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License Plate Number Lookup: 3 Ways to Find Vehicle History and Owner Info Easily

License Plate Lookup

Research a Vehicle by License Plate

We can never be too cautious when buying a used car. Learning more about the particular vehicle you’re planning to purchase is more than necessary as we could possibly end up buying a car from someone who’s not the real owner. Apart from identifying the owner of the car, a license plate lookup can provide you with tons of detailed information about the vehicle that can help you make the right decision.

Searching for license plate information is, however, more challenging than you may think. The good news is, there’re some useful tricks to do it easily and legally. Keep reading and you’ll find 3 methods to check vehicle history and owner information by license plate number.

Method 1: Look up license plate record with the DMV

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is a government agency that administers the registration of motor vehicles and the issuance of driver’s licenses. By looking up the license plate record from the DMV, you might be able to get information such as the registration date of the car, the model and the vehicle specifications.

However, please note that the agency will charge you a fee for this kind of service. Also, normally you could only look up a license plate from the DMV when you have a good reason (car theft, arbitration proceedings, driver’s safety, insurance, etc.). In the US, the privacy of vehicle owner information is controlled by the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). Personal information of vehicle owners is protected by the act, so the DMV wouldn’t be willing to provide personal information such as the vehicle owner’s name or address except for permissible uses.

If you want to skip all the hassle and take advantage of professional online vehicle lookup tools, you should probably try the second method below.

Method 2: Research the vehicle with BeenVerified

BeenVerified is an expert in vehicle lookup, with a large database (over 150 MM vehicles) that is updated constantly. In the past 15 years, the site has been offering to the general public an easy and efficient way to access different kinds of public records.

License Plate Lookup

Research a Vehicle by License Plate

What information can you search for using just a license plate number

When you run a vehicle lookup with BeenVerified, what you get may actually be more than expected:

  • Accident history
  • Sale listing history
  • Auto theft records
  • Market value
  • Vehicle specifications
  • Salvage records
  • Recalls and warranties
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Ownership cost
  • And more…

How to run a license plate lookup with BeenVerified

  1. Go to BeenVerified license plate search page.
  2. Input the license plate number of the car and select the state. Then click the Search button. (If you have the VIN number, you can try that too.)
  3. Wait for BeenVerified to search its millions of vehicle records in its database. After a few seconds you’ll get a full report that contains all the available data.

If you have the VIN number of the car (the 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number), a VIN lookup may actually bring up even more information:

What else can you do with the tool

As you may have noticed, you can actually look up more detailed information about the vehicle owner if you want, simply by clicking Search person in the Owner Details section.

In fact, BeenVerified is a well-known people search tool. It offers 7 different features in total: People Search, Reverse Phone Lookup, Reverse Email Search, Reverse Address Lookup, Username Search, Unclaimed Money Search, and Vehicle Lookup. You could use the site, for example, to learn more about the car dealer or the owner with just a name or a phone number.

Method 3: Look up vehicle details with Bumper

To learn more about a vehicle you own or plan to buy, you can also use Bumper. Exploring abundant and reliable data coming from government agencies and trusted partners in the automotive industry, Bumper can help you know a vehicle’s accident history, salvage, theft records and much more. It can also help you compare two similar cars if you want.

Here’s how you run a Bumper search:

1) Go to Bumper.

2) Click the License Plate option, then enter the License Plate and select the State. Click SEARCH to get your result. (If you have the VIN number, don’t hesitate to try this option and see what information it can bring up.)

3) Wait for the site to scour its database and give you a report with all the information you need.


In short, if you have the time and energy, you can try checking the vehicle information at your local DMV. If you prefer getting all the information associated with the license plate or the VIN number in just one single search, use professional search sites like BeenVerified instead to save your time.

By Jocelyn Sun

Jocelyn is a writer for Super Easy, who has a great passion for computers, technology and linguistics. She enjoys searching for useful information and writing tutorials to help people solve their problems. Before coming on board with Super Easy, Jocelyn worked as a translator (Chinese-English-French) and editor for a high profile news agency and as a translator for an import/export company. She’s also worked in content maintenance for one of the world’s biggest universities, and as a French teacher.When she's not writing, she's obsessed with music, podcasts and DIY projects.

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