Why is my car not showing on the DVLA database?

You’ve got your new car, and you want to check something on the DVLA database. Maybe you want to check when your car tax is due, or you just want to have a look to make sure it’s on there. But, it’s nowhere to be found. 

Why is that? 

There are a couple of reasons why your car is not showing on the DVLA database. We’ve advised people on this before so we’ve written an article explaining what the DVLA is, why your car might not be on it, and what you can do about it.

What is the DVLA?

Firstly, what is the DVLA? The DVLA is the Driver Vehicle Licensing Authority. It’s a government body that is the national centre for issuing licenses and registering cars. It is also where points are added and where you register your car as off the road. It’s also where all new cars are registered. 

The DVLA is the only place of its kind. 

Who is responsible for registering my car on the DVLA database?

The dealership is the one responsible for registering the car. It’s completely down to them. However, sometimes the dealership will need extra information from you which you will need to provide. If they don’t have all the relevant information, they might not be able to register your car on the DVLA. 

It should be noted here that a dealer should never release a car that has not been registered with the DVLA. This means it’s rare for your new vehicle NOT to be showing on the database. 

Car is not showing on the DVLA - man smiling while on the phone

Why is my car not showing on the DVLA?

Dealerships are allocated the registration number of a car about a week or two before it is due for delivery. However, they will not register the car with the DVLA until the day of delivery. The main reason for this is that they don’t want to tax and register a car, only for the order to be cancelled. It’s as simple as that. 

So, one of the main reasons why your car is not showing on the DVLA database is that it hasn’t been registered yet. 

Also, the DVLA is a national body. So, you can imagine how many thousands of cars are registered on it every day. This means that your car may not appear on the DVLA database until a few days after the delivery. This is because of the sheer volumes that are registered on a daily basis. 

If you’ve just got your car and it’s not on there, then give it a couple of days and check again. 

Still not there? 

There is another reason why your car is not showing on the DVLA. It’s very rare, but we have seen it happen before. So, what is it? The wrong plate has been put on your car. An example of this is: 

  • Your car has been allocated the registration number ABC
  • The plate on your car says ABD when it arrives

This is easily fixed if this is the case. Then the dealer will just issue the right plate to you. It’s very easily fixable.

What should I do if my car is not registered with the DVLA?

If you have noticed that your car is not on the DVLA database then this is what you do. 

First off, don’t panic. It’s fixable and the process is very simple. It’s also worth remembering that this is not your fault so there’s nothing to worry about. 

You need to contact your broker or supplying dealer immediately. If the dealership is in the wrong, then they’ll sort it with no problem. If the dealership says they have done everything right, then you have to contact the DVLA. 

If you’re leasing a car, it’s at this point that you need to contact the finance house. This is because, on a contract hire, the finance house is the registered keeper of the car. Therefore, the dealership would have registered it to the finance house and they are the ones that need the DVLA to rectify the issue.

Car is not showing on the DVLA - woman looking at a laptop while on the phone

Should I check if my car is on the DVLA when it’s delivered?

You might be wondering ‘is it vital that I check my car is registered?’. 

Not really, no. If your car is not showing on the DVLA then it will be flagged up pretty early on. Insurance companies use similar databases so they will alert you if they can’t find your car. 

If they don’t, then the police will. The police use the same database as well. Again, it’s no big deal; they know that it’s not your fault. 

Regardless of how or when it gets flagged up, you can get it sorted in no time. 

How can I get insurance if my car is not showing on the DVLA?

Now, you might be thinking ‘well, how can I insure my car if it’s not even on the DVLA?’. And, you are right to ask that. These days, many insurance companies use automated systems. To get a quote, you simply put in your registration. But, how can you do that if it’s not registered? 

We get asked this quite a lot. We recommend our customers to ring the insurance company, explain the situation and tell them why it’s not appearing on the database. They should be able to give you an insurance quote based on the specification and the P11d value

Where can I check if my car on the DVLA database?

There are multiple sites that come up when you search on the internet for a vehicle checker. However, the best one to use is the DVLA vehicle checker

You will need to know the vehicle’s make and registration. You can find out everything from: 

  • When the MOT expires
  • When the current tax expires
  • The date it was registered
  • The year of manufacture
  • CO2 emissions

And pretty much everything else you would want to know about your car. Including the colour. 

There could be a few reasons as to why your car is not showing on the DVLA, but the chances of it happening are very slim. If it isn’t, then it’s down to either the dealership or the DVLA to rectify the problem. As we’ve said many times during this article, it’s a problem that is very easily resolved. 

If you wish to find out more detail about a car registration – e.g. address of the registered owner – you will need to write to the DVLA as this information is not available via their online portal. 

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