Are you in the market for a used car? Since you’re getting a pre-owned vehicle, you should do plenty of research on the car you plan to purchase. For example, you should check for recent recalls that could make it dangerous to drive. Fortunately, all you need is a license plate number or VIN to perform an Alabama license plate lookup and get all the information you need.
How to Lookup an Alabama License Plate
There are a few ways you can lookup an Alabama license plate. One of the easiest ways includes visiting the Alabama Department of Revenue (DOR) and inquiring information, which means you’ll have to do plenty of waiting and paperwork. However, alternatively, you can simply search the Alabama DOR online, which is much less time-consuming.
The Alabama DOR issues license plates to every registered vehicle owner in Alabama. The license plate should be present on the back of vehicles, and exists as an alpha-numeric serial number, along with the registration year and state name. However, vehicle owners in Alabama can also request specialty plates, apart from regular plates that are directly issued by the Department of Revenue.
It’s important to note that every Alabama vehicle owner has to apply for a license plate within 20 days or purchasing their vehicle. However, you can request your license plate to arrive either online or through the mail. Similar to requesting a license plate, you can perform a reverse license plate lookup in the same matter, either online, in-person, or through the mail.
Generally speaking, the easiest way to search for an Alabama License Plate is to search through the online public database for the vehicle or license plate information you request. However, private companies that charge fees make these databases available, rather than your state or federal government.
You can also request vehicle or license plate information online, over the phone, in-person, or through the mail. If you’d like the requested information mailed to you, you will have to email your request to the Alabama Department of Public Safety, PO Box 1511, Montgomery, AL 36102.
To request information over the phone, call 334024204371. However, if you plan to make an online request for license plate information, you can visit the Alabama Department of Public Safety’s website. There, you can perform a license plate lookup via their public databases for a small fee. You will also need the following information: first and last name of the vehicle owner, the address of vehicle owner, registration information of the vehicle, and VIN number of the vehicle.
What You Can Find With a License Plate Search
1. Trade-in and Sales History
You shouldn’t purchase a car with an extended trade-in and/or sales history. You can find out who the owner of a vehicle is and who owned it in the past. The last thing you want to do is buy a faulty car and add to the number of owners it had. Fortunately, a comprehensive vehicle report will tell you how many owners the vehicle had, general information on the current and past owners, and when the vehicle was last sold.
2. Repair and Recall Problems
Repair and recall problems can affect the car you’re buying, especially if you don’t know what kind of car you’re buying, you could end up registering a lemon. Although car dealers can’t sell cars with open repair or recall issues, used car buyers don’t have the same luxury. However, you can check out a car’s repair or recall history by ordering a free vehicle history report.
3. Service Records
When you put the work into buying a car, you’ll want one that has had routine maintenance done to keep the vehicle running healthy. Unfortunately, scarce service checks could mean that the vehicle has a number of problems with it. You can do a reverse license plate lookup and order a service records report for the car you’re buying to make sure it’s gotten regular inspections, repairs, oil changes, etc.
4. Claims History
When you take a look at a used car, you can’t always tell whether or not it has relevant claims history. For example, if a car has been damaged internally or repaired, you won’t be able to tell just by looking at it. However, if you buy a used vehicle that has an extensive claims history, you could have coverage issues and a decreased car value if you ever try to resell it. A vehicle history report can help you identify claims that can explain whether or not the car is viable before you take it home.
5. Theft Records
VIN cloning is one of the more modern ways thieves manage to steal nearly 700,000 cars every year. They manage to clone VIN numbers to steal cars and then resell them to the public. All they have to do is steal a VIN from a similar car, use that VIN number to create a license plate for the car, and then sell it to an unknowing buyer.
However, you can protect yourself directly from VIN cloning by verifying that all the VIN numbers in the vehicle match the documentation that’s presented to you. You can also use resources, such as a vehicle history report to make sure it is, in fact, an unstolen car.
6 Value and Fuel Economy Ratings
The final thing you can check with a license plate lookup are the deals you can get with the vehicle and what fuel economy ratings it has to offer. You can use the vehicle history report through the car’s license plate to help make sure you’re getting the best vehicle for your budget and driving needs. However, you can also use the report to compare other vehicles and negotiate with dealers.
A license plate lookup can also generate a report of the car’s year, make, model, and other histories to bring you the most up-to-date value for the vehicle. Just remember, you shouldn’t sign or hand over any money to a dealer until you read a full report on the vehicle. You’ll be surprised how much information dealers try to leave out when they try to sell you a car.