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How to find the owner of a car in Australia?

You cannot legally find out the registered owner’s details in Australia just by using a registration number.

So you want to know how to find the owner of a car in Australia? It turns out that, unless you’re some kind of private investigator or computer hacker, you’re going to have to ask the police for help, because they are the only ones who can just punch a registration number into a computer and come up with a name and address.

You cannot legally find out the registered owner’s details in Australia just by using a registration number, for example.

In fact, thanks to the modern cameras in police cars, they are constantly collecting and checking that information - instantly spotting stolen cars for example - as they drive past you in traffic. Clever.

If you do find a third-party site that says it can obtain the details of someone by entering their registration details, be aware that this is not legal and probably not legitimate. 

Can I check who owns a car?

Modern cameras in police cars are constantly collecting and checking number plates.

When you start to think about the reasons that people might want to find out who owns a car or be able to find the address and name of someone who owns a car, it quickly becomes clear why this might be a bad idea.

Say someone has cut you off in traffic or engaged in some form of road rage with you. Naturally this will make some people very angry and others hell bent on revenge. If it was easy to find out online where someone lived, by finding out the home address their car is registered at, we might have some serious problems on our hands.

If you see someone in a car behaving badly or causing an accident or, god forbid, taking part in a hit-and-run situation, you would, of course, write down their number plate and pass it on to the police, who do have instant access to that information and would act on that with the full force of the law.

What can you find out about who owns a car?

Sites like can provide details of if a car has been written-off or stolen.

All this doesn’t mean you can’t undertake rego checks of some kinds on cars, particularly if you are in the process of buying one second hand. 

Sites like are quick to point out that “this service does not provide a registered owner's details”, but using a registration number or what some people call a licence number or the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) you can obtain “a detailed vehicle history complete record set from government sources with write-offs, thefts, financial obligations with contact details, vehicle details and registration status”.

You can also find out if a vehicle has been subject to a Takata airbag recall.

Will the government help me find out who owns a car?

You can use it to check if there are any security interests on the vehicle and registration status.

In Queensland, you can visit Queensland Government  to search for a registration, again “this service does not provide a registered owner's details”.

You can, however, check registration status and expiry date, the original make, model and body shape attached to that registration and the purpose of use - ie private or commercial. And you can see the inspection due date, if applicable. 

How to check vehicle owner in NSW

In NSW, you’ll want to visit NSW Service where you can conduct a free registration check that includes the registration expiry date, whether the registration is suspended or cancelled, any registration restrictions, any registration concessions (additional charges that might apply when transferred to a new owner) and the Compulsory Third Party insurer and policy expiry date.

The NSW site also warns that: "Service NSW and Transport for NSW are aware of a Third Party website offering vehicle registration checks. This site charges a fee for the registration check. Customers should note that Transport for NSW and Service NSW do not have any connection with other websites or services.”

How to find the owner of a car in Vic

If you’re checking on a car with Victorian registration you’ll need to visit vic roads.

The VicRoads Registration Check is a free service that can be used to confirm a vehicle's details and registration status.

How to find the owner of a car in Australia

On a National basis, you can also use the Personal Properties Security Register (PPSR) service, which is a national register for recording security interests in personal property, including vehicles.

You can use it to check if there are any security interests on the vehicle (for example an outstanding debt), vehicle details (such as make and model) registration status stolen status and written off status.

If you’re in WA, you’ll want to check out Department of Transport.

Stephen Corby
Contributing Journalist
Stephen Corby stumbled into writing about cars after being knocked off the motorcycle he’d been writing about by a mob of angry and malicious kangaroos. Or that’s what he says, anyway. Back in the early 1990s, Stephen was working at The Canberra Times, writing about everything from politics to exciting Canberra night life, but for fun he wrote about motorcycles. After crashing a bike he’d borrowed, he made up a colourful series of excuses, which got the attention of the motoring editor, who went on to encourage him to write about cars instead. The rest, as they say, is his story. Reviewing and occasionally poo-pooing cars has taken him around the world and into such unexpected jobs as editing TopGear Australia magazine and then the very venerable Wheels magazine, albeit briefly. When that mag moved to Melbourne and Stephen refused to leave Sydney he became a freelancer, and has stayed that way ever since, which allows him to contribute, happily, to CarsGuide.
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