How to Check the History of a Car With a License Plate Numberby Jennifer Williams
There is no guarantee a car-history report generated using a license plate number will include the entire history of the car. Unless the company uses the license plate to find the VIN numbers of all cars previously associated with that plate, then gives you all history data associated with each VIN, the report may only include data going back to when the plate was attached to the car you might be thinking about buying. If there was a problem with the car before that date, you may miss it. For example, the California Bureau of Automotive Repair allows use of the license plate to search vehicle test history but specifically recommends using the VIN to ensure complete information. Ask the company you're using to clarify exactly what information you'll get and how complete it will be when searching with a license plate number.
According to Autocheck, conducting a car history search using a license plate number on the Autocheck site yields information on all the automobiles ever associated with the entered plate but will not include personal information on previous owners, as this information is protected by the federal Driver Privacy Protection Act.
- link Cornell University Law: Driver Privacy Protection Act
- link Autocheck: Search for Vehicle History Records With a Valid US License Plate Number
- link Carfax: I Need a Carfax Report
- link Edmunds.com: Which Vehicle History Report is Right for You?
- link California Bureau of Automotive Repair: Vehicle Test History