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Used as a Taxi or Unrecorded Damage?
Check any Car with our Free service!

See Mileage & MOT History

Compare Cars across websites

Used as a Taxi or Unrecorded Damage?

Number Plate Check

Are you looking at buying a used car? Are you concerned that the vehicle history might not be everything that it says it is? Well, carrying out a number plate check is a great place to start.

All you need to do is enter the UK number plate and and our car check will provide you with:

  • Any number plate changes to the vehicle

  • The number of registered keepers that have owned the vehicle

  • The date the previous keeper purchased the vehicle

  • Colour change history

  • Date the V5C was last issued 

Free Car Check

Just enter your Car Registration below

Tell us when you’re buying the car so we can show you the most relevant info

Why should you check a car's number plate?

A number plate check provides you with information about a vehicle, including any previous number plate changes. If you are buying a used car then you want to avoid ending up with a dodgy vehicle. Unfortunately, there are lots of sellers around who will try to hide a vehicle’s history. 

If a car has been involved in a ‘not-so squeaky clean’ past, some car owners or sellers may change the registration plate to hide the car’s true identity. This could be because they want to disguise that the vehicle has been declared as written-off in an accident or been stolen. If you are unaware of this when buying the car, then it can leave you vulnerable. The car might not be safe to drive, or you may end up spending even more money further down the line on repairs or replacement parts.

This is why a number plate check can be so valuable. A car history check lifts the lid on a vehicle’s hidden history and helps you spot and red flags – potentially saving you lots of money.

Is it safe to buy a car that has number plate changes?

There are many different reasons for changing the licence plate on a car. The most obvious one is to swap to personalised plates/private number plates. Changes like these are mainly for personal style, either to coincide with a brand or an individual.

So what does it mean if the used car you’re looking to buy has had a number plate change?

First of all, don’t immediately worry. Just contact the seller; they should be upfront about the situation and be able to provide all supporting details documentation, even if the owner changed the plates before them. From there, you can discover why the plates were changed and what it means for you as a buyer. If it’s a case of a personalised number plate it’s nothing to worry about, as long as the licence plate was legally changed back.

If you stumble upon something that you don’t understand or it seems a little more sinister, either contact a professional, or as we say – walk away from the purchase. Sometimes a good deal is too good to be true. The last thing you want is to be pulled over by the police and be involved in something more severe.

Before making a purchase, you can carry out a free vehicle history check at Car Guide. This will tell you if there has ever been a change of number plates on the vehicle. All you need is the car’s registration, making the free car check easier than all the rest. It will give you all the vehicle information you need to know before making any further decisions about the car.

Other checks to do before purchasing a used car

The previously mentioned free car check can help start your search, but that isn’t all that a Car Guide car check includes.

Full MOT history check

This part of the free check is another big tick on the list of how to spot a bad used car. An MOT history check can tell you a lot about a vehicle. It might show some advisories and failures that were quickly resolved and only occurred as a result of wear and tear, but it can also signpost some red flags. When a car has persistent technical or mechanical faults, it can show signs of a deeper problem with the vehicle, which could make a big dent in your wallet. It’s down to you to weigh up the pros and cons and whether the car is still worth the money, but at least you can get a clearer idea of what you’re buying.

Imported or exported?

A vehicle check can also tell you if a car has been imported. A vehicle that is manufactured overseas may cost less to purchase, but it might not have the legal safety checks that are required in the UK. This means your insurance could be higher or worse, if you got into an accident, you wouldn’t be protected in the same way. If a car has been imported, your next steps should be to check out how much your insurance is and have a professional check that safety measures are in place. That way you can purchase like a pro!

Number of owners

It’s common for a used car to have multiple owners, but there is such a thing as too many.

A lot of owners could show a lack of care for the vehicle or continual issues that an MOT hasn’t picked up.

An MOT is an annual legal check, but if a car breaks down and is fixed, this information may not show on an MOT.

If it’s possible, see if the seller has any service history or documentation surrounding the work the car has had done. 

All of these vehicle checks will uncover a car's history and help you decide whether you want to go ahead with your purchase or step away.

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