Why is my car not showing on the DVLA database?

Can't see your car on the DVLA database? This could be why...

  • What is the DVLA?
  • Who is responsible for registering my car?
  • Should I check my car is on the DVLA when it’s delivered?
  • How can I get insurance if my car is not showing?
  • Why is my car not showing on the DVLA database?
  • What should I do if my car is not registered with the DVLA?
  • Where can I check my car is 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 not. You can’t find your car on the DVLA.


There are a couple of reasons as to 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. Then, naturally, it’s down to you to provide it. Otherwise, they might not be able to register your car on the DVLA.

It should be noted here that no dealer should ever release a car that has not been registered with the DVLA. So, it’s pretty rare for it not to be showing on the database.

Man on phone

Why is my car not showing on the DLVA?

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 because 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 I have seen it happen. And that is that the wrong plate has been put on your car. For example;

The registration number that has been allocated to your car is ABC. But, the registration plate on the actual car says ABD.

If this has happened, then the dealer will just issue the right plate to you. It’s very easily fixable.


Do you register your lease car with the DVLA?
Find out more in our article.

Mazda3 SE-L Lux Hatchback

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.

It’s a very simple process, and the key is not to panic. It’s not your fault so there’s nothing to worry about. It’s easily sorted.

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

If you are 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. Therefore they are the ones that need the DVLA to rectify the issue. For more information on who the registered keeper of your vehicle is, read our article here.

Woman on telephone using computer

Should I check 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. So what we tell our customers is that you should ring the insurance company instead. 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 my car on the DVLA?

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.

So 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.


Who registers a lease car with the DVLA?
Find out more in our article.

Citroen C3
Rachel Richardson


  • Tim| 18th March 2021 at 6:35 pm Reply

    Hi Tried to tax my van I have just bought. Insured it no problem. Reg number came up to identify the van & all was correct with insurance company information. Great I thought. Got all insurance info emailed i.e. policy etc etc. All info correct on the policy. Mot has 12 months. Now I tried taxing it on the DVLA web site & it comes up no info for that vehicle. The van I bought is 4years old. Why is this being said with the DVLA that is stopping me taxing it? Appreciate all your hard work by the way. Regards Tim

  • Rui Pereira| 10th October 2020 at 3:39 pm Reply

    Bought car 3 month ago but because iam abroad working didn’t take care of the registration but i have the new keeper green slip the problem is can’t find the number plate in DVLA database and not been able to tax the car on-line. What should I do? Tanks

  • m a marks| 8th October 2020 at 9:46 am Reply

    i taxed my car on line this morning at oo20 and its not showing up on screen why.

    • Rachel Richardson| 8th October 2020 at 10:19 am Reply

      Hi Maurice,

      According to the DVLA website it can take up to 5 days for records to show any updates – even if they are made online.

  • Joanne Herbert| 3rd October 2020 at 1:26 pm Reply

    A lady blocked me in a car park so I couldn’t access my car, her attitude riled me, she wasn’t apologetic and suggested I climb across my passenger seat to get in. She said if she parked properly she wouldn’t have been able to get out of her car. On checking her registration number on DVLA, is does not show up. Is there somewhere to report unregistered cars to?

    • Rachel Richardson| 5th October 2020 at 9:07 am Reply

      Hi Joanne,

      It is possible her vehicle is new, or recently transferred, and as previous people have mentioned, there are often vehicles that don’t show up on the DVLA website. If this is something you are concerned about, you report it to the Department for Transport on their website.

  • Car check| 22nd September 2020 at 1:15 pm Reply

    Clearly explaining the rare situations and listing the solutions sounds good. Helpful, and thank you for sharing. Kindly update us regularly like this.

    • Tracey| 9th October 2020 at 5:59 am Reply

      Why can my partner not get insurance on his car which has been registered with dvla but insurance companies are saying its not on data base but dvla are saying it is, can not do it on specs either because UK doesn’t recognise Irish specs for his car

      • Rachel Richardson| 12th October 2020 at 12:12 pm Reply

        Hi Tracey,

        Thank you for your question. As a company we don’t sell or lease vehicles in Eire. However, we have found that there is a resource that may have the answer when it comes to the difference in specifications and how this can be resolved: https://www.carzone.ie/ask-carzone

    Leave comments

    Your email address will not be published.*

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Back to top