Free Ohio License Plate Lookup

Erik Deckers

Written by

Erik DeckersFreelance Content Writer
Miranda Yan

Reviewed by

Miranda YanEditorial Director & Co-Founder

Updated on: Mar 23, 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.

Buying a used vehicle is cost-effective because you can get one for a fraction of the cost of a new one. But you need to ask yourself a few questions before you seal the deal. Has it been in any accidents? Was it the subject of any recalls? Are there any unpaid traffic fines or warrants? Is the title serving as collateral for a title loan? Is the dealer even legal? Has the car been stolen?

If you're buying a car in Ohio, you can find these answers easily through a license plate search. A free Ohio license plate lookup can tell you all the known details about the vehicle as well as the estimated market value, so you can use this to bargain with the person selling the car.

You can see whether the car has ever been involved in any major accidents or whether it will need costly repairs in the future. You can also see whether the car is completely legal by searching for information about its title, liens, and theft records.

What Should I Know About Ohio License Plates?

An Ohio license plate, sometimes known as a vehicle registration plate, is an aluminum plate traditionally attached to the rear of all Ohio vehicles on the road (trucks, cars, motorcycles, etc.) for identification purposes. You can also place a license plate on the front of your car if you choose, but it must be identical to the rear plate.

Currently, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) issues standard and specialized interest plates.

  • Standard Plates - These plates are often a red, white, and blue design, but since 2021 residents can have a different design called "Sunrise in Ohio" which features a colorful sunrise over a wheat field design in the background.
  • Special Interest Plates - These license plates can have various designs depending on the applicant's profession, college or university, or company, and may include a logo supporting a special interest group.

How Does Ohio License Plate Work?

When someone buys a new vehicle, they have to register it at the Ohio BMV first, and then the local BMV will issue a license plate for the vehicle to operate on the road.

Ohio license plates can only be issued by the Ohio BMV, which is a section of the Ohio Department of Public Safety. As a matter of interest, all license plates in Ohio are made by inmates at Ohio Penal Industries at the Lebanon Correctional Institute.

Where Can I Perform an Ohio License Plate Number Lookup?

Online Lookup Service

The easiest way is to use a vehicle lookup tool such as VinPit. You can run a license plate search via any device that is connected to the internet by simply entering the license plate number at the top of the page and instantly getting the information you want.

Ohio BMV

The Ohio BMV now has an online tool for people who want to search for a vehicle. You can fill out an application form with the required information and submit it over the internet. You will find all requirements for various record types on this page. These results may take several days, if not a few weeks.

Private Investigator

If you need to find out owner information from a registered vehicle license plate, you can hire a private investigator to help you. But you should keep in mind that this option may only be used for court cases, fraud, or accident investigations, and it can cost you an arm and a leg. Plus, there's a good chance the private investigator may use a tool like VinPit anyway. So you can save time and money by using it yourself.

What Can I Get From a License Plate Lookup in Ohio?

The amount of information you can get from an Ohio license plate lookup is amazing, including:

  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Car specifications
  • Any records of thefts
  • Repairs on record
  • Images of the vehicle
  • Insurance claims
  • Manufacturer safety recall
  • Latest odometer reading
  • Sales listings and last selling price

Please note that, unless applicable by law, the driver's personal details, like his or her name, photograph, phone number, medical or disability information, etc., are not released by the Ohio BMV.

Why Is It Necessary to Do an Ohio License Plate Lookup?

For people who are interested in checking the history and legality of vehicles in Ohio, a license plate lookup is an important step.

Verify the Vehicle Condition

With a license plate lookup, you will get the whole picture of a vehicle's condition, such as its maintenance history, how often it has been serviced, and whether there were any major repairs. That way you can check if there are any undisclosed issues and whether the car matches what the seller advertised.

Get an Estimated Market Value

Looking up an Ohio license plate can give you valuable information about all the selling prices on records. Having insights into a vehicle's actual market value will put you in a better position to negotiate with the seller on price and terms, so you can avoid being ripped off.

Check the Actual Odometer Reading

Some dishonest car dealers may tamper with the car's odometer to show a lower mileage figure than it actually has. A license plate search will give you an estimated mileage figure, which you can refer to when checking the odometer reading in the car; if you find it incorrect, you should ask for an explanation or just walk away and deal with more reputable dealers.

Avoid Purchasing Illegal or Stolen Vehicles

A license plate lookup can tell you if the vehicle is reported stolen and whether the title is lien-free, so you can see whether the car is 100% legal. Moreover, you can also see whether there are any outstanding traffic fines and misdemeanors and criminal matters associated with them, which can prevent you from buying someone else's headache.

More Questions? We’ve Got You Covered!

Can I Look Up a License Plate with a VIN in Ohio?

Yes, you can look up Ohio license plates if you know the VIN number of a vehicle. VINs are associated with license plates and other vehicle and owner information, which is maintained by the Ohio BMV.

Are the Details From Online Ohio License Plate Lookups Authentic?

You can rest assured that the information you get from most online vehicle searches is accurate. A trusted service provider like VinPit loads our database with data from the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), BMVs of all states, insurance companies, and other reliable resources.

Can Someone Track Me Using My License Plate Number in Ohio?

All states' BMVs are required to protect the personal information of vehicle owners under the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPV). This prevents other individuals from accessing your private data except in specific circumstances, such as a court order or at the request of law enforcement.

Is It Free to Check a License Plate in Ohio?

Yes, most online vehicle lookup services like VinPit are totally free, although the amount of information you get largely depends on how many details are publicly available. However, if you request a vehicle history report through the Ohio BMV, you will be charged some fees, and it will take several days, if not a few weeks.

Final Thoughts

Before buying a used car, you'll want to run an Ohio license plate lookup to learn the history of your chosen car and help you avoid buying one with potential risks or hidden problems.

If you're looking for the best Ohio license plate lookup provider, VinPit is your best choice. We help you retrieve free car-related information for free via an Ohio license plate lookup or VIN lookup in just a few seconds.