Checking how many owners a vehicle has had

When it comes to buying a second-hand car, it’s important to check the history of the vehicle to make sure there are no red flags.

When it comes to buying a second-hand car, it’s important to check the history of the vehicle to make sure there are no red flags. One of the things to look out for when buying a car is its previous owner’s history as a long list of owners could be an indication of a problem.

The easiest way to find out how many previous owners the car has is to use our online vehicle report. It’ll give you a summary of key items such as when the MOT runs out, if it’s been stolen, financed, etc. But you’ll also be able to find out how many previous owners the vehicle has had. All you need is its vehicle registration number.

The other way is to physically check the V5C and go through the list of previously registered keepers.

There’s no real answer to ‘how many is too many’ when it comes to previous owners. However, we find that the fewer owners a vehicle has had, typically the better the condition it’s in.

If someone buys a new car and keeps onto it for 5-10 years and then sells it on, it’s likely it’s received the same maintenance and care throughout those years. Whereas if the vehicle was constantly swapping owners, it’s very likely that it’ll be in a worse-off condition.

If you’re buying a car and are on-site with the vehicle, you’ll first need to determine how many owners it’s had previously. You can look in the vehicles service book as it should mention the various owners it’s had.

It’ll give you a chance to look through the service record to see if there has been any glaring issues with the vehicle that could cause issues in the short term. Also taking a look at the MOT history is a good idea, as once again you’ll be able to see any issues that were found during the MOT and if it passed or failed.

There is a list of very few circumstances where you can request the details of a current owner, to do so you’d need to go through the official form on the gov.uk website.

If you’re looking to find the owner for any of the following reasons, then your request should be accepted:

  1. If you need to find out who was responsible for an accident
  2. To trace the registered owner of an abandoned vehicle
  3. To trace the registered owner of a vehicle parked/abandoned on private property
  4. If you need to give the registered owner a parking ticket
  5. To supply the registered owner with trespassing charges
  6. To trace people who have driven off without paying for a service or goods
  7. To trace people who are suspected of insurance fraud

For more information on the process of submitting an application, please follow the link below:

Request owner information from DVLA

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