You’re right to worry a little if you see plate changes shown on your vehicle history report. It could be for a legitimate reason like personalised plates or something more nefarious. Here’s more info about the warning from the DVLA, and what it all means:
- Pass - Assuming everything else checks out ok, you should proceed with the purchase. There’s no record of any plate changes on this vehicle. A passing result looks like this.
- Warning - If you see a warning, this means the plate has been changed and you need to do some extra due diligence. It could be the result of a vanity change or a legitimate attempt to hide the vehicle’s identity. The result will show you when and what the plate was changed to like this.
What Happens If You Buy a Plate Changed Car?
It all depends on why the plate was changed. If the previous owner just got a personalised number plate, that’s totally fine. But it could be an attempt to mask the identity of the vehicle. You’ll need to perform some extra checks. Before you commit to the purchase, ensure that the:
- VIN matches
- engine number matches
- V5C log book date matches
That will tell you if this new plate is the correct one for that vehicle. If anything doesn’t add up, walk away. Car cloning is a real issue and you don’t want to become a victim. According to RAC, “Car cloning is an illegal practice whereby criminals steal the identity of a legally registered vehicle and use it to hide the identity of a stolen or salvaged vehicle, which is often similar in model and appearance.” So, walk away if anything seems fishy. It’s better to be safe than sorry later.
Should you buy a plate changed car?
It all depends on if the logbook, VIN and engine number match the plate on the vehicle. There’s nothing wrong with owners getting vanity plates, so that shouldn’t worry you. But you do need to be on the lookout for car cloning scams. By doing a few extra steps of due diligence, you can protect yourself from buying a stolen or written off car that’s had its identity forged.