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Vehicle Check explained

Vehicle Check explained

Buying a used vehicle can take a great deal of time and patience. Not only do you have to establish the make and model best suited to your lifestyle and pocket, you then have to find a perfect match.

Autotrader sit at the heart of the UK’s vehicle buying process, helping vehicle retailers compete effectively in the marketplace in order to sell more vehicles, faster. In conjunction with Experian – the leading global information services company, Autotrader developed Vehicle Check to help you to narrow your search, save you time, and give you peace of mind that you are making the right purchase.

Once you have identified a vehicle (or multiple vehicles) all you need to do is to enter the registration number into Vehicle Check and you will receive a full report about the history of the vehicle. As well as confirming if a vehicle has outstanding finance, is recorded as stolen, has a mileage discrepancy or has previously been written off; there are lots of other possible pieces of information available about the vehicle, including:

  • If a vehicle is being traced by a third party and is at risk of fraud or theft
  • A full description including the make, model, colour, date of first registration, engine size and number, transmission and number of gears, body style and year of manufacture.
  • How many keepers the vehicle has had prior to the current keeper.
  • If it has had any colour changes.
  • If it has had any registration plate changes.
  • If it has been used and imported from outside the EU.
  • If it has been exported.
  • If the DVLA have it recorded as Scrapped.
  • CO2 Emissions
  • Vehicle excise duty band and cost of 12 months tax
  • Confirmation of the VIN

Why Do You Need This Information?

Last year 79,390 vehicles were stolen* and while not often, some of these can find their way back into the market place. Dishonest sellers take the risk that most potential buyers do not do checks on a vehicle they want to buy; they rely on a buyer getting carried away with a shiny vehicle at a "bargain" price. If you do buy a stolen vehicle you will lose the vehicle and your money, so it pays to check.

1 in 6 of the vehicles checked on Vehicle Check** have outstanding finance agreements. Many people do not realise that they must pay for the vehicle in full before they can sell it, and others deliberately try to offload their debts. Either way the vehicle will be repossessed by the finance company if you obtain it before the finance agreement is cleared, you will lose that vehicle, and your money.

More than 450,000 vehicles were written-off in 2020.*** Many written-off vehicles are repaired and returned to the road, but would you want to buy one without knowing? While some have only cosmetic damage which may be remedied by a re-spray or a new panel, others sustain major damage and require skilled repairs. A Vehicle Check will identify a written-off vehicle and the category details of any write off recorded, enabling you to make a knowledgeable decision about its suitability for purchase.

Do not risk your money or your safety, carry out a Vehicle Check before you buy.

Step-by-Step Guide

Follow our simple steps below to receive your comprehensive Vehicle Check report:

Step-by-step guide Step-by-step guide
Step-by-step guide

Once you have purchased a Vehicle Check, you can return to the site at any time and log in using your e-mail address and password. Just click on 'View my previous checks' and you will be able to see all of the reports from the checks you have previously done, or you can click 'Perform a Vehicle check' to perform or purchase further checks. Please be aware you will need to re-enter your payment details as we do not store them for security purposes.

We'll send you regular e-mails to help you along the way, but if you need any help you can refer to our Useful Information pages and if the answer isn't there e-mail us at support@VehicleCheck.co.uk

* Vehicles registered as stolen on the Police National Computer in 2020.
** Checks carried out on Vehicle Check in 2020.
*** Vehicles registered as written off by Insurance companies and held on the Motor Insurers Anti-Fraud and Theft register in 2020.