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2/3 cars we check have a hidden past

2/3 cars we check have a hidden past

1/5 cars written off

1/5 cars written off

1/8 cars have outstanding finance

1/10 cars have outstanding finance

What "Plate Changes" mean on a One Check report

If you've ever bought a used car or are familiar with car auctions, you've likely heard the term "plate changes" thrown around. Essentially, a plate change refers to a change in the registration plate (or licence plate) that is affixed to a car. But what exactly do plate changes mean, and why are they important?

What does a Plate Change mean on a One Check report?

Using data from the DVLA, our One Check matches up the registration details with the car's specifications to ensure the car you want to buy is authentic which will be reported as either a Pass or a Warning.

  • Pass - This means there is no record of any plate changes on the vehicle and, assuming everything else checks out okay, can proceed safely with the purchase.
  • Warning - This means the plate has been changed at some point and requires further investigation. Although a plate change may simply be the result of a car owner wanting a new plate or needing to replace a damaged one, there are situations where a plate change can indicate something more significant about a car’s history.

What happens if you buy a car with a Plate Change?

If you buy a car with a plate change, it’s important to ensure that the new licence plates are properly registered to the car and that all the necessary paperwork is up to date. In most cases, the seller should provide you with the updated registration paperwork and documentation to show that the new plates are properly registered to the vehicle but if they do not, ensure that the:

  • V5C logbook date matches (which shows the current registration number and the previous one if there was a plate change)
  • VIN matches
  • engine number matches

If there are any red flags or concerns, it may be wise to walk away. With an estimated 90,000 cloned vehicles on our roads, you could very easily become victim of Car Cloning, which is one of the most common reasons for a plate change.

For more information on Car Cloning read here.

Should you buy a car with a Plate Change?

Whether or not you should buy a car with a plate change depends on if the logbook, VIN and engine number match the plate on the vehicle. It’s important to do your research on the specific car you’re interested in, including it’s age, mileage, and any other relevant factors to make an informed decision. 

But you do need to be on the lookout for car cloning scams. Through 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.

In conclusion, plate changes can be an important indicator of a car’s history and should be taken into account when buying or selling a used car. While not all plate changes are significant, it’s important to be aware of the potential for plate changes to be used to disguise a car’s history. Through doing your research and being aware of the potential pitfalls, you can make an informed decision when buying a used car.

Make sure the vehicle you’re buying is in the green with a Green Flag One Check.

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