How to Find Out Who Owns a Car by Number Plate in Australia

Educational

Jul 08th, 2021

How to Find Out Who Owns a Car by Number Plate in Australia

At one point or another, we’ve all wished that we could find out who owns a car by keying the licence plate into some kind of a number plate checker. Although that would be fantastic, that’s not something people are allowed to do. But is there other information that you can get instead?

Civilians cannot find out who owns a car by inputting the licence plate into a number plate checker. That’s something only the police can do when they’re investigating police matters. However, you can run registration checks and car history checks using the number plate whenever you need to, such as when you’re planning on buying a used car.

In this article, we’re going to look at all the types of information you can and can’t find based on a car’s licence plate number.

Let’s get started.

Can You Find Out the Owner of a Car by Its Number Plate?

No, as a civilian, you cannot find out the owner of a car by its number plate. And, if you really think about it, you wouldn’t want anybody having access to private info just like that, would you?

If that were the case, then that would mean that anyone could do the very same with your vehicle and find out who you are and other personal details about you. Seriously, that’s violation of privacy and a potential safety issue. Think about what happens during a road rage situation. Some people blow off some steam and let it go, but others might take things too far and want ‘revenge’ just because you honked at them in traffic.

Thankfully, your privacy and that of other car owners are protected, and no civilian can find a name or an address from a number plate in Australia.

But what about situations where it’s necessary? For instance, if you witnessed a road rage incident and wanted to make a police report. In that sort of scenario, who would be able to use the plate number and track down the driver?

Well, the police certainly can.

Who Can Find the Owner of a Car by the Number Plate?

The police and other government bodies are the only people who can find a car owner based on the licence plate. The number plate checker mentioned is real, but only the police can use it.

Of course, they’re not going to share that information with you or anyone else. The reason they have it is so that they can investigate any relevant police issues that might require them to find an address from a number plate anywhere in Australia.

So, let's look again at that earlier example of a road rage situation. Again, if you provide the police with the perpetrator's plate number, they'll find the owner's name and address.

Again, regular civilians like you and me aren’t privy to that kind of information, nor do we want to. 

Remember: if you could track down other drivers that way, that would mean that other drivers could track you down as well. So, maybe it’s a good thing that you can’t do that.

What Details Can You Find from a Car by Its Licence Plate?

A plate number will not give you the owner’s name or address, but it can certainly provide you with plenty of other public information. 

For instance, if you were planning on buying a used vehicle, you could run a registration check (aka ‘rego check’) and car history check.

How can these checks help you? Well, here are a few ways:

  • Verification: Whenever anyone wants to buy a used car, they should do the work to confirm that the seller is honest with them. By using the licence plate number to run a few checks, you'll be able to verify that what the seller is telling you about the vehicle is accurate.
  • Registration: These checks also help you ascertain the registration details of the vehicle. That includes the registration status, when it expires, and much more. Also related to the first point about verification, doing this allows you to see if the registration number and VIN on the vehicle match the one connected to the plate number.
  • Financial: Another type of information you can get from using the number plate is the vehicle’s financial information. Has the car been paid off? Are there any outstanding payable amounts on it? Running these checks will help you avoid any issues in that regard.
  • Valuation: When you combine all the information gathered using the licence plate number, you'll get a more accurate vehicle valuation. In simple terms, when you look at the vehicle's age and other details, you'll have a better idea of how much it's worth.

Rego Check Vs Car History Check: What's the Difference?

There are some differences between a rego check and a car history check. 

For starters, a rego check will provide you with just the essential information like a car’s registration number, status, and expiration date. Besides that, it’ll also help you identify the vehicle by confirming its brand, model, and body type.

A car history check is much more thorough, as it includes all the above plus more. For example, you’ll be able to check if the car has been reported stolen or if it has ever been written off. On top of that, you’ll also be able to cross-reference the VIN, odometer, and much more.

Search Registration Info Online Via the State Registers

You may search for registration info of cars, trucks, motorcycles, caravans, and trailers registered in the different states and territories of Australia using the vehicle's VIN, chassis number, or number plate. You may visit the corresponding websites below:

Personal Properties Security Register (PPSR)

To run checks on a car, your first stop would be to refer to your local transport authority. But, as you might know, each state or territory sets its own rules and regulations on transportation. So, the process for getting the checks might differ slightly depending on where you are.

You may also do an Australia-wide search via the national-level system called the Personal Properties Security Register (PPSR), which you can reach here.

As the name suggests, it’s a database that records the security interests in personal property, including a person’s car. Therefore, this register will be able to provide you with plenty of information on a vehicle that you might be interested in buying, including all the items mentioned earlier (e.g., financial information, stolen/written off status, and many more).

Hope you learned something today. To find out more about license plates or any other car-related issues in Australia, feel free to visit our blog at Carpart.com.au. You’ll discover useful resources to help you understand car-related issues and many more.


By Ray Hasbollah