Car check – what does it entail

June 25, 2022 by Zoe Hicks – 10 mins read

A car check will tell you whether the VRM and VIN correspond to DVLA records. If they don’t, there could be several problems with the vehicle.

What does a car check entail?

A car check will tell you whether the VRM and VIN correspond to DVLA records. If they don’t, there could be several problems with the vehicle.

What is included in a free car check?

With our free vehicle check, you will find many useful charts and information to give you a sneak peek into any vehicle’s history registered in the UK.

  1. Vehicle details
  2. ULEZ Checker (Ultra Low Emission Zone)
  3. Vehicle road tax including CO2 output, road tax costs/rates, and expiry date.
  4. Mot history, including advisory notes and causes of failure, and MOT information including the expiry date.
  5. First registration date in the UK: always note that vehicles imported into the UK have an opening date of registration relative to import. This means when you conduct a car reg check, the date you see does not necessarily mean it’s the car’s age, it’s just the date of its importation.
  6. Engine size in cc
  7. Fuel type (diesel/petrol/electric/hybrid)
  8. Vehicle type approval category
  9. Vehicle Weight
  10. Manufacturer year, excluding imported vans, cars, and motorcycles
  11. Issue date of the V5C registration document; DVLA provides the date of the latest V5C
  12. CO2 Driving emissions levels based on European status.

The MOT inspection manual tells you:

  • everything that’s tested
  • how the MOT tester will check it
  • the reasons things can be failed
  • Stolen Car Check

When it comes to buying a used vehicle, there are many things you will want to be sure of and check over before making a purchase, for your peace of mind. One of these factors will be to check if a car is stolen before buying it. At motorscan we offer a vehicle checker service that will detect if a vehicle is stolen.

This can quickly determine whether a vehicle you are interested in is stolen or not. Undertaking a stolen car check is an important step to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of vehicle fraud.

How to Check if a Vehicle is Stolen

Many car checks must be made when looking to buy a new vehicle and checking the legal ownership is an important one. A stolen vehicle check is included as part of a motorscan check, which will instantly flag up if the vehicle you’re looking at is legally owned by the seller.

The car history checker will scan through the Police National Computer to determine if the vehicle you are looking at has been stolen. Every day 109 cars are recorded as stolen on this database. It undertakes a stolen bike check as well, to cover all types of vehicles for sale on the market.

Recorded as Scrapped Check:

A car scrap check is included in the vehicle checker services offered with every motorscan car check, to help ensure that the car, van, or motorbike you’re thinking of buying hasn’t previously been scrapped. Any vehicle that has been marked as scrapped by the DVLA should not be on sale or on the roads.

However, in the same way, that several cars which have been written off by insurance companies make it onto the market, the same happens with a few scrapped cars. Purchasing one can present a big danger to anyone driving it, so undertaking a vehicle scrap check on any car you’re looking at before buying it is a must.

How to Check if a Vehicle has been Recorded as Scrapped?

The easiest way to inspect whether the vehicle you hope to buy has previously been scrapped is to buy a motorscan car check online, which includes a car scrap check. Using data from the DVLA, this will check through its history to see whether it has once been recorded as scrapped.

Unlike with vehicles that have been written off, if it has been scrapped then you should avoid buying it. While some written-off cars can be repaired to a roadworthy standard, any that have been sent to scrap should not be on the road or available for sale.

Stolen Car Registration Document (V5C) Check Online:

There are thousands of stolen V5C documents in circulation and any vehicle which is found to contain one is likely to have been cloned or stolen itself. Buying a stolen car can lead to all sorts of problems, even if you didn’t know it was stolen when buying it, which is why checking the V5C document before purchase is so important.

Therefore, a registration document check is an essential action to take before buying your next vehicle. The V5C check will determine whether it is the correct documentation for that car and if it is not then you should avoid buying the vehicle.

Logbook Check:

A logbook check is highly advisable when buying a used car, van, or motorbike, as it quickly determines whether there are any identity issues with the vehicle. This validates that the logbook belongs to the vehicle being looked at and that all the details included in it are correct and line up with the car’s history and condition.

A logbook check comes as part of all motorscan car checks we offer and is the easiest way to ensure the right documentation is attached to the correct vehicle. Otherwise, it will be likely that the car you’re buying is stolen or cloned.

Vehicle Legitimacy:

Every car logbook check will confirm the legitimacy of the vehicle for sale. It allows you, the buyer, to discover whether the logbook belongs to the vehicle or not, and will make you aware of any risks its history or current condition may pose.

This is included as part of every vehicle checker service we offer and informs you that the logbook is the most recent issue as well as matching with the vehicle. Book in for a logbook check as part of our motorscan checks today.

UK Car Chassis Number Check:

The vehicle chassis number is checked against the one on the V5C document and logbook that comes with the car, to ensure that everything is legitimate and in order. If they do not match, then it is likely that the car has experienced some serious problems in the past or is a stolen vehicle and you will not be able to find its accurate vehicle history.

Our chassis number check is powered by data from the DVLA, insurance companies, police records and more, to help deliver reliable results. It means that everything the vehicle checker brings up can be trusted and used to help you make an informed decision when buying a used vehicle from anywhere.

VIN Check:

Along with checking the vehicle registration plate, every motorscan car check we offer includes a VIN check as well. This inspects whether there are any issues with the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and shows up if there are any problems recorded against it and the vehicle.

Any issues that a UK VIN check brings up can be a signal that the car has been stolen, cloned, or encountered serious problems that are being masked. Therefore, you should avoid purchasing a used car, van or motorbike, should this be the case.

Online Vehicle History Search:

The motorscan vehicle checker services allow you to discover an accurate history of any vehicle you are after. This includes flagging if a vehicle is a write-off, to help you avoid buying an unsafe used car.

Be wary of places that claim to offer a free car check, as there is no such thing. These places will not be providing a genuine motorscan car check, possibly supplying inaccurate information, so should be avoided. Contact us for more information about our VIN checker and overall motorscan car checks.

Number Plate Changes Check:

A change in number plates can simply have occurred as people want to personalize their vehicles, but it can also be done to hide the car’s past. Therefore, arranging a reg check on any car, van, or motorbike that you are interested in buying is a great way of staying safe and avoiding becoming a victim of vehicle fraud.

Many car reg check users discover that the vehicle they are hoping to buy has had at least one number plate change in the past. It is important to be aware of this and if the seller does not point it out then you will have reason to be suspicious.

Number Plate History & Vehicle Registration Checker:

A number plate check is available individually or along with two other motorscan checks as part of a multi-order. Using data from the DVLA ensures that the motorscan check we offer will accurately determine the number plate history of any vehicle for sale.

This includes when the car, van, or motorbike has had a number plate change, so you can see whether this information matches up with the seller’s claims. If it does, then there should be nothing to worry about, but if it doesn’t then you should avoid purchasing the vehicle as the seller may be masking problems with it.


Legitimate Changes:

There are various legitimate changes that a registration check can bring up, mainly when people switch plates to have a personalized one. Whenever a vehicle registration check shows that the plates have been switched, whatever the reason, it is important to make sure nothing is outstanding on the previous plates.

When looking for a vehicle checker, be aware that there is no such thing as a free car check. Places that advertise as such do not offer genuine articles. Ensure you only use a reg checker from reliable sources such as motorscan check, as we developed the first-ever vehicle history check and have been providing motorscan checks for over 77 years since.

Car Write-Off Check:

A car write-off check is an advisable action to take when looking at buying any used car, van or motorbike. This will flag up if the vehicle you want to purchase has previously been in an accident, or even worse, written off.

There are numerous reasons insurance companies write off cars and it always means the vehicle will not be safe to drive. Therefore, it is essential to arrange a car write-off check for any vehicle before agreeing to purchase it.

Check if a UK Vehicle Has Been in an Accident:

Our vehicle checker will determine if the car being inspected has previously been in a serious accident in the UK. 

Some of these will have been reliably repaired but you will need proof of this for your peace of mind. Others may have experienced more severe damage, to the point where they are no longer roadworthy. This provides a real reason to get a vehicle write-off check done on any new car you are hoping to buy.

Buying a Write-Off:

Some write-offs can still be worth buying, repairing, and putting back on the road, but you must know its exact history and condition. There are four categories of car write-offs. Any that fall under category A must be scrapped and in B must only be used for parts. If it has been classified as a category A or B in a vehicle write-off check then the car isn’t safe and should be avoided completely. S and N category write-offs can be repaired and reappear on the road.

It is essential to check if a car has been written off before buying, to avoid the dangers of driving a possibly unsafe vehicle, and to know if it has been in an accident and requires any repairs. 

Imported Car Check:

With a motorscan car check, you can discover if the car, van, or motorbike you want to buy has been imported or is recorded as an exported vehicle. The history of an imported car can be difficult to find before its registration in the UK, while any vehicle recorded as exported should not be on sale.

Our vehicle checker includes a car import check along with many other inspections to help you make a safe choice when purchasing a new vehicle. It can show if a car has been imported, which may make you reconsider or avoid buying it.


Free check includes
  • Road Tax & Mot Status
  • MOT History
  • Detailed Vehicle Spec
  • Running Costs
  • Mileage timeline
  • When the V5C was updated
Upgrade to view
  • check_circle Finance Status
  • check_circle Write-off Check
  • check_circle Stolen Check


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MOT History Checker
MOT History Checker
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