How to Check If a Car Is Stolen?

by Susan Reynolds

Every registered car in the United States has unique a VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number. People can use this VIN to find out the car's history, including the number of owners, the miles driven, any accident reports and whether it has ever been stolen. If you are trying to buy a car or simply want to find out if a particular car is reported as stolen, several websites help you do the research.

Find the vehicle's VIN. You can usually find this number on the dashboard or driver's side door area. Make sure it is not scratched out, which might indicate a stolen vehicle.

Go to a car research website, like AutoCheck or Carfax, which lets users check a car's background with the VIN (see Resources).

Type in the VIN and hit "Enter" to let the website search for the car's history.

Pay the fee, if any, online with a credit card.

View the results of the car history report. It should show the previous and current owners, any accident reports, a title check and the odometer reading and registration status.

Tip

  • check You could also call your local DMV to find out if the vehicle is reported as stolen.

Warning

  • close Never buy a car with a scratched-out or altered VIN.

Items you will need

About the Author

Susan Reynolds has been a writer since 2008. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of South Florida and is a licensed real estate agent in Florida.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera car dealership 1 image by Alexey Stiop from Fotolia.com