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DVLA Check and other information you can get

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Wondering if you should conduct a DVLA check before buying that second-hand car? In this post, we’ll go through everything you need to know about this government agency and what it can do for you. 

We’ll also tell you more about Car Guide’s own car check and why it can tell you more than a basic DVLA Check. 

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But first things first, what is the DVLA?

DVLA stands for driver and vehicle licensing agency, but in simple terms, it’s the government agency that’s in charge of keeping a record of all vehicles out on UK roads. Think of it as a giant database of every car that’s ever been made, bought, sold and driven in the nation. It also keeps a list of all driving license information that are active and have been dispensed in this country.

Renewing your driving license, updating your driving license information or paying your car tax? How about having a bit of fun and splurging on a personalized number plate? All of these are things you can do through this department. If you’re buying or selling a car, then there’s a special book, called the V5 logbook or the v5c registration, that you’ll need to update.  You can also conduct your own DVLA check or DVLA MOT check before purchasing the car you’re interested in.

DVLA also provides a number of driving licence services, licence information and driving licence checks.

What information can I get from the DVLA Check?

The DVLA is actually very handy (though we’ve got an even better alternative we’ll introduce later) when it comes to sourcing information about any vehicle. When you’re conducting any transaction involving a car or making certain changes to your own motor, chances are you’ll need a few stats to hand.

You can conduct a DVLA check online using our service as we provide more data than the DVLA. Although you can use the DVLA directly through their website or by phoning them up. All you need is the vehicle registration number for the vehicle in question. Once you’ve entered or given them this, here are all the details they can tell you about the vehicle:

  • Registration document
  • The date it was first registered
  • SORN status 
  • Expiration date of the last MOT
  • DVLA tax check – the current vehicle tax rate (and when this expires)
  • Last V5 logbook entry
  • Type approval category
  • The vehicle’s weight, engine size and fuel type and colour – that is, details about the car model itself
  • The manufacturing year
  • Emissions – the vehicle’s actual driving emissions level and status for Europe

Requesting an Owner’s History (or the V888 form)

You can also find out who the current and previous vehicle keepers are (in other words, the Owner’s History). You’ll have to write to the DVLA, however, in order to get this.

First, you’ll need to give them ‘reasonable cause’ for why you’re requesting this information. Examples of acceptable ones include wanting to find out who’s responsible for causing an accident, for an abandoned vehicle or one that’s been parked on private land. You’ll need to fill out a form, called a V888 form and submit it by post.

If you’re simply looking to find out who previously owned a vehicle you’re interested in buying, then you may find that tricky to clear this with them in the absence of ‘reasonable cause’.

Checking a car’s MOT history through the DVLA Check

In addition to the above, you can also check a car’s MOT history through the DVLA. For instance, you can find out if it passed or failed its recent MOT, the mileage they’ve got on record from its last MOT test, the location of the tests, any parts failure and issues, and when the next MOT is due

Car Guide’s car check vs. DVLA Check

While a DVLA vehicle check offers up some good, detailed information, it can paint only half the picture when it comes to assessing a vehicle you’re about to purchase. 

Manufacturer recalls, information on a potential salvage status, import or export data and plate changes can all signal that there is more than meets the eye with a particular motor. There may even be some problems hidden beneath the surface, such as outstanding finance, a write-off or a ‘police stolen’ status you’re unaware of. 

At Car Guide, we offer up all this information as well as a detailed MOT history, completely for free. That’s right, all this is available when you get a free car check with us. We even go a step further by giving you accurate predictions on future component issues and failure through our AI-powered platform. 

Got a question? Read our guide about why it’s important to get a car check or get in touch with our friendly team to find out more. 

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Frequently asked questions

This information is not readily available. However, you can request vehicle owner’s details from the DVLA, using the V888 form, but only if you have a reasonable cause. Find out more here.
You can check if a vehicle is taxed online and it is completely free. Just go to Alternatively, you can get a free account with Car Guide which will tell you whether your vehicle is tax and when the MOT is due but also interesting information about which components are likely to fail on the next MOT. Find out more here.
DVLA Check offers free MOT history and outstanding recalls. You can get this information and more for free, just visit Car Guide and check a car for free.

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