DMV VIN Check and License Plate Lookup Services

DMV VIN Check and License Plate Lookup Services

Vehicles are identified through their license plate numbers and their VINs. These are used to gather data found on vehicle documents. The state department of motor vehicles (DMV) or its equivalent facilitates vehicle registration and driver licensing. They assign a plate number after a vehicle has been registered and titled at one of their offices. Registration and title documents also bear the VIN of the vehicle.

States offer either a DMV VIN check or a DMV license plate lookup or both. License plate lookup is usually offered for checking plate number availability (for personalized license plate application) and vehicle registration, insurance, or penalty status. VIN check is used as a tool for checking vehicle history and recall status. If you wish to obtain a free VIN check, DMV websites can be a useful source. However, not all websites offer this service for free.

At, license plate and VIN lookup tools are available for running a comprehensive vehicle history for free.

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How do DMV VIN Check and License Plate Lookup tools differ from free tools?

In many cases, DMVs may only be able to provide vehicle data for vehicles registered in the state. The information available may also be limited to registration and titling records. However, they may be able to point you to other sources of information. With, you can either run a VIN Check by State or License Plate Lookup by State. is a free Carfax report alternative and provides a comprehensive vehicle history which covers the following areas:

  • Market value
  • Vehicle specifications
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Safety rating
  • Warranty or manufacturer recall
  • Indicators of potential auto fraud and theft:
    • title history
    • brand history
    • salvage or total loss history
    • odometer reading

Advertisers pay for the comprehensive vehicle history reports you get for free from If you’re keen on paying for reports, these are available from a variety of sources such as DMVs, private companies, and online services. The cost varies depending on the provider, but it can cost as high as $40 per report. Some providers may offer discounted rates for bulk purchases or subscription-based services. You should be able to run a report for most vehicles manufactured after 1981, including a motorcycle VIN check for as low as $9.99.

DMV VIN Check / License Plate Lookup in US States

Here are some of the DMV-sponsored license plate and VIN lookup services in the country. In  most cases, personalized and specialized plates can only be ordered online for vehicles that are currently titled and registered in the states.

Alabama application status check

Car owners may visit Alabama’s Public Title Portal to use some of the title-related services. One of the features is a tool for checking the status of their application for a vehicle title. For status verification, the tool requires the VIN or Side ID and the application number.

Alaska plate availability lookup

At the Alaska DMV website, applicants for personalized license plates can check the availability of their preferred plates. Between 2 to 6 characters are allowed, with the option to choose the plate style.

Arkansas title status lookup by VIN and  Plate availability check

A new car owner who has accomplished the registration of a vehicle can check the status of the title application via Arkansas DMV’s title status lookup. Both the title number and the VIN are required for this transaction. For the plate availability lookup, only the preferred personalized license plate number is required

California Online Vehicle Record Request

California DMV’s online motor vehicle services include a Vehicle Records tool which may or may not require the VIN of the vehicle and/or the license plate number. Customers are required to sign up or sign in. The DMV notes that these online records are not official documents. Requests for official records should be done by mail.

Colorado Title Status Check by VIN

The Colorado DMV offers a title status verification tool which requires the customer to enter the VIN and the date of sale. This feature is part of the Colorado DMV online services which include driver license renewal, identification card or motor vehicle registration; updating the owner’s address, requesting a driving record, and more.

Connecticut registration check

Used car buyers in Connecticut or out-of-state residents who want to buy a Connecticut-registered car can run Connecticut DMV’s license plate check. The tool is a fast and easy way of verifying vehicle registration in the state. Simply enter plate number and plate class to get the result. About 52 plate classes of any plate number combination can be checked using the tool. The plate class can be found on the official registration and titling records of the car.

Delaware Special Plate Availability Check

One of the online services offered by Delaware DMV is a special plate application service. The vehicle owner gets to input a 7-digit plate number and the system will check its availability. Other options available are background type and plate type. Driver’s license and title date are required.

Florida plate availability check and Vehicle Information Check

Current and future registered drivers in Florida may use the Florida plate check to confirm if a plate number configuration is available. A maximum of 7 characters can be entered on the search engine. The DMV may reject any proposed plate number they find objectionable. Please take note that the agency’s database may be updated at any time, so a combination that appears available on your end may be taken the moment you visit a DMV branch. The Vehicle Information Check also known as Florida VIN check tool requires either the VIN or the title number of a vehicle that already has a Florida title. It can be used to check if a seller is providing the current title. The title number of paper should match what is provided by the tool. The VIN on the title and the vehicle should also match.

Georgia prestige tag inquiry

Anyone requesting a Georgia prestige plate tag must check its availability before going to an authorized branch.l The service is maintained by the state’s Department of Revenue. Updates happen in real time. So, there is no guarantee that a combination will remain available at the time of application. A plate number that is offensive, obscene or objectionable in some other way may not be approved by state authorities.

Hawaii motor vehicle inquiry

The official Motor Vehicle Title Inquiry website of the state’s capital, Honolulu, offers a free VIN and plate check for vehicles in Hawaii. It includes both present and past vehicles that were recorded in their state. The search engine can be used anywhere and at any time, provided there is no ongoing website maintenance. Used car buyers and sellers may use the tool as an additional reference for their respective transactions.

Idaho registration status check

Some cars might be stolen, while others might be sold by unauthorized sellers. Before buying a car in Idaho, you might want to check its registration status through Idaho DMV’s free plate number lookup. You will need the 7-character Idaho license plate number and the 17-digit VIN of the vehicle.

Illinois Title and Registration Status Inquiry

Illinois Vehicle Services department offers vehicle owners with the secure title document. The DMV VIN check tool can be used to check status of a  title and registration. The agency also administers compliance with the Illinois mandatory auto insurance law and maintains a toll-free hotline for citizens.

Indiana Vehicle Title Check

Indiana residents can access their motor vehicle-related information and complete transactions with the BMV from their homes via myBMV. It offers several services including vehicle title. This service may require either the VIN or the license plate number of the vehicle for owners who sign up for the service. Driver records, however, can be searched by driver’s license details. Indiana also operates BMV Connect kiosks, 24-hour self-service terminals where customers can conduct multiple BMV transactions.

Kansas Personalized Plate Availability

The Kansas DMV offers several services for motor vehicle owners, including the option to apply for personalized license plates. They can check the availability of their proposed plate using a tool that checks a 7-digit automobile or truck plate or a 5-digit motorcycle or disabled plates.

Louisiana Personalized Plate Inquiry

The Louisiana DMV, known as the Office of Motor Vehicle, accepts applications for a personalized plate. Motor vehicle drivers may enter their preferred license plates to check its availability. If it is available, then they can fill out a Personalized Plate Request Form to start the application process.

Maine Vanity Plate Search & Order Online Service

The Maine BMV or Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) offers  online search and order service for vanity license plates. Maine registrants with a current vehicle registration are eligible for this option. They have to complete the application which will be reviewed by the BMV. Processing time is 30 days.

Massachusetts Title and Lienholder Status

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles serves vehicle owners in the state with several online services. One of them is title and lienholder status lookup which is available to obtain the following: the date the certificate of title was issued, person to whom the certificate of title was (or will be) mailed, name of the lienholder (if applicable), and if the certificate of title is an electronic title (if applicable). To access these details, the VIN or certificate of title number is required.

Missouri license plate number check

If you are a Missouri driver who wants to order a personalized plate, you need to confirm the availability of plate numbers you have in mind. Use the Missouri Department of Revenue’s plate check tool for this purpose. Applicants may reserve a specific plate number configuration. However, they are required to explain its meaning to the DMV before their request is approved.

Montana Vehicle Search

The Montana DMV or Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) offers vehicle search for those who sign up for accounts at the agency. VIN and/or license plate numbers may be required. The application provides access to the account holder’s vehicle record or someone else’s vehicle record for specific legal reasons required to obtain another person’s vehicle record.

Nebraska VIN Search

The Nebraska DMV accepts requests for vehicle title and lien search by vehicle identification number (VIN). This service does not provide owner or registration information. To search for title and lien information, the VIN of a vehicle registered in Nebraska is required.

Nevada plate availability search

If you are ordering a Nevada personalized plate, you may use the state DMV’s free plate number lookup to check for available configurations. The tool does not recognize special characters, nor accept plate format that does not comply with the state’s requirement. Make sure the alphanumeric characters that you present are not misleading or offensive. The agency has the right to refuse combinations that they do not deem worthy.

New Mexico Online Services

At the New Mexico DMV or Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), vehicle owners can complete driver and vehicle-related tasks. Two of them require the VIN and/or license plate number of the vehicle: the View My Vehicle Status and Personalized Plate Application services.

New York Title & Status Check by VIN and Personalized Plate Application

For most vehicle-related services, the New York DMV hosts online transactions for the state’s residents. You can search for the availability of your preferred personalized license plate and place an order for any passenger or commercial vehicle or motorcycle. You can also check the status of a title or lien, and if your title was returned to DMV as “undeliverable.” You need the VIN for this transaction plus the make and model year.

North Dakota plate availability search and Title Status Check by VIN

The North Dakota DOT official website offers a free plate search for drivers. This tool allows drivers to check the availability of a plate number combination in the state. Some combinations are exclusive to a particular plate, and each plate type may require a different set of documents. The website also allows checking the current processing status of a vehicle title using the VIN.

Ohio Specialized Plate Availability Check and Vehicle Title Search

The Ohio DMV, officially called the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, allows vehicle owners to look up available plates for different types of vehicle types. You can select your desired logo and type your preferred license plate number. To find out details about Ohio-issued titles, you can do a Vehicle Title Search by VIN or title number. This is also available for water craft.

Rhode Island Vehicle Title Inquiry

The Rhode Island DMV hosts an app at its website which allows subscribers to access title records currently on file. You will need either the complete VIN number of the titled vehicle or license plate number and type plus Subscriber login details.

South Dakota plate check

South Dakota DMV offers a free license plate lookup that can be accessed online. The tool determines if a plate number configuration is available in the state or not.In general, vehicles with four wheels or more may have up to 7 digits on their plates, while six digits are the maximum limit for motorcycles. The state DMV does not allow special characters to be displayed on South Dakota license plates.

Utah personalized plate request

On the Motor Vehicle Portal of the Utah DMV, some services are available to access Vehicle and Plate Information. To file a request for a personalized plate online, you need to provide the license plate number and the last name of the vehicle owner.

Virginia Plate Purchase/Reserve

The Virginia DMV website accepts orders for personalized title plates for owners who have properly titled and registered the vehicle in their names. They can browse a selection of special license plates under different categories. The tool allows them to try as many combinations as they like on a plate and check if it is available

Washington free license plate lookup

The license plate check service can be found on the Washington State Department of Licensing official website. Regular vehicles may have up to 7-digit plates, while motorcycles are limited to six characters. The vehicle license number should be in line with the standard plate format. An invalid format or offensive combination may be rejected by the agency.

West Virginia plate search

If you are planning to order a personalized plate in West Virginia, use the state DMV’s free plate search to check for available combinations of a corresponding plate type. Regular vehicles can take up to 8 characters, while motorcycles are restricted to 6 digits all in all. Special characters and numbers ranging between 1 and 2000 are not allowed.

Wisconsin license plate search

The service is offered by Wisconsin Department of Transportation, specifically for web surfers who want to check the vehicles registered in the state using the internet.The free license plate lookup can reveal the registration expiration date, vehicle year, vehicle make, and renewal reference number. Motor vehicles that were not registered or titled in Wisconsin will not appear.

Where Do DMV VIN Check & License Plate Lookup Tools Get Vehicle Data?

DMVs have their own repository of vehicle data collated from vehicle registration and title records. However, some of these DMVs may not have data from other states. On the other hand, taps a vast network of government agencies (including DMVs) and auto industry sources to provide a comprehensive vehicle history report. By making this database searchable using the license plate number as well as the VIN, we provide better access to as much information as we can possibly provide. You can supplement or compare your search results from the DMV license plate lookup with the findings of’s free license plate lookup to check for discrepancies and other red flags regarding used cars.