How to Find an Owner of a Used Car

by Susan Reynolds

If you are curious about the previous or current owner of a used car, you can easily check it out online if you have the vehicle's VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). Every car has a unique VIN that can allow you to pull up a car's entire history, including previous owners. Unfortunately, if you try to look up owner information on a car that is currently or previously owned by a dealership, you will not see any specific names.

1

Ask to see the title if you are buying a car from a private seller. The owner's name will be on the title. You can inquire about previous owners, but you may not get much information. If you are buying from a car dealership, they may not tell you the previous owner's name.

2

Find the VIN. You might find it on the vehicle's windshield in a tiny engraving, which protects it against thieves. You can also find it on the driver's side door, where it closes. Otherwise, you can find the VIN on the title, insurance policy, or registration.

3

Go to a website such as Is-it-a-lemon.com, Carfax.com, or Cardetective.com and enter the VIN into their search bar. If your car has a history, you can buy a report from the website that will show you all the previous owners, if it has been in an accident, and any other pertinent information.

4

Contact your local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) to see if you can find out about the owners. Only use this as a last resort, since some states will refuse to give out any information about former owners.

Tip

  • check Compare the various VIN website fees.

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.

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