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How to Check When A Car Was Registered In the UK?

Check When A Car Was Registered In the UK

If you are a car buyer or seller interested in buying or selling a car in the UK, the car’s registration information will be required sooner or later. This information is necessary because, with it, the age of a vehicle can be determined and its general condition understood. With the age and condition of a vehicle, the value of the car may increase or decrease.

In this article, we will closely examine how to check when a car was registered in the UK, how to check car registration details and highlight some information you may want to keep in mind while carrying out your search.

How to find out when a car was registered in the United Kingdom?

Understanding how to check the car registration details of a vehicle comes with understanding where to begin the search. There are three routes you can take to easily find UK car information. They are:

  • Check the Vehicle Registration Certificate (V5C).
  • Use the Vehicle Enquiry system provided by the DVLA.
  • Use the Vehicle Enquiry System provided by Smart Car Check.

Check the Vehicle Registration Certification (V5C)

The very first place a car buyer or seller should look when they want to check when a car was first registered in the UK is the Vehicle Registration Certificate (V5C). The Vehicle Registration Certificate, also known as the V5C, is a document that is issued to the registered keeper of a vehicle by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). This document contains specific details about a car and is continuously updated to keep track of changes.

Some of the information that can be found on a V5C includes:

  • Date of first registration.
  • Registration number.
  • Previous keeper.
  • Registered keeper.
  • Make of the vehicle.
  • Engine size.
  • Chassis number.
  • Year of production.
  • Color.

Among other pieces of information contained in a vehicle registration certificate, the date of first registration can be easily located on the document. It is usually written in the DDMMYY format, and after a close look at the V5C, car sellers and buyers are sure to find the date of first registration.

Be aware that the date provided on a vehicle registration certificate shows the date the car was first registered with the DVLA and may not be an accurate representation of the vehicle’s age.

Here’s why.

  • The vehicle may have been imported from another country and registered at a later date.
  • The vehicle may have been registered with a private plate, and in such cases, the vehicle registration certificate would hold the date of the private plate registration and not the actual date of the car’s first registration.

Use the Vehicle Enquiry System provided by the DVLA

There are some instances where car buyers or sellers may not have immediate access to a car’s V5C. In such cases, to check when a car was first registered in the UK, the DVLA’s Vehicle Enquiry System would have to be utilized. The vehicle inquiry system would request the following information to run a vehicle registration check, check the vehicle’s date of first registration, and gain access to other information:

  • The registration number of the vehicle of interest.
  • The make, model, and color of the vehicle.

Check Vehicle Registration Through DVLA

After collecting this information, visit the DVLA vehicle inquiry system and enter the car registration number. After entering this information, the car buyer or car seller will be provided access to important UK car details such as:

  • Vehicle make
  • Date of first registration
  • Year of manufacture
  • Cylinder capacity
  • CO₂ emissions
  • Fuel type
  • Euro status
  • Real Driving Emissions (RDE)
  • Export marker
  • Vehicle status
  • Vehicle color
  • Vehicle type approval
  • Wheelplan
  • Revenue weight
  • Date of the most recent V5C (logbook) issued

The DVLA makes the above information available to the general public, and anyone with the vehicle registration number of the vehicle of interest can access it. Be aware that the DVLA only provides information based on the records of registered vehicles. This means that for some vehicles that were not registered with the DVLA, you may not be able to find any information on the UK vehicles.

Contact the DVLA

In some cases, vehicle keepers, car buyers, and car sellers may not be able to find information about their vehicles with the DVLA vehicle enquiry system. If you are unable to check when a car was registered with the V5C and the vehicle enquiry system, your next option will be to contact the DVLA directly via phone or email. The DVLA has a customer service team that is willing to provide services to customers who are unable to access their vehicle information through the vehicle enquiry system.

To access the customer service team via phone, you can call their general services line at 0300 790 6802. This line is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. If you would prefer to contact the customer service team via email, you will find the guidelines on the DVLA website.

Use the Vehicle Enquiry System provided by Smart Car Check

The best option on this list if you want to get full car registration details is the Vehicle Enquiry System provided by Smart Car Check. Smart Car Check is dedicated to providing vehicle keepers, buyers, or sellers with accurate vehicle information and history.

How to Get a Car History Check in the UK with Smart Car Check

If you are interested in getting a car history check in the UK to confirm a vehicle’s date of first registration or you want to compare car details from number plates, you can use Smart Car Check’s Vehicle Enquiry Service. Some of the details and records accessible to vehicle keepers, car buyers, and sellers in the UK with this Vehicle Enquiry Service are

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  • Auction records with over 10 photos (if available).
  • Previous keepers, plate, and color.
  • MOT and tax dues.
  • Detailed vehicle description.
  • Vehicle overall performance.
  • Mileage history.
  • MOT history.
  • Market Value.
  • Car alerts, and more.

With the vehicle enquiry service provided by Smart Car Check, vehicle keepers can find UK car information and car registration details. All that is required to get a car history check in the UK from SmartCarCheck is the vehicle’s registration number, an email address, and phone number (optional).

Points to note down before you begin your search

Although the DVLA holds records of most vehicles in the UK, there are some points to remember while you search for a vehicle’s registration information in the UK, London, etc. These points are:

  • The DVLA holds records for the date of first registration, not the date of manufacture. If you would like to know more about the car’s date of manufacture, you may need to expand your search a bit further than the DVLA.
  • If a vehicle was issued a private registration plate at any point in time, the vehicle registration certificate would hold the date of registration of the private plate and not the original date of first registration. This means that the date you may find on a V5C may not be the accurate date of first registration.
  • The DVLA may not have records of old car registrations, and you may be unable to check when an old car was registered in the UK.

With this in the back of your mind, to check when a car was registered in the UK, car buyers and sellers can go through the vehicle registration certificate (V5C), utilize the vehicle enquiry service provided by the DVLA, or contact the DVLA via phone or email.

For concise and more detailed information on any UK vehicle, it is recommended that a car history check be carried out with the Smart Car Check vehicle enquiry service and a vehicle history report generated.


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