you actually use it on public roads and highways.
Note: Follow the steps in this stolen vehicle checklist. They can help to reduce the risk of you buying a nicked or recalled second hand car.
Note: This service 'Cael gwybodaeth cerbyd gan DVLA' is also available in Welsh language (Cymraeg).
Note: Use the registration number to check if car is stolen free. You should also view the V5C vehicle registration certificate (log book) before buying.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency store information about all registered vehicles. Providing you can get the registration number, you will be able to check the details online for free.
A DVLA check car shows various snippets of information and history, such as:
There is another free online service to check if the vehicle is insured. Use the Motor Insurance Database (MID) to check vehicle insurance status.
Note: You can write to request information about a vehicle or its registered keeper from DVLA. But, they will only provide limited information if you contact DVLA by phone.
This type of check would reveal the past results for MOT testing, including:
You will need the vehicle registration number. The results will show as soon as the MOT centre records the test result.
The test location will show up fourteen (14) days after the testing. You need the 11-digit number from the vehicle log book (V5C).
Note: Results of the MOT history check only show up for tests carried out in England, Scotland, or Wales since 2005.
Note: You should always report a stolen vehicle to the police. If your car gets stolen you should contact the insurer and the DVLA may also need informing.
There are ways to check whether a vehicle, part, or an accessory has been recalled. The section on vehicle recalls and faults explains how to check if the manufacturer has recalled a vehicle, part or accessory due to a serious safety problem.
If you discover a problem you would need to get it fixed or replaced by the manufacturer. As a rule, there would be no charge for replacement parts or for any necessary repairs.
So, the vehicle is not stolen and you decided to buy a used car from a private seller. Great... what's next?
You must register it with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). But, the way you register it will depend on whether you are in possession of the V5C registration certificate (log book) or not.
You can check the most appropriate steps to take next in the master sections of:
Note: The Home Office is looking into the feasibility of making a stolen cars UK database. The data would be openly accessible and identify the vehicle by registration number and VIN number (not the registered keeper).
You would need to get adequate motor insurance before you start using the vehicle on the road. Other sections cover important topics on:
Unless the vehicle is exempt from road tax you need to tax it before you can use it on the public roads or highways. Read more information in the master sections that explain:
We make every effort to deliver accurate and up to date information on DVLA vehicle checks. But, we cannot guarantee total accuracy due to several data suppliers being involved in the process of updating records.
How to Check if a Car is Stolen Before Purchase in United Kingdom