Texas License Plate Lookup

License plates are an important instrument with regards to maintaining safety on our roads and highways. Each state in the United States is mandated to operate a system for issuing and regulating license plate usage, and Texas is no different. Using the number available on the license plate, you can uncover a lot of details about the vehicle and its owner. The process of recovering all these pre-registered details is known as a Texas license plate lookup.

Read on to learn more about Texas license plates, the various types you could possibly own, and how to retrieve basic user info armed with nothing but a license plate number.

What Is a Texas License Plate and How It Works?

Simply put, a Texas license plate is a piece of metal or plastic that is typically affixed to a vehicle, showing the registration details of that vehicle. One of which is its license number. All vehicles registered in Texas are mandated to own and display two license plates, one on the front and the other at the rear end.

Texas license plates are designed with two bands of high-security threading, embedded in the sheets to make it easy for security agents to scan and retrieve info pertaining to the plates. It is worth noting that Texas is the first state in the country to adopt this feature on its license plates.

Statistics on Accidents, Theft and Disasters:

  • Number of cars registered as of 2019: 2,398,943
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents as of 2019: 2,398,943
  • Buyer’s claims versus actual history

    According to Edmunds, Cox Automotive and other trusted sources, used car demand and sales will continue to increase as prices continue to decline through 2020.

Types of Texas License Plates

Generally, license plates for Texas vehicles fall under three main categories: General Issue, Specialty and Souvenir plates.

General Issue license plates

Just as the name may suggest, general issues license plates are those plates issued to drivers upon registration of their vehicles, and these are the plates you’d typically find on most vehicles in Texas. The current General Issue plate design for Texas is ‘The Texas Classic.’ And it is worth noting that this is the first license plate in the country to feature security threads embedded in the sheets for easy plate authentication.

Specialty License Plates

In contrast to the general issue license plates, specialty license plates are not readily available to the general public. They may be acquired only upon a special request by the vehicle owner. Specialty plates are intended to give vehicles a personal touch, and more often than not, represent something dear to the owner.

Vehicle owners have the option to browse through, and select from a variety of Specialty plate designs on the Texas Department of Motor Vehicle (TxDMV) website. Popular design themes include the Military, local sports teams, Texas institutions, among others. And upon selection of a design, an extra fee has to be paid for processing of the plate.

Additionally, users have the option to customise their plates with a special message, although this has to be vetted and approved by the TxDMV.

Souvenir Plates

Unlike the other types of Texas plates described above, souvenir plates are not legally binding. Indeed they are only intended to be worn as some sorts of decoration on vehicles. You could order souvenir plates via a form on the TxDMV site, but you have to pay separate fees for the plate and its customisation.

What Do I Need to Register My Vehicle in Texas?

To register a newly purchased vehicle in Texas, you’d need to visit your local county office with these documents:

  • The car insurance information
  • A title with the seller’s signature
  • A completed application for the Texas title from the seller
  • Proof of fees and tax payments
  • A verified vehicle inspection number, for out-of-state vehicles
  • Proof of paid sales tax, if you’re shipping in the car from another state

Payment for license plates varies according to the value of the vehicle in question, and you would also need to pay either a sales tax or a standard presumptive value. Additionally, you could also transfer license plates from one vehicle to another, provided you own both, although you’d need to update your info with the county tax assessor-collector’s office.

What Can You Get from a Texas License Plate Lookup?

When registering either a newly purchased vehicle or one that has had previous owners in Texas, drivers are typically mandated to provide specific info such as their names, addresses, insurance plans among others. Relevant authorities can keep the vehicle, and be able to locate it easily, in case of involvement in criminal activities.

The info provided by users during registration is what constitutes online vehicle databases, some of which is typically available for public consumption. Some of the information you have access to as an interested third party looking to carry out reverse license plate search Texas free includes:

  • Information on past ownerships
  • Odometer readings to determine the total distance travelled by the vehicle in question
  • Accident and theft records
  • Title of ownership
  • Salvage records

How to Conduct a Texas License Plate Lookup?

Texas is one of the states that has made it convenient for its indigenes to access limited information on a vehicle, armed with nothing but its license plate number or the vehicle identification number (VIN). There are two general methods of conducting a Texas plate lookup free, and this could either be via the Texas Department of Vehicles or you could do it at the comfort of your home, via a free license plate lookup platform.

If you were to opt for the former method, you could either physically visit the TxDMV building or send them an email request. Upon presentation of your TX license plates search request, the TxDMV, in conjunction with the Texas Public Information act, is obligated to provide you as much info as the law allows, regarding the vehicle in question.

Alternatively, if you’d rather carry out a free Texas license plate lookup from the comfort of your home, there are several online databases you could access to this effect. The process of retrieving user data via Texas plates is known as ‘reverse license plate search.’ And not to worry, these free license plate lookup sites are completely safe to use, and information provided is censored by regulatory bodies.

That said, follow these steps to retrieve info on a vehicle online, via Texas license plates:

  • any of the online database sites, and take time to read through their terms of usage before proceeding.
  • Enter either the license plate number or the vehicle identification number in the provided window. Some sites demand you also select the state of registration; in that case, pick the applicable option.

These databases typically reveal info such as the address of the vehicle owner, and in some cases, his/her phone number. Also, if a social media account is linked to such a vehicle, you could be privy to such info as well! Additionally, Texas plate lookup free sites also provide access to various criminal records, and a simple license plate reverse search would reveal the history of the vehicle’s owner, if any.


How many figures and digits are on Texas License plates?

Texas general license plate numbers typically consist of seven digits, which is a mixture of either three letters followed by four numbers OR three numbers and four letters.

How long can I use my Texas license plates for?

Texas plates are valid for seven years; however, drivers could apply for new plates in the event that the current plates get lost, become damaged or unreadable.

Should I remove my license plates when selling a vehicle in Texas?

For your own safety, and in accordance with the law, it is imperative that you remove license plates from your vehicle before handing over the keys to the new owner.

Can I use a digital license plate instead of the general plates on my vehicle in Texas?

Thanks to recently adopted policies by the Texas DMV, drivers in the state have the option of using electronic license plates instead of the regular general issue and specialty plates.

Can I continue to use my temporary Texas license plate in place of the permanent one?

Upon purchase of a new vehicle in Texas, drivers can apply for temporary license plates until registration for the permanent plates is complete. These temporary plates are valid for 30 days only, and the permanent Texas license plates have to be acquired in the period.


Owning and registering a license plate for your vehicle in Texas is a straightforward process, and is mandatory if you’re to operate a vehicle in the state. Also, state regulations in Texas have made it easy for citizens to search and retrieve user info from vehicle registration details. Moreso, the rise of online Texas plate lookup sites such as VinPit has further simplified the process.

With VinPit, you can carry out VIN checks, and run Texas license plates searches to gain access to info such as the vehicle history reported, basic user info among others. The best thing is, you can do this from anywhere, as long as you have internet access. Finally, it is completely free and as simple as searching an app name on your smartphone.