Illinois License Plate Lookup

Steven Ewing

Written by

Steven EwingFreelance Automotive Writer
Miranda Yan

Reviewed by

Miranda YanEditorial Director & Co-Founder

Updated on: Mar 22, 2023

Get a comprehensive history of a used car

  • Specifications and equipment details.
  • Accidented or stolen.
  • Known and hidden repairs.
  • Past and present market values.
  • Sales records, title issues, and liens.

Visiting the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can give you information associated with the vehicle, but the process will be time-consuming.

An Illinois license plate lookup can save you from the hassle. It can reveal useful information about your vehicle within the shortest time, which can be done from the convenience of your home.

If you are buying a pre-owned car in Illinois, it is recommended you conduct a license plate lookup. Not only will this prevent you from buying problematic vehicles, but it also ensures that you get a fair price for what you are getting.

Here's a guide on how Illinois license plate lookup works and how to conduct an Illinois license plate lookup.

When Do You Need to Conduct an Illinois License Plate Lookup?

A license plate search will reveal information about a vehicle. Here are some situations when you find an Illinois license plate lookup useful.

  • When you want to know if the secondhand car you are looking to buy is stolen, has defects, or has a history of involvement in the theft. The plate lookup will disclose all such information so you can make an informed choice.
  • When you need to sell your vehicle, doing a license plate lookup will generate a complete report that includes information about how much your car is worth.
  • When you want to report a vehicle involved in a crime or report the owner for breaking road regulations. In either case, you need to conduct a license plate search so you can give authorities a detailed description of the vehicle.

How to Do an Illinois License Plate Lookup?

VinPit provides an online free license plate lookup tool for you. You just need to follow our guide to do a license plate lookup.

  1. Visit our website and locate the license plate lookup option.
  2. Input your license plate number in the search bar
  3. We will present a detailed report about your vehicle within minutes.

Alternatively, you can check out the article on the 12 best sites with license search services. The DMV (physical office or online service) and the Secretary of State in Illinois can also help you get information about your vehicle.

Also, you can hire a private investigator, but it will be a costly option.

What Information Can an Illinois License Plate Lookup Reveal?

Here is the information a VinPit license plate lookup will provide:

General Information

  • vehicle model, manufacturer, release year, body style, engine specs, and more
  • Vehicle title
  • Vehicle fuel efficiency
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Vehicle registration, insurance, and warranty
  • Driving records (DUIs, traffic violations, police records, and more)
  • Reports of involvement in repossession agreements
  • Timeline of vehicle inspections

Accident Records

Some cars with an accident history will cost you money to repair and might cause severe consequences, such as leading to crashes and even death on the road. Thanks to our license plate lookup tool, you can avoid such situations.

It’s useful to check these 5 signs to know if your car has been involved in a car accident before determining whether to purchase.

Odometer Records

To raise the vehicle's price, some sellers will roll the odometer back. Not knowing the exact mileage can be a threat to your safety. However, a license plate lookup will let you know the exact mileage and help identify odometer fraud.

Recall Records

If your vehicle has been recalled, it proves that it has some safety-related defects, for example, something is wrong with the airbags or the tires. Our license plate lookup tool will reveal any unfixed issues.

Additionally, you can check the recall records of your car through NHTSA.

Salvaged Car

A car with a salvage title has unknown damage or is reported as a total loss. Driving this kind of car will be dangerous. We can disclose if your vehicle has any damage history, including flood, fire, and hail damage.

Lien Records

It is important to note that if there is a lien on your vehicle, you have to repay the loan of the car’s previous owner, or else the lienholders will repossess the car. However, an Illinois license plate lookup can be a lifesaver, giving you access to the lien records.

Market Value

When you buy a used car, the seller might hide some facts about the car and overprice it. To avoid being ripped off and negotiate a competitive price, an Illinois plate search should be used because it will tell you the market value of the car you are looking to buy.

Stolen Vehicle

Accidentally buying a stolen car will get you in trouble. So to prevent motor fraud, you need to identify if your car has a stolen history.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau can also be used to check if your vehicle was ever stolen.

If your license plate is stolen, you can visit the local DMV office to ask for a new set of plates.

What to Consider When You Do a License Plate Lookup?

There are some red flags to be aware of with other license plate lookup providers. Here are some signs showing the lookup service provider is unreliable:

  • Subscription service: When you are required to pay a monthly subscription fee, you should be more cautious.
  • Pricing: You should watch out for some sites that do not present clear pricing.
  • Reviews: Sites that have no reviews or fake reviews are suspicious.

Why Choose VinPit?

  • Quick results: If you use our online license plate lookup tool, you can get a detailed report in minutes.
  • Comprehensive report: The results contain a wealth of information about your vehicle, such as theft, recall, accident records, odometer reading, and other details.
  • Straightforward process: We streamline the progress of license plate searches. All you need to do is input the license plate number and click the license plate lookup button
  • 100% free: We guarantee there are no hidden costs.
  • Accurate and updated information: We collect information from public and official resources, and then we will present the newest information with accuracy.
  • Private search: We will not disclose any of your personal information or the search history.
  • Online service: Whenever you have trouble performing a license plate lookup, we can provide you with real-time help.
  • Excellent reviews: Our customers are satisfied with our reliable service.

Illinois License Plate Categories

The Illinois Secretary of State issues 11 license types to vehicle operators in Illinois. These plate types have specific qualifications you must meet before you can apply for them.


Passenger plates in Illinois are issued to owners of passenger vehicles and vans with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,000 pounds or less.


Illinois offers a number of specialty license plates for drivers. You have to visit the Illinois License Plate Guide and download the necessary paperwork before you can file an application for your chosen specialty plate.

Persons With Disabilities

The Illinois Secretary of State issues disability license plates to physically disabled vehicle owners, or owners who are parents or guardians of a disabled child.


In Illinois, vehicles that are over 25 years old qualify for an antique license plate. Per stipulations, the antique vehicle must be in sound condition and can only be used when heading to and from a demonstration, antique auto exhibition, or service station.


Collegiate plates allow Illinois motorists to show support for their favorite Illinois college or university. These plates usually have the names of the chosen college or university engraved on them.

First Responders

The First Responders license plates celebrate responders who died while discharging their duties. Money made from the sales of these plates is used to fund death benefits and scholarships for children of deceased first responders.

Military Series

Military license plates are exclusively available to veterans who have served in the US Armed Forces.

Recreational Vehicle/Trailer

These plates are for recreational vehicles, which are defined as "any camping trailer, motorhome, mini-motor home, travel trailer, truck camper, or van camper used for recreational purposes."

Sporting Series

Illinois is notable for offering many opportunities for outdoor and sporting activities such as hunting and fishing. Buying a Sporting Series Plate provides funds for authorities to preserve wildlife habitats.

Professional Sports

The State of Illinois issues special license plates to residents who wish to show support for the state's sports teams.

Pan Hellenic Series

African-American fraternities and sororities in Illinois can procure Pan Hellenic Series Plates for their vehicles.


Can I find an owner's address through an Illinois license plate lookup?

The Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) requires that getting private information of a vehicle owner, like the address, is illegal. However, there are exceptions. If you are an authorized person, such as a police officer, lawyer, or insurance company employee, you can have legal access to the address of the owner.

Is an Illinois license plate lookup legal?

Yes. VinPit gathers information from public databases, such as NHTSA, NICB, vehicle agencies, and insurance companies. It is in compliance with the law of the Freedom of Information Act and DPPA.

What will happen if the vehicle owner knows I am searching for them?

If you have a legitimate reason to get access to the information about the vehicle owner, you can rest assured you will be okay. However, if your reason is not valid, the vehicle owner could accuse you of invasion of privacy.

What do I need to perform a license plate lookup?

You only need a license plate number and the state of license plate registration to run a search. Once you input both into the database, you'll get your results within minutes.

Do I have to pay for an Illinois license plate search?

VinPit gives you the opportunity to perform an Illinois license plate lookup free of charge. However, other sites that provide the Illinois license plate search service might require charges.

Is a license plate lookup difficult?

No. VinPit’s process is easy and straightforward. Simply type in the license plate number and you'll get all the vehicle-related info you need.

Can anyone perform an Illinois license plate search?

You don't need special approval to search license plates online, so long you only want to access public information. However, finding more detailed information from a plate search will require approval from relevant authorities.


An Illinois license plate lookup is a great way to obtain important vehicle information. VinPit is one of the best free resources out there for running license plate searches or lookups.

You can also take advantage of the wide-ranging database that VinPit offers to run a VIN check or obtain a vehicle history report. Our services are duly registered so you remain on the right side of the law when using our service.