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In Tennessee, affairs concerning motor vehicles are handled by the Tennessee Department of Revenue rather than a DMV. This department is responsible for keeping up-to-date records of all motor vehicles across the state as well as informing the public about any changes to the state policies regarding motor vehicles. The Department of Revenue office is also responsible for the record keeping and issue of vehicle license plates.

Types of License Plates

Most vehicles in Tennessee will be issued standardized plates. However, a number of specialty plates are available. These plates range from customized plates available for everyone to specific plates available to people who meet a particular set of circumstances.

The following custom license plates are available through the Tennessee DOR office:

  • Antique auto plates
  • Plates for clubs and organizations
  • Collegiate plates
  • Plates for emergency and safety personnel
  • Environmental and conservation plates
  • Plates for children
  • Customized fraternity and sorority plates
  • Hospital plates
  • Military plates
  • Sports plates
  • Tennessee Arts Commission plates
  • Wildlife plates

Within these categories, more than one hundred variations of the license plate are available to residents. You’ll receive a license plate from your county clerk’s office.

How to Find the Registered Owner of a Vehicle With a Reverse License Plate Lookup

You may find yourself needing to perform a license plate owner lookup. Maybe it’s for sale, and you need the owner’s contact information. Maybe the vehicle was involved in an accident.

Should you have the license plate of a car involved in a hit-and-run, you should contact the local authorities.

Because the state of Tennessee tends to keep records private, your best hope for a license plate search is a public database. Online public databases are run by outside third parties rather than the government. They compile public records in an easily searchable format.

Since public databases are maintained by third parties, the information stored on them may not be complete or up-to-date. This is why it’s a good idea to use a free database for your preliminary check before accessing any databases that have required fees. This website allows you to perform a Tennessee license plate lookup completely free of charge.

If the license plate search yields an owner name without contact information, sometimes a second search for the vehicle owner’s name will give you access to contact information like a phone number or email address.

You can also obtain a vehicle history report through a license plate search. Using a vehicle history report is highly recommended when buying a used car, so you can verify that the seller’s information is accurate.