How to find out if a car is stolen or not?

When buying a used car, there is always a risk of purchasing not a personal vehicle, but some problems. Therefore, before making a deal, buyers meticulously inspect the technical condition of the transport, ask to show all the documents and ask the seller tricky questions, trying to understand whether the owner is going to sell a credit, faulty or even welded car and whether the car is stolen. And if technical problems are a fixable nuisance, then legal problems will only lead to the seizure of the car in favor of the true owner and a waste of money.

Do not hope that the seller will not be able to deceive the traffic police officers. The current legislation regarding the registration of the vehicle gives the new owner 10 days after the conclusion of the purchase and sale agreement to perform registration actions and does not require the previous owner to remove the car from the register. That is, if earlier the legal purity of the car was checked when the seller was deregistered and it was possible to refuse the purchase in case of problems, now this procedure takes place only with the buyer, and he will have to cope with all the complications. Therefore, the question is very important: how to find out if the car is stolen or not?

Visual check of the car and documents

Check the car

When visually inspecting a future purchase, it is difficult to unequivocally identify signs of hacking, because the criminals were preparing the car for sale and replaced the parts damaged during the theft. But if they acted in a hurry, then there is a chance to find traces of theft common to most stolen cars, indicated in the diagram.

However, you should not completely trust only visual inspection, because individual signs of hacking can be present both in old cars and in those vehicles whose owner did not pay due attention to technical condition. Therefore, you should additionally look at the behavior of the owner (worried, in a hurry, trying to sell quickly) and analyze his answers to questions regarding the acquisition and operation. If the seller is confused about where the car was bought and for how much, where the service took place, what was repaired, what is the mileage, etc., then there is reason to believe that the car may be stolen.

Verification of documents

The next step is to verify the documents for the car, the main of which is the vehicle passport (PTS). It is worth paying attention to the signs of authenticity:

  1. When viewed by light, the watermarks applied during its manufacture should be clearly visible on the PTS form.
  2. To the left of the TCP number there should be a round or narrow oblong hologram, the images and inscriptions on which are clear and readable.
  3. In the upper left part of the form there is a volumetric image that changes its color from green to gray depending on the angle of inclination.
  4. The first two digits of the TCP number must correspond to the code of the region in which the passport was issued. For Russian cars, the document is issued by the manufacturer (clause 16 of the TCP), for foreign cars - the territorial customs authority (clause 23 of the TCP).
  5. The seal and signature of the person in charge of the organization that issued the passport should be in the lower right part.

The location of the tested elements is shown in the figure.

In addition, it is necessary to verify whether the VIN numbers and the number of the body or chassis match. If not, then some of the parts have changed, which must be indicated in the "Special notes" field and may be a sign of an attempt to legalize the stolen car. In the same column, the reasons for issuing a new title will be indicated, if the owner has a duplicate of the document in his hands. The very existence of a second passport is by no means criminal, but it is worth weighing the pros and cons more carefully if a duplicate is issued instead of a lost title, since criminals often “lose” a passport in order to get the original form.

Checking the car against the databases

Unfortunately, both of the above methods do not give a guarantee, even if both the car and the documents look perfect. How to find out if a car is stolen using databases?

Check through the traffic police

Through the traffic police, anyone can get information about the legal cleanliness of the car. It can be done in two ways:

  1. Contact any traffic police officer, presenting the vehicle title and providing the car for a visual inspection.
  2. Go to the official website of the traffic police and in the "Services" section select subsection "Car check", where you can find out by the VIN number whether the car is wanted or under arrest.

Both verification options are free and can be considered the most reliable, since the information in the official database is updated several times a day.

Checking on third-party services

In addition to government services, there is a car check service in many car dealerships, which provide similar information for a fee. There are also online services that allow you to find out on the Internet whether a car has been stolen not only in Russia, but also abroad, which is important when buying a used foreign car. Typically, these sites offer CARFAX and AutoCheck reports for US and Canadian vehicles for a small fee.

You can also get free information about the car and its license plate on the website In this case, the result is unlikely to differ from the information received from the traffic police.


Thus, to check the legal purity of the purchased car, it is better to carry out a whole range of measures: carefully examine the car itself for signs of burglary, and its documents - for signs of forgery, and then use the available Russian and foreign databases of stolen cars.