California Free License Plate Lookup

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California Free License Plate Lookup

Learn to distinguish a good car from a bad one. View vehicle history for free using any California license plate number. offers free license plate lookup that will reveal past ownership, title information, liens, odometer reading and salvage records. Search license plates registered in the state of California:

Enter a California License Plate:

Likewise, California DMV has vehicle information associated with registered plates. You may contact the agency at: 1-800-777-0133 (Telephone)  / TTY 1-800-368-4327 (Hearing Impaired). Other means of contacting the agency can be found in the Contact Us page.

California License Plates & Placards

You must pay the registration fees of your non-resident vehicle within 20 days of the due date. Generally, a vehicle cannot be registered if it fails to meet California’s emission standard. However, it can be exempted upon meeting certain conditions. Moreover, California usually prohibits the entry of vehicles with less than 7,500 miles of odometer reading and have less than two years of age at the time of purchase, trade, or acquisition. Still, some low-mileage vehicles may qualify for an exception. The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles is tasked with providing license plates to California drivers. The state’s official serial format has three letters and four numerical digits. Vehicle owners in California are required to display two plates on their vehicles, one on the front and one on the rear.

A replacement/substitute plate can be requested for a damaged or lost California plate.

Types of California License Plate

There are eight (8) types of plate available for issuance in the state of California. Depending on the particular plate that you will choose, requirements may differ.

  1. Standard License Plates (Passenger, Commercial, trailer, etc.
  2. Special Interest License Plates (Arts, Kids, Tahoe, etc.)
  3. Special Interest Motorcycle License Plates (Coastal, Tahoe, etc.)
  4. Special License Plates (Exempt, Livery, Historical Vehicles, etc.)
  5. Special Recognition License Plates (Legion of Valor, Purple Heart, etc.)
  6. Occupational License Plates (Dealers, Dismantlers, etc.)
  7. Legislative License Plates (Senate, Assembly)
  8. Apportioned License Plates (Power Unit and Prorate)

Transferring of License Plates in California

Generally, you can transfer transfer a license plate from one vehicle to another. For further inquiries, read the FAQs section of How To: Change Vehicle Ownership (HTVR 32).

More Resources for California Drivers:

Buying a used car in California?  Don’t make a costly mistake. Run a Free License Plate Lookup for your California-registered vehicle!

  1. Check for accidents. Every year, approximately 6.0 million automobile accidents are reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  2. Check for title brands. Flood, hail-damage, and salvage titles are examples of critical title brands.
  3. Check for special purpose designations, including taxi-use, rental-use, or police-use.
  4. Check for thefts. Lookup a VIN to check for an active theft or previously recovered theft record.

Run a Free California License Plate Lookup to uncover the full-story of your California-registered vehicle.

Enter a California License Plate: