Checking vehicle history

Vehicle checks via DVLA

The driver and vehicle licensing agency provide vast data for car, motorbikes and light commercials. Provided via the website, search using a vehicle check registration number and delve into the maintenance, tax, MOT history, vehicle details and SORN status. DVLA also cite askMID for road insurance checks.

car check screenshot from dvla website

How will this information help if I am buying a car? 

When buying a car privately, it's important to see the current tax and MOT status together with annual costs. 

The MOT history database holds full data from 2005 for any UK registered car (excluding those that might have been imported or exported and then imported where history was not available). 

Check how a vehicle performed on each test, if it passed, failed and/or carried advisory notes. This is useful when buying, especially when checking the last couple of MOT tests. It's the last two years of maintenance and repair that tend to dictate how much money will need to be spent on the car in the coming 12-months. 

When a car had advisory notes for worn drive shaft or brake discs, they may not have been replaced at the time of MOT test. These parts are very likely to need replacing as an MOT technician is likely to fail the car on the parts that were advisories last time around. 

In a broad sense, you can predict how well the vehicle will perform in its next test. That allows the chance to calculate maintenance and repair spends. 

askMID vehicle insurance check

For private buyers, this is another essential check provided for free by DVLA. 
All privately held vehicles must be insured and taxed at all times. If you check a vehicle is over three years old it must also have a valid MOT. 

Checking via askMID database will ensure the car is currently insured by the registered keeper/owner. 


The only exception is statutory off road notification/SORN. If a privately owned car has a sorn it does not need tax, mot or insurance. But, the vehicle checked must not be on the road either. 

Vehicles not found on a DVLA chec
It happens. Some reg numbers are unfound on DVLA. In most cases, this is due to the vehicle have a number plate change. There is often a short period between car reg's where DVLA are yet to update. 

Aside from this one example, if a car is not found on the .gov site you may want to run some additional checks or contact DVLA directly to ensure the vehicle is legitimate and legal to buy. 


Selling a car and notifying DVLA

Managing car documents after you have sold your car

Steps to take when a car remains in the UK or is being exported

Don't miss out on road tax refunds

sell my car online

Sell a vehicle

What you need to tell DVLA when you sell a vehicle online or in person prior to selling your car.

You must update your V5C vehicle registration document (logbook) if you have 
  • made any changes to your vehicle that DVLA need to be made aware of (this can impact emissions, MOT testing and road tax status
  • Changed your name or address or other personal information

If you don’t tell DVLA about changes after a sale or transfer of a car, you may miss out on road tax refunds.

When selling your car

You’ll need the V5C log book to help sell your car. It is good to let the buyer have a look at it so they can ensure it is genuine and matches your vehicle.

But, do not give them the logbook document reference number or provide them with an image of your vehicle logbook. If a third party has this much information they can easily defraud you and get a fake logbook. This often contributes to cloned or stolen cars.

If you have a vanity plate (private numbe plate) that you plan to keep and transfer to a new vehicle, apply to DVLA for removal, before you sell:

After you have sold your car

If the buyer is keeping your old car in the UK, give them the green ‘new keepers supplement’ slip from the V5 logbook.

You have to notify DVLA of a sale or transfer and provide the new keeprs full name and address.
Should the car be exported abroad, complete the ‘permenent export’ section of your V5 logbook. 

Send this slip to DVLA, Swansea, SA991BD. Do not send the logbook to DVLA as the new owner needs it for importing into a new country. 

However, do include a letter with your slip that states the new owners name and address.

Remember to pick up any road tax refund after a permanent exportation of a car.

Haven't sold yet and need some help? 

Related articles: Selling a car and outstanding finance
What Quora has to say about staying safe when selling a vehicle 

Car mileage and clocking

Car clocking rise in the UK

Over the last five years, CarVeto has seen a spike in cars undergoing mileage tampering, commonly known as car clocking. In fact, a huge 45% increase has been recognised with around 1 in 11 vehicles now have some mileage issue recorded against them.

We check mileage history via the MOT DVLA mileage check system for vehicles aged 3 years and over. If mileage was higher at an earlier time in vehicle life, we flag a discrepancy and produce a Warning check result.

What is the biggest issue for the motorist

Cars are clocked to increase resale value. It’s an age old practice for those people intent of deception and includes elaborate service history fabrications and other fake documents. So, a car with 100,000 mileage is worth a lot less than its counterpart with 50,000 miles.


The biggest issue to hand, though is vehicle safety. If a car has been clocked and you buy it without knowledge of actual distance travelled, you’ve no idea how worn the parts are. You also can’t account for cam belt replacements or when the car was last serviced. At least you can check MOT history, online. 

It’s said that car clocking is cost motorists near to 100 million every year.

Is the sale legal

No, it is illegal to sell a vehicle that has been clocked (go here for mileage check reports), without declaring it as ingenue miles. However, the practice of mileage altering is not unlawful.

Metrics over recent years

There has an increase of almost 25% from 2018 to 2019 mileage discrepancies. In 2019, nearly 850,000 vehicles were traced as clocked, but it was a little over 600,000 the year before.

Beyond mileage, CarVeto picks up one in three-vehicles with some hidden history. Significant issues for the motorist to content with including outstanding finance, theft and write offs.