Checking how many owners a vehicle has had

January 1, 2024 by Zoe Hicks – 6 mins read

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.

How can you tell how many owners the car 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. 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.

How many owners a car should have? How many is too many?

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.

What to look out for when buying a car with many previous owners?

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.

How to Find the Owner of a Vehicle

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.

Finding out who owns this car?

Due to data protection laws we do not receive personal information from the DVLA. You will have to have to contact DVLA directly.

Request owner information

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

How do I find the name and address of the previous owner of my car?

To find the name and address of the previous owner of your car, you can follow these steps:

  1. Check your vehicle documents: Look through your vehicle’s paperwork, such as the registration certificate (V5C), bill of sale, or any other relevant documents. These may contain information about the previous owner, including their name and address.
  2. Contact the DVLA: Reach out to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in your country. In the UK, you can contact the DVLA by phone, email, or mail and provide them with your vehicle registration number. Request information about the previous owner, explaining your reasons for needing this information. Note that the DVLA will have policies and guidelines in place regarding the release of personal information, so they may or may not provide it to you.

Remember, accessing personal information about previous owners is subject to privacy laws and regulations, and you may need a valid reason for obtaining such information.

How do I check how many previous owners a car has had?

To check the number of previous owners a car has had, you can follow these steps:

1. Check your vehicle documents: The registration certificate (V5C) or logbook of your car typically includes information about previous owners. Look for sections or fields that indicate previous owners. Depending on the country, this information may be listed as “previous keepers” or “previous registered keepers.”

2. Vehicle history report (This is the quickest option) Our online vehicle history report service can provide you with detailed information about a car’s past, including the number of previous owners.

3. Contact the previous owner(s): If you have contact information for the previous owner(s) of the car, you can reach out to them directly and inquire about the number of previous owners. However, this may not always be feasible or possible.

4. Contact the dealership or manufacturer: If the car was previously owned by a dealership or used as a fleet vehicle, they may have records indicating the number of previous owners. You can contact the dealership or manufacturer, provide them with the vehicle details, and request information about the ownership history.

By combining these methods, you should be able to gather information about the number of previous owners your car has had. Remember that some services may require a fee, and accessing personal information about previous owners is subject to privacy laws and regulations.

Does a V5 tell you how many owners a car has had?

Yes, the V5C registration certificate (commonly referred to as V5) can provide information about the number of previous owners a car has had. The V5 document includes a section called “Registered Keeper(s) Details,” which lists the previous and current registered keepers of the vehicle. By examining this section, you can determine the number of previous owners indicated on the V5 document.

Each registered keeper represents a separate owner of the vehicle. However, it’s important to note that the V5 may not always provide the complete ownership history, especially if the vehicle has changed hands multiple times or if there were gaps in registration transfers. In such cases, obtaining a comprehensive vehicle history report or contacting the DVLA may provide a more accurate account of the ownership history.

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