There is a lot you can find out about a vehicle by looking at the number plate of a vehicle.
The current format of registration plates came into use in 2001 and is as follows:
• The first two letters on present day number plates represent an area code for the region where the vehicle was initially registered.
• The following two numbers indicate the age of the vehicle and when it was registered. For example, a vehicle registered between 1st March 2021 and 31st August 2021 will contain the number 21, whereas vehicles registered between 1st September 2021 and 28th February 2022 will contain the number 71.
• The last three characters are randomly generated.
However, if you require more detailed information about the vehicle, then you are probably better off using the DVLA website.
Why would you need to find out who owns a private number plate?
Due to data protection laws, it is not easy to discover who owns a particular private number plate.
However, there are many reasons why you might want to find out who owns a specific number plate, such as if a vehicle is:
• Causing a public nuisance
• Parked on your private land
• May have been involved in an accident and you have the registration details
• Has been unattended for a considerable amount of time (abandoned)
• You wish to contact the owner in order to make them an offer for purchasing the vehicle/number plate
Vehicle ownership information can be accessed through the DVLA, providing you have what is determined as 'reasonable cause'. Information can be requested and the DVLA can be consulted with regards to accessing information, however, it may also be worth contacting your local police station as they too have access to an in-depth database on vehicles and their owners' details.
Unfortunately, if you are trying to contact the vehicle's owner to make a purchase, the DVLA or the police will not be able to help you with your inquiry.
What do I need in order to make a request to the DVLA?
Along with your reasonable cause that is validated by the DVLA, you will need to complete some paperwork. If you are an individual making the request for vehicle information, you will need to complete a V888 form. If you are a business/company, you will need to complete a V888/3 form.
Using the DVLA website to find a private number plate
The DVLA website has a useful search function which is designed to give basic information about a vehicle, such as:
• Whether a vehicle is taxed
• Whether a vehicle has a valid MOT certificate
• The date of first registration
• Size of the engine
• Details of its carbon emissions
It will also tell you if a private number plate you request is already in use. If this is the case, it will provide you with information about the vehicle it relates to.
If it is not in use, it will say "Good news, that exact registration is available" and therefore can be purchased.
Finding whether a private number plate exists
If you have the perfect car number plate in mind and would like to see if it is available, there are several ways you can find out. Here is how to check if private number plates are already taken on our website.
Firstly, you can search online via our number plate search tool. Simply enter the registration you wish to purchase on our homepage.
With either option, you will be presented with the options available for your request and the price available for each. You have the option to filter your results by best result, price (lowest) or price (highest).
The prices given will show an instant purchase price or the monthly financial payment price.
By clicking on the 'details' button for the number plate you are interested in, this will display a breakdown of the different financial options available.
One advantage to using Click4Reg over the DVLA is that you can speak to our sales team directly regarding a potential purchase or any enquiries you may have over a possible registration plate.
Alternative types of search for private number plates
Our search function also has the option to search by 'newstyle' or 'prefix' number plates.
Here, the available options and closest matches will be listed below once you input your request and click 'search'.
This function also gives you the option to make an offer on a particular number plate or click on the available details.
However, there is also an option to 'watch' this plate. Simply click on this and enter a few personal details and we will notify you if the price of the registration changes or is reduced in the future.