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Previous owners of my car

When buying a new car, it’s important to know the vehicle’s background, including its service history, mileage and when it was manufactured.

While this information is often provided during the selling process, sellers may sometimes withhold certain facts to secure a better resale price. One such factor is the number of previous owners the vehicle has had. Below we will discuss why this is important and how to find out about the previous owners of a car.

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The importance of a car’s previous owners

A car’s number of previous owners is important as it can provide a bigger picture of the car’s usage over the years. The main features of a car’s history discussed above can also be impacted by the amount of owners it has had.

  • Mileage

    How many miles a car has driven can have a big impact on a car’s value. The higher the mileage, the more general wear and tear it will have suffered, and therefore, the car will have a lower value. There can be a correlation between a car’s mileage and its past owners. The more owners a car has had, the older it usually is and ultimately, the more miles it has driven. This isn’t always the case though but if it appears that the that mileage and the age of the car do not match, there is the possibility that the car has been clocked.

  • How and where the car was driven

    It’s not just the distance the car has travelled that will affect how much it’s worth, but where and how it has been driven. For example, a car handles motorways differently to country lanes because of how the vehicle is driven in each of these settings. A motorway offers a ‘smoother’ drive with less frequent braking, whereas country lanes often require more braking, more use of the car’s suspension and often feature more hazards, such as potholes. So, finding out what kind of journeys the car regularly took is important to understand how well a car has been treated.

  • How well the car was looked after

    Hopefully, the car’s previous owners have treated the car well. This can be found out via its service history. If the car was taken for regular services at a reputable garage, you will feel more reassured that the car was looked after and should be in good shape. The car’s service history should be made available by the seller before the car is sold, making it an easy and free used car history check.

How to find out a car’s previous owners

When buying a vehicle, it’s important to find out as much information as possible about your potential new car. The easiest way to find out how many previous owners a car has had is by entering the registration plate into our free car check tool. Another easy way to find out basic information is simply through a conversation with the buyer; ask as many questions as you feel is necessary until you are satisfied that it’s a good deal. Obviously, a private seller will be more informed about the previous treatment of the car than a used car dealer, but you will be relying on them to be completely honest.

You may not be able to find car owner by registration number online, but you can find out how many previous owners it has had.

For more detailed and reliable information, check the service records of the car. This will highlight how often the car has been serviced, what mechanical issues have been fixed, and often provides the names of the car’s previous owners. Even if the owner information is missing or is unclear, where the service took place can give an indication of how many owners it has had. For example, if the car has been serviced in 3 different areas in the UK, there is the likelihood that the car has had 3 previous owners. If the previous owner only had the car for a couple of years there's also the chance the car is still under warranty.

Illustration of a car keys being handed over

How many owners are too many?

The desired amount of previous owners is often one. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but let’s talk about why one is considered the sought-after number when buying a used car.

If the car has only had one owner prior to you, it is likely to have received a consistent driving experience and care. For example, the car will have been driven in the same style since its production, rather than being treated more sporadically with multiple owners.

However, there is no definite answer of how many previous owner’s is too many. Obviously, the less owners the better, but as long as each owner has treated the car well and it is in a good condition, then the number of owners shouldn’t really matter.