How to Check a Used Car’s History Online Before Making a Purchase

There are countless benefits to buying a used car, but it’s very important that you know exactly what you’re paying for. You should always check the car’s history, as this will give you a good idea of how well it’s been looked after and how much more life is left in it.

Dealerships will usually be able to give you an extensive history of the car in person, but this requires you going into the dealership, when you might not even be that sure about the car.

Another easier and faster way to check a used car’s history is online. You can get an extensive history of the car from the comfort of your own home without purchasing it, or even enquiring further with the dealership.

Remember the Number Plate

The more information you have about the car for the history check, the better, but the only thing you really need is the number plate. Most dealerships will have photographs of the car along with some basic information. Once you’ve identified the car you are the most interested in, then you are ready to take the next step.

The number plate can reveal a lot
The number plate can reveal a lot

Find a Company

There are numerous websites online that you can use to find out different parts of a car’s history. Below is a guide to some of the top websites to look out for and what they can help you discover.


The DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) is a completely free database to use and can tell you the year of manufacture, date of first registration, engine capacity, colour, current tax expiry date and the tax rate.

If the details listed on this database don’t match the vehicle then the car may have been given another car’s identity. This is illegal, though not completely unheard of amongst used cars. This is one reason you should buy from a reputable dealer, as this seriously reduces the risk of this identity fraud occurring.

One of the other most helpful facts you can learn from the DVLA website is how much the car will cost in tax every year.


A history check, sometimes referred to as a data check, can inform you of whether the car has been reported stolen, still has finance owing, has suffered any serious accident damage in the past, and the mileage.

Cars with a lower mileage are more desirable, so people may fraudulently turn back the mileage reader on the car to make it look like it has done less miles. Checking through websites such as the AA or RAC will let you know the official mileage of the car.

All you need to complete this check is the car number plate. However, this service isn’t free. There is a discount available if you want to check more than one car, otherwise you’ll be looking at paying approximately £15-£20. There will be other websites that appear to be cheaper, but the legitimacy of those websites may be unconfirmed.

Finding out a used cars history is important
Finding out a used cars history is important

Vehicle and Operator Service Agency 

Finally, by logging onto the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency (part of the website) you can check a car’s MOT. In the UK it is a legal requirement to have an MOT every year.

You can check the current MOT certificate and the vehicle registration certificate through this website, completely for free. This is only available for cars in England, Wales and Scotland, as Northern Ireland is not yet covered.


Checking a used car’s history online is an easy way to find out more information about a potential car without even having to leave your home. There is a wealth of information available about used cars and their history online so why not check the facts from the comfort of your own armchair?



Image credits: woody1778a and rptnorris


How to Flip a Junker (Car)

flip a junkerWe’ve all heard of “flipping” a house, but how about a car?  Just like with real estate, a car can be purchased at a reasonable price and the owner can improve the value of the car, selling it for a higher price than the purchased price.  But buyer beware, your investment should be a smart one.  If, for instance, you come across a vehicle that has been in a car accident, it may be a bigger undertaking than you intend.  As with any car you would purchase, granted that you will not be keeping it, it should be a safe and reliable vehicle; if not, you are responsible for investing money in making it safe before you sell it to another person.  Selling an unsafe vehicle is not only bad business practice, but extremely dangerous, putting the lives of many motorists at risk.

Before you Flip, Start Searching

Before you flip a car, you’ll want to set up a budget that you are willing to work with.  If you can only invest a couple thousand dollars, you’ll want to look at a car under that price range, considering any repairs that need to be done on the car.  The more money you put into a car, the better profit you can make.  When you start looking for a car, avoid car dealerships as their cars are often “flipped” and more expensive already.  Try looking in the classifieds, online buyer sites such as craigslist or by word of mouth.  You could also try placing an ad in the paper, but it’s best to omit that you are planning to flip the car since some sellers may be tempted to increase the price.

Basically, when searching for a car, do your research and shop as if you would if you were purchasing a car for your own use.  Additionally, it’s advantageous to investigate what types of cars sell best or in highest demand.  If you purchase a high-priced luxury car, be prepared to pay more money to a hire a technician or mechanic who specializes in luxury or foreign cars. If you plan on doing repairs yourself, make sure you choose a car that has readily accessible parts for sale.  The chances of finding spare or replacement parts for a Toyota is better (and cheaper) than trying to buy parts for a BMW.

Flip a Safe Car

As you would, when shopping for your own car, try to find out the car’s history.  Does the owner have maintenance records?  Does it look like it has been in an accident?  Do all of the safety features work?  If the car is supposed to be equipped with airbags, you’ll want to make sure that they have never been deployed.  If they have, you may want to reconsider as airbags can be costly to replace; but don’t sell a car without airbags (especially if it is supposed to have them).  Once you have purchased a car, at a reasonable price, you want to make sure you flip it with safety in mind.  Sure, a clean car with new upholstery or clean leather seats may be appealing to any of your potential buyers, but safety should always come first.  Take a look at a Texas Vehicle Safety Checklist:

–          Horn, is it in good working condition?

–          Windshield Wipers

–          Mirror, are there any missing or cracked?

–          Steering

–          Seat Belts, are all safety belts accounted for or have any been modified or damaged?

–          Brakes

–          Tires, is there a spare available?

–          Exhaust System

–          Headlights, Taillights, other exterior indicating lights

–          Motor, Serial or Vehicle ID Number

–          Gas caps on vehicles 2 – 24 model years old

As a car flipper, you can decide how much work you want done on the car, depending on its condition.  However, remember that the more work you put into it, the more profit you can expect.  If for some reason, you decide not to fix the brakes, replace the tires, or repair any other safety feature; you should tell your potential buyer.

Flipping a car can be a fun hobby and an easy way to make money.  Just remember that if you decide to sell an unsafe car, it may negatively reflect on you.  Sell a car that makes your buyer say, “Wow!  What a great deal!”  Happy Flipping!

About the Author:

Andrew Miller is an Avid Legal Blogger, environmental law student, and owner of The Socialpreneur blog.


Passion of the Classic Car Restoration

Classic car shows are going on all over the world. People are finding bodies of old cars and restoring them to their original status. Restoring a classic car can be a rewarding and expensive venture. Restoring a classic car can be a lucrative adventure because these restored cars only go up in value.

Car shows are great ways to show off the hard work of restoring a car. To restore a car, it is important to do research on the parts. Every part in a restoration is specific to the year, make, and model of the classic. A 1965 Mustang Convertible cannot be legitimately classified as a restoration if it has parts from a 2000 Mustang. Each makes and model vehicle has different parts that can be a challenge to locate. Some people search in junk yards, online, and auctions for the very parts they need to complete the renovations of these classic cars.

car restoration

Some classic cars are worth a lot of money when they are restored. Some of the favorites are the hot rods that the older generation drove as teenagers. It is usually easy to locate original parts for Cars such as the Mustang, the T-Bird, the Corvette, the Camaro, or the Falcon. Parts for cars such as Model T’s are difficult to find. Classic car parts can be found on the auction site online. These parts are sometimes taken from other wrecked or classic cars and sold to dealers or people doing restorations.

When looking to do a car or truck restoration you first would start with the body of the car or truck. Remove any dings or dents before applying a fresh paint job. Make sure to get the same paint colors as was on the car or truck the year it was produced. Seats and floors are next in the restoration. Some people leave the same seats if they are without tears or fading. Others get the seats recovered. The engine of the classic is the most important part of the restoration. Each part has to be in good working order and if not, the person restoring will need to search for replaceable parts. Classic cars and trucks have specific hubcaps that were on the car or truck when it was made. Some have hood ornaments and others have specific designs that are painted on the vehicle body.

Once the vehicle is in full restore, the vehicle can bring lots of money. These vehicles are worth more than they were the day they came on the market. Some of these vehicles can go for thousands. Purchasing a restoration vehicle can be challenging but a wonderful accomplishment when it is complete.

The author of this article suggests visiting where you can read more interesting articles on various automotive topics.