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How to check if a car is stolen

How to check if a car is stolen

When purchasing a car online, there are several things you might want to check first. There may be visible damage; it might not have enough space, or you may not like the colour. One of the most important things to check when it comes to buying a used car is if it is stolen. We know what you’re thinking, “how can I check if a car is stolen?” The short and simple answer is to do some research.

Like how you would check out to see if a car is perfect for you and your needs, you can do similar actions to check if a vehicle is stolen, one way is by heading to Car Guide.

Car Guide is a quick and easy way to ensure some peace of mind when purchasing a used vehicle. For as little as £5.99, you can discover if it is a stolen vehicle. It’s a small price to pay to get the information you need, but the value of these checks are much more than that. All you need is the registration number and we can check the vehicle’s history so you can avoid buying a stolen car.

Purchasing a stolen car can leave you with many issues. Besides the fact that the vehicle will have to be legally returned to its rightful owner, you could also be left out of pocket. That’s right, there’s no certainty that your money will be refunded, you might be able to take the seller to court to try and claim your money back, but there is no guarantee. What’s more, you could be held liable for theft as the stolen property is in your possession. It always benefits to check before purchase as to whether a car is stolen or not – the consequences can be quite severe.

The quick check from Car Guide previously mentioned will provide you with all the information to reassure you that a car is not stolen, but it can give you even more crucial information.

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Always check a car history before you buy


You should be checking to see if the seller is legally selling the car, but you should also check that the vehicle is in working order. One way to do this is by checking its history. A car check is always advised when buying a car privately, especially off Facebook or Gumtree

The one-time purchase from Car Guide that we mentioned above will provide this information. A history check on a vehicle can show its service schedule and MOT history. These are both critical documented pieces of information which can highlight any current or previous issues with the vehicle.

It might be that any issue brought up by an MOT has been instantly rectified, in which case there is no reason to be concerned about the condition of the car. Natural wears and tears are expected, and more costly fixes can happen throughout a car’s life, for example, a cambelt replacement.

If a car has not been well looked after, you will spot the signs in these documents. An MOT will have constant advisories that are not rectified year on year, or perhaps there is minimal evidence of service history, demonstrating that the owner did not care for its condition. This isn’t to say that the absence or poor kept quality of these documents means that the car is not a good purchase, but it should be a red flag to make you reconsider your decision before handing over your money.

All these documents put you in good stead to buying the right used car for you and your family, but there’s more.

Information to consider when buying a used car


Knowing if a car is stolen and understanding its MOT history is a great start. However, you can gather more information to inform and help yourself make the right decision. The check from Car Guide we mentioned early, yes, that small price of £5.99 can also provide you with essential details about the car. Here’s what else you can learn from Car Guide:

  • Outstanding finance checks. These tell you if the owner truly owns the car. If the owner has any outstanding finance checks, they are not legally allowed to sell you the vehicle, which may lead to repossession.
  • Insurance write-offs. If a car has been in an accident and written off, it cannot legally be put back on the road without the proper paperwork and fixes, so if this is highlighted and there isn’t the right documentation, steer clear.
  • Required repair costs. Buying a used car doesn’t mean it is in perfectly working condition; there might be repairs needed. On this check, you can discover the costs and factor it into your budget so that you’re not left with a massive payout after purchase.


Spending money on a used car can be daunting, and you want to make sure you don’t over-pay, which is why this next aspect of the check is one of the most useful; an accurate valuation. By getting the value of this car, you can see if you’re getting a good deal or entering into a pit of money.

When you realise how much information you can get on a used car from as little as £5.99, it’s clear to see it’s a no-brainer. While some might think the seller is ‘nice’ and ‘seems like a decent person’ too many are familiar with these common sales-tactics. Spend a little bit today and save yourself a bunch of aggravation in the future. Not to mention that it’s as little effort as entering a reg number.

Always check before buying any used car that it isn’t stolen or a write-off which could impact the premium you get from your insurance company. Use our free car check today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Checking if a car has been stolen with Car Guide is easy. Just enter the car registration number here. and we will tell you if the car has been reported stolen or not.

A stolen car check gives you the peace of mind that what you’re buying isn’t someone else’s rightful property. If it is somebody else’s car, the police will recover it and leave you out of pocket. It’s often impossible to tell if a car is stolen by looking at it could be super clean and in a perfect condition but what lies underneath can only be discovered with a paid data check. Enter the car registration number here to find out if it has been stolen.

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