How to check if a number plate is available or taken

If you have searched for your perfect number plate across various number plate sites and the DVLA, and can't seem to find it anywhere, it could either have been already purchased and be being used on a vehicle, or never have been issued.
Thankfully, in recent years, the DVLA have invested in many online systems, including their MOT checker, which allows us to find out if a registration is on a vehicle.
You can enter your perfect registration into this, and if it is currently assigned to a vehicle it will tell you the make and model, as well as giving you the MOT history.
If it is not in use, then a message like the below will be displayed...

This could mean one of three things:
- The registration is still available for purchase (in which case you would expect to find it on a number plate website)
- The registration has already been purchased and is currently being held on a retention certificate rather than a vehicle
- The registration has never been issued
Although this is not fool proof as it only gives you information about registrations that are on vehicles, it is one way of potentially trying to track down a number plate.
Another way we can suggest finding out more information about a plate and if it's available or ever been issued, would be to type the registration (with it's correct spacing) into Google in quotation marks.
The quotation marks are important as they tell Google to only look for exact matches of the query you have entered.
If we use "MAG 1C" as an example, you can see that typing it into Google gives us some information about it.
This is a well-known and documented registration so there are lots of articles written about it, however, this technique can potentially work for any registration, with Google finding old for sale adverts on websites, or posts on social media or forums referencing the registration.
And if Google throws up random results (for example a car part number could contain the same characters in the same order as your desired registration), then simply add the words number plate after the quotation marks e.g. "MAG 1C" number plate
Again, this isn't fool-proof, but it will get you closer to knowing if a registration exists and is out there somewhere.
We hope that this short guide helps you in your search for your perfect registration!

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