Best Free Sites to Check The Car Owner by License Plate Number in Australia
Best Free Sites to Check The Car Owner by License Plate Number in Australia
Table of Content - Check The Car Owner by License Plate Number in Australia

What is a license plate number?

All countries require registration plates for road vehicles such as cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

Australian vehicle registration plates or number plates are issued by state, territory, and Commonwealth governments, and the armed forces of Australia. The plates are associated with a vehicle and are generally intended to last for the time the vehicle remains registered in the state, though as they become unreadable (or for other reasons) they may be remade with like for like replacement. Motor vehicle registration in Australia are either renewed quarterly, half yearly or annually.

If you're looking for a way to check owner of a car by license plate number in Australia, read the information below.

What information can a license plate number give?

Photo: Forbes
Photo: Forbes

So what information can you get from a private investigator or similar service?

Vehicle description. In most cases, you’ll be able to get a description of the vehicle the license is attached to, including whether the license matches what’s on record.

Current owner name. Depending on your state, you may also be able to find the name of the current owner. The accuracy of this information will depend on your source.

Current owner address. If you can find the name of the current owner, you can likely also find the address of the current owner.

Other information. When law enforcement officers these show plates, they may also be able to tell things like whether the vehicle has been reported stolen, and whether the car it’s attached to has valid, up-to-date insurance.

Check Owner of a Car by License Plate Number in Australia: Illegal or Not?

According to the DMV, it is illegal for an ordinary citizen to run a license plate check on another individual. If you walk into a DMV and request information on a person based on their license plate number, you won’t get any information. Only a law enforcement officer or other qualified individual may legally run license plate checks.

That said, states have different regulations and different availabilities for their license plate information. Some states are more lenient with their records, enabling private investigators to find key pieces of information about the vehicle and its driver. Others are more tight-lipped, only releasing old records that aren’t much use to anyone in the current year.

So you want to know how to find the owner of a car in Australia?

It turns out that, unless you’re some kind of private investigator or computer hacker, you’re going to have to ask the police for help, because they are the only ones who can just punch a registration number into a computer and come up with a name and address.

You cannot legally find out the registered owner’s details in Australia just by using a registration number, for example.

In fact, thanks to the modern cameras in police cars, they are constantly collecting and checking that information - instantly spotting stolen cars for example - as they drive past you in traffic. Clever.

If you do find a third-party site that says it can obtain the details of someone by entering their registration details, be aware that this is not legal and probably not legitimate.

Typical Online License Plate Lookups

The typical online provider of license plate searches are gimmicks meant to take advantage of people who are eager to learn the identity of a vehicle owner for personal reasons. Many times, these sites scrape together information from old records, providing you with a description of the vehicle and, if you’re lucky, the name of a previous owner. Free license plate lookup services are especially notorious; you get what you pay for, and many times, free lookups are a way for companies to get your personal information.

Private Investigators and Special Teams

You may be able to get more accurate, complete information by working with private investigators and other special teams. Individuals in these categories use a combination of resources and databases to put together a comprehensive report, making them a much more reliable way to run a license plate lookup. By paying for this level of service, you’ll get a much more professional experience.

Can I check who owns a car?

Modern cameras in police cars are constantly collecting and checking number plates.

When you start to think about the reasons that people might want to find out who owns a car or be able to find the address and name of someone who owns a car, it quickly becomes clear why this might be a bad idea.

Say someone has cut you off in traffic or engaged in some form of road rage with you. Naturally this will make some people very angry and others hell bent on revenge. If it was easy to find out online where someone lived, by finding out the home address their car is registered at, we might have some serious problems on our hands.

If you see someone in a car behaving badly or causing an accident or, god forbid, taking part in a hit-and-run situation, you would, of course, write down their number plate and pass it on to the police, who do have instant access to that information and would act on that with the full force of the law.

Can You Find Vehicle Owner by VIN Number in Australia?

The car's vehicle identification number (VIN) is the identifying code for a SPECIFIC automobile. The VIN serves as the car's fingerprint, as no two vehicles in operation have the same VIN. A VIN is composed of 17 characters (digits and capital letters) that act as a unique identifier for the vehicle. A VIN displays the car's unique features, specifications and manufacturer. The VIN can be used to track recalls, registrations, warranty claims, thefts and insurance coverage.

The VIN can be found by looking at the dashboard on the driver's side of the vehicle. The easiest way to view it is to stand outside the vehicle on the driver's side and look at the corner of the dashboard where it meets the windshield. If the VIN cannot be found there, open the driver's side door and look at the door post (where the door latches when it is closed). It is likely that the VIN will also be displayed in this location.

The VIN is a unique 17 character serial number used to identify a motor vehicle.

If a motor vehicle has a VIN, then a registration or a search for that motor vehicle on the PPSR should be made against that VIN.


Age of Vehicle: In most cases the serial number of a vehicle built after 1989 will be the vehicle identification number (VIN). This is not the number plate (registration/rego) number.

Structure of VIN: A VIN can only be made up of the following characters: 0-9, A-Z (uppercase) excluding letters I, O and Q,

Normalisation of input: When searching by VIN, if you enter the letters i/I, O or Q the system will normalise or correct these letters when searching on the PPSR for a security interest and for the retrieval of third party NEVDIS data.

Location of VIN: The VIN generally can be located on the body of the vehicle, under the bonnet, at the bottom of the windscreen on the passenger side, or along the drivers side door closure area.

What Can I Learn From A Vehicle License Plate Search?

You can learn a wealth of information that has been recorded about the vehicle the license plate has been assigned to. This can include:

  • Any title branding
  • If it has been in any major accidents
  • If it has been reported stolen
  • Who the current owner of the vehicle is
  • If it has any vehicle registration issues
  • If it is on the road legally
  • If it has passed the most recent vehicle inspection
  • Other information publicly available

What are the best free sites check a car owner by license plate number in Australia?

1. Service NSW

Photo: Screenshot
Photo: Screenshot

In NSW, you’ll want to visit NSW Service where you can conduct a free registration check that includes the registration expiry date, whether the registration is suspended or cancelled, any registration restrictions, any registration concessions (additional charges that might apply when transferred to a new owner) and the Compulsory Third Party insurer and policy expiry date.


You can check a vehicle's registration details online. A free registration check includes:

  • the registration expiry date
  • whether the registration is suspended or cancelled
  • any registration restrictions
  • any registration concessions (additional charges that might apply when transferred to a new owner)
  • the Compulsory Third Party insurer and policy expiry date.


The free registration check can only be run on vehicles previously or currently registered in NSW.

What you need

The vehicle's NSW registration plate number.

How to check

1.Select the 'Check online' button.

2.Enter the vehicle's NSW plate number, without spaces or dots.

3.Read and accept the Terms and Conditions.

4.Select the 'Next' button.

5.Review the registration report.

6.Print the report by selecting the 'Print' button.

More information

  • For a fee you can get additional information such as if the vehicle has been written off, or if the vehicle, its number plate or engine are reported as stolen.
  • If you intend buying a vehicle from a private seller, you should visit the Personal Property Securities Register website to find out if there is any finance owing.
  • If you need information for legal proceedings you can request a certified copy from:

    Transport for NSW Certificates Unit

    Locked Bag 14

    Grafton NSW 2460.

Service NSW and Transport for NSW are aware of a Third Party website offering vehicle registration checks. This site charges a fee for the registration check. Customers should note that Transport for NSW and Service NSW do not have any connection with other websites or services.

2. AutoCheck

Photo: Screenshot
Photo: Screenshot

Check Your Vehicle For

  • Hail or Flood Damage
  • Written Off Information
  • Stolen Status
  • Financial Encumbrance
  • Odometer Reading Comparison
  • Registration Status
  • ANCAP Rating

An Instant PPSR (REVS / VSR / VCheck / WOVR) Check will:-

  • Confirm vehicle description information (make, model, colour, body shape, year of manufacture, rego number)
  • Confirm vehicle encumbrance status (if money is owing)
  • Confirm vehicle write-off status (has the vehicle been written off or reported as damaged)
  • Confirm vehicle stolen status (has the vehicle been reported as stolen Australia-wide)
  • Get an instant Australia-wide Vehicle Check from AutoCheck for peace of mind before you buy a Used Car, Truck, Caravan, Campervan, Trailer, Bus, Motor Cycle, Boat, or a Jetski.

One single PPSR Certificate offers a purchaser of a second-hand vehicle, a quick and easy way to obtain important vehicle information prior to purchase. The release of this information to the general public and the motor vehicle industry allows the consumer to take a proactive role in the deterrence of vehicle theft and fraud and make a more informed decision about your purchase.

The PPSR Certificate enables the purchaser to verify if the vehicle they are purchasing has a stolen status recorded against it. The PPSR Certificate will also display if there is a repairable or statutory write off recorded.

The PPSR Certificate may also detail the type of damage sustained (eg. Fire, water damage), plus the date and state where the vehicle was written off.

By purchasing a clear PPSR Certificate (formerly known as a Security Interest Certificate, Vehicle Security Register Certificate, VSR or Clear Title Certificates) on the day you are purchasing a Used Car, Truck, Caravan, Campervan, Trailer, Bus, Motor Cycle, Boat, or a Jetski you are protected against repossession.

3. Vic

Photo: Screenshot
Photo: Screenshot

If you’re checking on a car with Victorian registration you’ll need to visit vic roads.

The VicRoads Registration Check is a free service that can be used to confirm a vehicle's details and registration status.

The Registration check is a free service that can be used to confirm a vehicle's details* and registration status.

This check is for cars, motorcycles, trucks, trailers and caravans recorded on the Victorian Vehicles Register. It's not a national check. You'll be provided with the following vehicle information:

  • VIN/chassis number, engine number, make, colour, body type, year of manufacture
  • registration status (current, expired, suspended or cancelled).

Personal Property Securities Register service

The Personal Properties Security Register (PPSR) service is a national register for recording security interests in personal property, including vehicles.

You can use this service to check:

if there are any security interests on the vehicle (for example an outstanding debt)

vehicle details (such as make and model)

registration status

stolen status and

written off status.

4. PPSR service

Photo: Screenshot
Photo: Screenshot

The PPSR is the official government register of security interests in personal property – these are debts or other obligations that are secured by personal property. It’s an online noticeboard accessible by the general public 24/7. The PPSR started on 30 January 2012 and replaced many state based registers, such as REVS and other vehicle registers and the ASIC Register of Company Charges, to form one national register.

When someone registers a security interest on the PPSR, they are letting the world at large know that they claim to have a security interest over certain personal property. Personal property includes things like cars, company assets, boats, used goods and intellectual property; it doesn't include land or fixtures.

How does the PPSR work?

The PPSR was created as a result of law that came into operation on 30 January 2012. This law is called the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (PPS Act).

The PPS Act, (and any other rules, regulations or laws made under it), contains rules about how the PPSR works; essentially to allow registration and search of security interests. It includes things like how registrations are made on the PPSR, what powers the Registrar has to make decisions about the PPSR and how to search the PPSR.

The PPSR is available online to register and search 24/7.

The only exceptions to this are:

1.during routine maintenance which takes place between 9pm and 11:59pm (EST) every Wednesday

2.where there is an unscheduled outage (such as a technical issue) and

3.where there is a scheduled outage (such as enhancements).

Why do you need to look up a license plate number?

Let’s take a look at a few examples of why someone might look up a license plate. Generally, this is done to find the owner of a vehicle (including their address), or to discover more about the history of the vehicle. These are common scenarios:

Hit and run accidents (and suspected fraud). If you suspect the owner or driver of a vehicle has been involved in a crime, you may want to track them down. For example, if you were the victim of a hit and run accident, and you wrote down the license plate number of the car that hit you, you may want to track down the owner and take legal action.

Used car research. You may also be tempted to look up a license plate to learn more about a vehicle’s history. For example, if you’re considering purchasing a used vehicle, you may want to know about who owned it last, how long they owned it, or other information.

Personal motivations. In some cases, people want to look up license plates for more personal, sometimes nefarious reasons. For example, you might have flirted with someone at a red light and be interested in tracking them down, or you might be annoyed with someone who keeps taking your parking space.

However, as you’ll soon learn, not all these motivations are treated equally.

5. InfoTrackGo

Photo: Screenshot
Photo: Screenshot

InfotrackGo is an authorised broker for government bodies and councils such as ASIC and AFSA. You can simply type what you want to know into our smart search bar to access all available information about a property, company or person. Within seconds.

How it works

  • Search

Easily search from millions of properties across Australia

  • Find

Select the property title or other available documents for any number of properties

  • Receive

Receive the selected reports directly to your email inbox within 24 hours.

How to apply for My Police Check

  • Complete the Online Application Form

You will need to fill in details such as all names you have been known by, 10 years of residential address history, date and place of birth and contact details.

  • Upload ID

You will need access to a mobile device with a camera to upload 100 points of Identification Documents.

  • Pay

Payment can be made by credit card or PayPal.

  • Receive your National Police Certificate

Processing time for an AFP National Police Check issued by the Australian Federal Police is approximately 15 business days.

6. Vehicle History

Photo: Screenshot
Photo: Screenshot

A vehicle license plate search is similar to a VIN check. You type in the license plate number of a given vehicle, and we provide you with information about it.

Is It Legal For Me To Do A License Plate Check With Vehicle History?

Yes it is. Various laws including the Freedom of Information Act give people the right to access data collected by the government. This is because the people and equipment used to collect and record the data are paid for with your taxes. Since you paid for the data to be created, the government feels that you own it and should be able to access it.

Beyond that, the government has an interest in cutting down on used car fraud and auto theft. For that reason, they want you to be able to access this information.

Vehicle History is not the only license plate check provider. However, most of the other companies out there will charge you money to check out a license plate. Our service is free, yet still delivers a high level of value. We think that makes us the right choice when you want to perform a license plate check.”

“Vehicle History strives to be the most trusted and comprehensive used vehicle research site on the internet. We research hundreds of models each year to help you gain confidence about one of your largest purchase decisions. Vehicle History was founded in 2015 and is independently owned. This means we will never recommend a vehicle which we do not truly believe is great, and we will never embellish or prioritize more favorable information about a car to make it seem better than it is.”


People do license plate searches for a variety of different reasons. For the most part, it's used when someone is thinking about buying a car and wants to get the vehicle history before they make a decision. They know that sellers won't always tell them about problems with the vehicle. This is a good route to go, if for some reason you don't have access to the VIN number.

It can also be used if you see someone give your car a minor ding in a parking lot and want to contact them without involving the police. Other people want to make sure that a car that belongs to someone their children may be riding with is a safe car.

You cannot legally find out the registered owner’s details in Australia just by using a registration number, and it is better for you to come to the police or the authorities for help, who have instant access to that information and would act on that with the full force of the law.

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