How To Check If A Used Car Is Stolen?

The increasing crime rates and inflation put us all in a tough spot. What to do if the only option for buying a car is to buy a used car? Go for it, but also be careful when making a choice. The crime rates mean that some vehicles for sale may be stolen cars.

Key Takeaways

  • Ask your dealer or seller for the car’s title.
  • Check the car history report.
  • Crosscheck the Vehicle Identification Number on the NICB website.
  • Ask as many questions as you need until you are fully satisfied with the answers.

How Can You Check If A Used Car Is Stolen?

Read further to learn more about how to steer clear of a scam.

Why Is There A Need To Inquire If The Car Is Stolen?

Thefts have gotten very common with the increase in inflation and unemployment in the country. Car thefts have especially increased because they provide people with higher value. Who gives this higher value? People who buy used cars.

Inquiring if a car is stolen is necessary to ensure that the person is not attempting to purchase or sell a stolen vehicle. Knowing if a car is stolen can help protect the safety of both the buyer and the seller by ensuring that no criminal activity is involved in the transaction.

Being cautious is important. We will discuss everything that needs to be done before purchasing a used car to ensure the car is not stolen.

Ask For The Title

Asking for the car title is important before buying it because it serves as proof of ownership. The title contains important information about the car, such as the vehicle identification number (VIN), make and model, year, and odometer reading.

The title also indicates whether the vehicle has been in any accidents or had any major repairs. Additionally, the title is needed to transfer the car’s ownership to the new owner.

Check The Condition Of The VIN

The best way to check the condition of a VIN sticker is to inspect it closely for any signs of wear and tear, such as fading, discoloration, or tampering. If the sticker is intact, it should also be readable and contain all the necessary information, such as the vehicle manufacturer, model, year, and body type.

It is also important to check for any signs of tampering, such as scratches or abrasions, as this could signify that the sticker has been replaced.

Run The VIN Check

First, go here to run a free VIN check. Enter the VIN of the vehicle in the search box, then click “Go.”

The search will then return a report containing the vehicle’s make and model, year, engine type, and any reported accidents or thefts.

Ask Your Insurance Provider

Insurance providers can be of great help in inquiries. Contact your insurance provider and inquire about their policy on checking the history of a car you are considering buying. Ask them if they offer a specific service to check whether a vehicle is stolen.

If they do, find out what information you need to provide to utilize their services. Ask for details about the process, such as how long it will take and the cost. If the insurance provider does not offer this service, ask them for recommendations from companies that do.

The company that offers the service will then check the records of the vehicle to determine if it is stolen.

Inquire Thoroughly

When linking up with the buyer, you should ensure that you are prepared. To be confident in the dealing, you should know what you exactly want. Be prepared to ask questions and dig in as deep as you can.

Below is a list of questions that will help you decipher if the car you are potentially buying is stolen.

  • What is the vehicle’s history?
  • What type of mechanical maintenance has been done on the car?
  • Is the vehicle covered by a warranty or service contract?
  • How many miles are on the car?
  • Does the vehicle have any outstanding recalls?
  • Are there any known mechanical problems?
  • What is the estimated fuel efficiency?
  • What are safety features included?
  • Are there any additional fees or taxes associated with the purchase?
  • What payment options are available?

Get A Hold Of The Maintenance History

You can check the last owner’s or dealership’s service records to get a car’s maintenance history. If the car is new, the dealership should have forms of any factory maintenance that was done. You can also check the vehicle history report, detailing any maintenance or repair work done on the car.

Car History Report

A car history report can be very important when buying or selling a car. The report can tell you whether the vehicle has been in an accident, has been in the hands of a mechanic, is stolen, or has any other issues.

The report can also tell the car’s history, including the make, model, and year. This information can help you make an informed decision when buying or selling a vehicle.

Get The Car Checked By A Mechanic

When asking a mechanic to check a car before you buy it, make sure to be specific about what you want them to look into primarily. Provide them with the make and model of the car, and let them know what areas you’d like them to inspect, such as the engine, brakes, transmission, suspension, and any other car components that concern you.

Additionally, let the mechanic know what type of service you’d like them to perform, such as a diagnostic test or a full inspection. Finally, make sure to ask the mechanic for an estimate of the cost and timeframe for the service.

Other Signs To Be Wary Of

Despite all the necessary measures, we have made a list of early signs in cars that can help you to make an informed decision.

  • The VIN number does not match the vehicle.
  • Unusual vehicle modifications.
  • The vehicle has no documents.
  • Unusual odometer reading.
  • The car has damage not reported in the records.
  • The vehicle was recently painted.
  • The vehicle has no keys.
  • The car is registered in another state.
  • The car is registered to a different owner.
  • The vehicle is missing parts.


Do not let the fact that some cars are stolen discourage you from buying used cars. They are an excellent financial decision to make, and we highly recommend them. Be sure to consider all the advice offered in this article when negotiating and dealing with the seller.

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