How Can I Find the Owner of a Car by a VIN?

Wondering how to find the registered owner of a car by its VIN number? We'll show you how, plus provide some tips on what to do if you can't find the owner.

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In today’s technological age, there are plenty of ways to find out the things that matter to you the most. For example, if you are trying to find the owner of a car, you have several options available to you. So how do you find the owner of a car by a VIN?

You may not be able to get the contact information because of privacy laws, but there are plenty of ways to get information through the VIN. You can use online databases, call the police if a crime has occurred, call the insurance company, contact the DMV or put an ad online. 

In this guide, we talk about the reasons why you would want to find an owner. We will also show you how to use these methods. 

Why Do You Need to Find the Owner of a Vehicle?

There are plenty of shady reasons why you would want to find the owner of a vehicle, but we are going to assume that you aren’t a criminal. Still, protection laws ensure that owner information isn’t given out, so it’s nearly impossible to find out the owner’s name and contact info. 

With the VIN, there are plenty of other aspects that can be discovered. You may want to decode the VIN for these legitimate purposes:

  1. There’s a strange car parking near your home.
  2. An accident occurred and the driver fled the scene.
  3. You are buying a car and want to confirm it’s not stolen nor has a salvage title.
  4. You are concerned about odometer discrepancies.
  5. There’s a car that interests you and you want to see about buying it, but you don’t know who the owner is to contact.

If you can get the license plate number and VIN from the car, you might be able to solve some of these situations.

Ways to Find the Owner of a Car by a VIN

1. Online Databases

You can search online through various sites to find information based on the VIN. Some of the platforms are free to use but might not offer as much information.

If you want to get a full history of the vehicle, including its service record, we recommend choosing a paid-for option, such as CARFAX. With these reports, you get a list of all the times it was registered, any accidents that occurred and its recorded service history. You’ll also know if it was involved in a flood or has a salvage title. This is a great option to consider before you buy a used car. 

Before you pay for anything, verify that you will get the information you need. Otherwise, you will spend your money and be in the same boat. 

RELATED: The Best Vehicle History Report – CarFax vs AutoCheck

2. Call the Police

If there’s been an accident or you are worried about a suspicious vehicle, it’s best to reach out to the authorities. While they might not be able to provide you with all of the information, the end result will be what it needs to be.

Whatever you do, don’t try to hunt down the owner of the vehicle on your own. The situation could become dangerous and it’s not worth what might happen. With the VIN, it’s also helpful to have the license plate number, as well as any identifying information about the vehicle.

3. Call the Insurance Company

If you are reporting an accident, there’s a step you must take after calling the police. Your insurance company needs to be the next phone call you make.

If you plan on making any claim, this call is a necessity. It’s not something you want to try and do after the fact. Your phone call to the insurance company should include all the info on the other vehicle and should also include the police report number if you have it.

You don’t have to follow through on the claim if you change your mind. That’s why it’s important to make this call either way. 

RELATED: How to Find a Car You Previously Owned (With or Without VIN)

4. Contact DMV

Your state DMV office might be able to provide a small amount of information, depending on what it is for. However, you must keep in mind that there are strict privacy laws that make it impossible for the agency to give you contact information.

Still, having a license plate number and VIN can open up a few doors for you. If the situation is dire, you might be able to get a lawyer involved who has the means to get more data than the average person. 

5. Place an Online Ad

If you are running out of options and you really want to find the owner, you can take to online platforms for help. Social media can prove to be invaluable, especially if you have pictures of the car you are trying to find. 

Post the pictures and describe why you need to find the owner. If you are looking to buy a car, maybe the owner will get in contact with you. If it’s a classic car, you could also talk on neighborhood forums to see how to find the owner. 

Either way, it’s important to supply as much information as possible. You can post the license plate number, describing features and list where you’ve seen the car. Once the person gets in contact with you, remember to use caution while meeting. You have no way of knowing if the person is legitimate or just trying to take advantage of your inquiry. 

Best Ways to Find the VIN

If you need to find the VIN from a vehicle, there are several places you can look.

  • On the dashboard, near the windshield
  • On the driver’s side door jamb
  • Imprinted on the engine block
  • Listed on important documentation, such as the car title, registration and insurance card

Don’t ever break laws trying to get someone’s VIN. If the car is on private property, it’s best to just take down the information you can, such as the license plate.

READ MORE: Where Can You Find the VIN on Your Car?