Who Owned My Car Before Me?by Nanette Delaney Burton
Used-car buyers can access the titles and registration histories of most cars through their state motor vehicle departments (DMVs) or through the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) run by the U.S. Department of Justice.
DMV History Reports
A vehicle history report contains important information about a car and is compiled using the vehicle identification number (VIN).
Vehicle history reports are available to the public through the DMV and include previous title and registration information, such as how the car was used. They also list if a car was reported stolen, if it was in a major accident or flood, or if the title was salvaged.
National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS)
The NMVTIS compiles information from participating state DMVs, junk and salvage yards, auto recyclers, and insurance carriers.
NMVTIS History Reports
NMVTIS reports contain title information, odometer readings, brand history and total loss or salvage title history.
The website NMVTIS.gov lists approved vehicle-history reporters and contact information.
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images