Are you on the lookout for a hot car that you want to purchase but you just can’t find the license plate number and you want to learn how to find license plate number? Or maybe your plates got stolen and you can’t remember your license plate number? If this is the case, then you are at the right place because we are going to cover everything about it.
Getting this data can sometimes be a lifesaver for you because you can just forget the license plate number and you need it for something but your car isn’t around or maybe your plates got stolen and you don’t know how to report this issue to get new plates for your car.
Or in some instances, the car can get stolen and you need to know the license plate number to make a report that your car is missing. That’s why learning how to find license plate number is key if you want to get your problems sorted out quickly and effectively and we are going to help you out with that.
In this article, we are going to learn about license plates and who is issuing these license plates. Then we are going to learn what these numbers are representing. Also, the reasons why you would want to learn how to find license plate number. After, we are going to explain how this thing is done. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the article and start discussing it.
What Are License Plates?
So, what are license plates? In simple words, license plates are unique identifiers for your motor vehicle. Imagine that this is something similar to social security number, but for a vehicle. They are made out of stamped metal. They include different letter and number combinations that make them fully unique like nothing else on the road.
But my vehicle already has a VIN, why do I need license plates? VINs are too long and not practical. They are also invented for other purposes like storing the right information for your vehicle, like chassis number, color, trim level, and other important bits that have nothing to do with identifying a vehicle.
Also, you cannot make a plate with the whole VIN in it. That’s why something had to be done and that’s why license plates were invented.
The license plates make every vehicle on the roads unique and different. This means that there are no exact match license plates anywhere across the country.
Imagine that this vehicle was part of some unlawful accident like hit and run or something similar. In this situation, it is far simpler for the witnesses to check the license plate number and memorize it. Unlike memorizing a VIN which is 17 characters long in some instances and is almost impossible to remember.
License plates are far more convenient and they offer great versatility when it comes to identifying a vehicle. That’s why they are used since the early days of automobiles up until now.
There are two license plates. One for the rear and one for the front of the vehicle. Some states are not that strict and only require attaching the rear license plates. But how to find license plate number? More on that in a bit.
Who Issues License Plates?
Depending on the type of license plates, they can be issued by two separate institutions. For example, license plates for the government and diplomatic vehicles are issued by the Federal Government.
Regular license plates are issued by your local DMV. But what is a DMV? The DMV in other words is the Department Of Motor Vehicles. They are in charge of issuing license plates as well as registering the vehicle. In addition to this, they also issue driving licenses and other documents that you need to drive a vehicle on the road legally.
It is important to know that the DMV abbreviation is not used across the whole country. In some states, this agency is called differently. So, it is up to you to take a look online and learn how your local DMV is called if you want to learn how to find license plate number.
We will give you some examples. In Oklahoma for example, the DMV is called the Department of Public Safety for driver licensing. While there is a separate Tax Commission that is in charge of registration and car titles.
In North Carolina this is called a Division of Motor Vehicles, in Missouri, it is called the Department of Revenue. You get my point, it is crucial for you do to your own investigation and learn which agency is in charge of registering and driver licensing in your state.
But in most states, this agency is known as the DMV. What is important though, is that there is a local office in every state or bigger town and you have to take your car there to register it and get some documentation that you need like issuing a title, how to find license plate number, etc.
What Is The License Plate Number?
Before we delve into learning how to find license plate number. Let’s first learn what are these license plate numbers.
As the name implies they are the numbers that are located on the license plate. But even though they are called license plate numbers, in reality, they do not have to be numbered in every instance.
In most cases, they are a combination between numbers and letters. One or two letters are usually added in order to further distinguish the license plate and have more possibilities for combinations.
If we only added numbers, the possibilities would be limited and the license plates would be 10 numbers long. This is quite unacceptable to be implemented in practice since there are millions of cars that are roaming the streets while we are writing this article.
Also, license plates do not need to be numbered in the first place. If you have some money to spend, you can get some vanity plates for your car. The vanity plates are excess but they look good on cars and people who are passionate about cars often use them.
For example, a BMW owner often jokes about Mercedes AMG cars and he could add something like “HAHA AMG” at the rear to piss off some Mercedes car enthusiasts. Or some people add the vanity plate to personalize the car, usually, this is their nickname or something else that is close to them.
It is also worth noting that some phrases are strictly prohibited and you cannot add them as your vanity plate text. These include offensive words. But how to find license plate number? Well more on that in a bit after we learn the reasons why you would want to get this license plate number.
Reasons Why Would You Want To Learn How To Find License Plate Number?
It is worth noting that there is a number of reasons why would people want to learn how to find license plate number. In the following chapters, we are going to list all of the different reasons why would someone like to find a license plate number. So, without further ado, let’s get into the different reasons.
1. Out Of Curiosity
As they say, curiosity killed the cat, and this is actually true since a lot of people want to learn these things by simple curiosity.
Being curious if the car you want to find out the license plate number is yours is a great thing. Since you will be able to tell which is the license plate number of your car pretty easily.
But if you want to find a license plate number for a car that is not in your belonging. It could be really messy if the owner catches you on how you approach their car and learn their license plate number.
That’s why you should not do this practice if you don’t want to get into trouble and have problems with some people. Because nobody wants someone to sniff around their car. So, beware and make sure that you don’t get hurt in the process.
2. License Plates Got Stolen
Another reason why you would want to find the license plate number is if in case if your license plates got stolen.
Frankly, nobody tries to learn the numbers of their license plates. At least not in the USA where people are not interested in learning this information.
In this case, the next logical step is to report the missing license plates to the police and make sure that you don’t get in trouble for not reporting. Remember that this is your duty to report since this is your vehicle.
But you don’t know the numbers, you will not be able to report this problem to the police and get your situation sorted. That’s why it is a crucial thing to learn how to find license plate number and then be able to report this issue and get things sorted out quickly and effectively.
Later in the article, we are going to learn how to find license plate number but first let’s finish all of the reasons why you would want to do this practice.
3. Car Got Stolen
Another reason that will make you learn how to find license plate number is the case if your car got stolen and you don’t know the license plate number.
Without knowing the license plate, you basically cannot report this problem to the police. Imagine that you took your sister’s car on a night out and your car simply disappeared after you decided to go home.
You call the police and you don’t know the license plate number that the car had. Reporting this way could be quite more difficult since you don’t have the exact number for the license plate for the specific vehicle. And even if your sister doesn’t remember the number after you call her can be even worse.
This will result in big headaches and a ton of lost time to identify the right vehicle. And during this time, the car could be out of the town and in another state. Finding the car can be a real nightmare.
That’s why you need to learn how to find license plate number quickly and effectively and avoid situations like this. But how to find license plate number? More on that in a bit after we finish all the possible reasons why you would need this information.
4. You Want To Purchase A Car
Let’s say you want to purchase a car at an auction and the car doesn’t have license plates on it. So, you cannot know if it’s registered or not.
Knowing if the car is registered is a crucial thing because if you don’t know if the car is registered, you are basically without any information on it. Except for the VIN that we are going to cover a bit later.
That’s why you need to learn how to find license plate number. By looking up the vehicle license plate number you can get good information on the car. You can learn its specs and the car’s market value.
You will be able to learn as well the title history and see if you are dealing with a flooded car or a car that has been in a major accident. For example, you are all happy with your purchase and you find out that the vehicle has a certificate of destruction.
This means that you cannot register the vehicle at all and you will not be able to drive this car at all. Except selling it for parts and hope that you will make a few dollars on it. Much less than you have paid for the vehicle in the first place.
So, knowing how to find license plate number is key to avoiding getting yourself scammed and losing a ton of money on a vehicle that can’t be driven on public roads. But how to find license plate number? Well, that’s what we are going to cover in the following chapters where we will learn all of the details on how to find the license plate number quickly and effectively.
How To Find License Plate Number?
Now let’s get to business and start discussing how you to find the license plate number. This will be of great use for the reasons that we mentioned above. Knowing this will make your life easier and you will be able to find the license plate number with ease and with no problems. So, let’s get into it.
1. Check The Rear License Plate And Read The Number
The first and most obvious way how to find license plate number is to take a look at your rear end and find the license plate. The license plate is attached either on the rear bumper or the truck access.
If you have trouble finding the license plate number, turn on your phone flashlight and inspect the license plate. The number and letter combination that you see is your license plate number.
After inspecting it, it is useful to write it down on a piece of paper to memorize it and learn it by heart. But what if your car license plates are missing? That’s what we are going to cover in the following chapter.
2. Inspect Your Registration Documents
If you do not have the license plates on your car, let’s say they were stolen. You cannot know the license plate number. Except if you check your registration documents.
Once you register your vehicle, you get registration documents. These include the registration card that bears all the important information that you need.
In this information is also the license plate number included. So, if your license plates are missing, it is worth checking out this card and then reporting to the authorities that the plates are missing.
This card is usually kept in the sun visor or in the glove compartment along with the other documents that you have.
Also, if you plan to purchase a vehicle without license plates at an auction. It is worth looking for this card and seeing if it was recently registered. If you find it, then excellent, you have all the information needed to see if this vehicle is legal. If not, check the third way that we are going to cover next.
3. Use The VIN Number
The VIN is your last resort when it comes to how to find license plate number. The VIN is a 15 character mixed letter and digit code that every vehicle has when it rolls out the production line.
Based on this information, you can register the vehicle. The VIN in simple words is your vehicle’s DNA. It tells everything, the color, trim, model, year of production. Basically everything you need to know about it.
With this VIN, you can check a number of things. For example, if the vehicle was hit or damaged, if it was stolen, repairs that have been done to it, and even previous sale history of it. But how to find the VIN? That’s what we are going to learn next.
3.1 How To Find The VIN Number?
The VIN is usually stamped on the front dashboard in front of the driver. It is usually located in the corner of the windshield. You just can’t miss it.
But this is not always the case and some car manufacturers are placing the VIN on other places like the door pillars.
So, if you want to learn the VIN. Check on the windshield first. If you cannot find the VIN there, take a look at the pillars and see the stickers. If you cannot find it there, then it is best to consult with google. Write this phrase “make, model, and model year of your car + VIN Location” and give it a try. The right result will probably be in the first couple of results.
3.2 How To Check The VIN Number Online?
There are a ton of ways that you can check a VIN online. But if you want to get the most data, the best way is to perform a report on that VIN on Carfax. There you will get all the information needed on that specific vehicles.
There are also other websites that offer the same information, you can just google them out and learn more about them. Other websites include autoDNA, vincheck, and others.
What To Do If The Vehicle Has No VIN Number?
If the vehicle doesn’t have a VIN, then you cannot check this vehicle. Stay away from it, since you cannot register it and this vehicle is basically a ghost. It can’t be returned on the roads.
What If I Can’t Find The License Plate Online?
If you cannot find the license plate online and in your papers. You need to go to your local DMV where you have your vehicle registered. And learn from them more about finding the license plate.
There you need to file a report and have a good case behind of why you need the license plate number and see if they are going to give you that grant.
For other’s people’s vehicles. This, unfortunately, is impossible because by doing this you are entering the privacy of the owners. And they are highly unlikely that will share this data with you. Unless, the owner has done something to you like a physical attack, hit and run. Or other cases of offense so you can file a report to the authorities.
In this article, we covered a lot when it comes to how to find license plate number. We first learned what are license plates and why they are of such importance for you as an owner.
Not to forget that knowing the license plate number can be crucial. In case if you get your car stolen or get your license plates stolen.
Then we learned how you can find this information. This was by looking at your registration records. As well as some online websites whereby checking the VIN. You can also learn when this car was registered. Good info if you plan to purchase the vehicle.
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