License Plate Search: How to Run One for Free

Did you happen to catch the plate number of that guy who just hit your mailbox? Is there a suspicious vehicle driving around your neighborhood at night? Maybe you just want to know what information others can gain about you by running your plates. 

In this guide, we’ll talk all about license plate searches, how to run a license plate search, and what you can learn about others from their license plates.

Can You Search for a License Plate Number? 

Let’s get straight to the point, to the information you want to know: Can you search for a license plate number and find the owner of a vehicle? 

The answer to your question is: sort of. You can absolutely run a tag through a database to find out information. You may be disappointed, however, in the limited scope of that information. 

When you run a license plate search, you’ll generally be rewarded with options to pay for a vehicle history report. This is excellent if you’re considering purchasing the car. If you’re looking for ownership information, however, you’re in for a disappointment. 

When you search for a license plate, it’s similar to running a history report on a vehicle identification number. You’ll receive information about the title status, accident records, maintenance reports, and other auto-related facts. You will not learn who the owner of the vehicle is or any other information about a person. 

Can You Google Someone’s License Plate?

The only way you’ll receive information about someone by Googling their license plate number is if the tag number is mentioned on the web somewhere. You cannot receive names, addresses, or any other personal information simply by entering a license plate into Google. 

In fact, the search results that are returned to you will likely be gibberish. For instance, the license plate you search may be a part of an SKU for cotton candy or floor cleaner. The government is pretty serious about keeping your information secure when it comes to your license plate and registration. 

How to Search for a License Plate

If you’re trying to find out more information about a vehicle, you can certainly search the license plate numbers. Reputable companies like CarFax and AutoCheck will allow you to enter the tag number in lieu of a VIN to receive a detailed report. 

If you’re searching a plate with more nefarious purposes in mind, it’s best to get in touch with law enforcement. Police can trace a vehicle by its tags. So, if you’ve noticed a suspicious vehicle or witnessed a crime, make note of the license plate number, and call 911. 

Can You Use a License Plate Lookup for Free?

In some cases, you can gain information about the history of a vehicle for free, simply by running the numbers across a database. Unless you pay for a report, however, the information you receive will be quite limited. 

There do exist sites on the internet that are user-populated and contain some fun information. These sites allow users to “report” bad drivers, people who never learned to park, and other sinners. Should you come across a site like this in your searches, we’d recommend you check them out, just for fun. 

Why Would You Want to Search for a License Plate?

There are dozens of reasons one would consider searching a license plate. Here are just a few examples; maybe one of them applies to you!

  • There is a strange car parked in your driveway when you come home early from work. 
  • You were involved in a hit and run accident (you caught the plate number but not the driver). 
  • A van has been camped outside your children’s school during the day. 
  • You were cut off in traffic and want to know who committed such an attack on your ego. 
  • You’re considering buying a car and want to know more about its value and vehicle history.
  • To check whether a personalized plate is available for you to purchase.

As you can see, the desire to search for a license plate is rooted in quite a few motivations. We encourage you to ensure that yours are sound; otherwise, it’s best to contact the police for assistance. 

Can You Search for Tickets with a License Plate Number?

No, you cannot determine whether someone has outstanding or past tickets just by searching their license plate number. Again, the information gained will be strictly related to the vehicle, not its owner. 

However, you may be tickled to know that, in most states, court date information is public record. You can find out whether a person has a traffic, criminal, or other charge pending just by searching their name. 

For instance, you want to know whether Heather Smith of New York has anything coming up in court. You would visit the judicial branch of New York, search by last name first, and instantly learn what Heather’s been up to. 

You wanted to know all about license plate searches, so we gave you the information you needed. In short, you can learn very little by searching a license plate online. When you run a license plate number online, you’ll be rewarded with vehicle history information. Unfortunately, that’s about as exciting as it’s going to get.