Glossary Of Checks & Data Fields

Important Checks

Colour Changes

If the vehicle has ever been re-sprayed to a different colour, the DVLA should have been informed and it will be recorded in your report, including the date of the change and the original colour of the vehicle.

If the vehicle has changed colour but the DVLA were not informed, this may have been part of an attempt to hide the vehicle's true identity.


This will tell you if the vehicle is recorded by the DVLA as having been exported to a country outside of the UK.

If a vehicle has been exported to a country outside of the UK and is then imported back in, the vehicle will no longer be marked as exported by the DVLA.

If the vehicle is in the UK but our report is showing it as exported then ask the seller why this might be the case. Exported vehicles are not registered in the UK and cannot be driven on the road. It could be a sign that the vehicle has been stolen overseas and illegally imported, therefore presenting serious risks.


This will tell you if according to the DVLA the vehicle you are checking has been previously used outside of the UK.

If an import marker is showing then it has been added by the DVLA upon the vehicle being registered in the UK. For this to happen the DVLA will have received all the required foreign registration documents.

This may be something you are expecting if you are buying a vehicle from abroad. If not, you should ensure you understand why the vehicle was previously used outside of the UK.

Q Registration

The DVLA issues ‘Q’ registration numbers to vehicles whose age, history or identity is in doubt.

Examples of 'Q' plate vehicles include self-built kit cars, modified or altered cars, self-imported vehicles and vehicles without a VIN number.

If you are thinking of buying a Q registration vehicle, you may not be able to confirm its true age or identity and therefore you will be taking a risk when you purchase this type of vehicle. Insuring a Q plate vehicle will require you to provide information about all aspects of the car and will likely cost more.

Mileage Issues

This important check flags if the vehicle has had a decrease in its mileage reading recorded on the odometer between MOTs, or where mileage has been entered in conflicting measurement scales.

Any mileage issues we flag are based on readings recorded by the DVSA from MOT certificates. For more information about the importance of a mileage check please view our mileage check guide.


The Ministry Of Transport (MOT) test is an annual check on your vehicle to make sure it is mechanically roadworthy and safe to drive. Every vehicle that is 3 years old or more is legally required to have an MOT undertaken each year.

The vehicle must pass an MOT otherwise you cannot drive it on the road. The MOT check on a report tells you if a vehicle's MOT has ended or when it is due to end.

Outstanding Finance

This important check indicates whether a vehicle has an outstanding finance agreement registered against it. Where the report flags outstanding finance this means the vehicle is likely to be owned by a finance provider due to the previous keeper not yet settling a finance agreement.

If you purchase a vehicle with outstanding finance then you run the risk of it being repossessed from you. For more information about an outstanding finance check please view our outstanding finance check guide

Plate Changes

This indicates whether a vehicle has had a legitimate registration plate change since April 1990, and all associated details.

Previous Plates

A vehicle can legally change the registration plate it displays by informing the DVLA. A vehicle may undergo several plate changes in its lifetime as it changes ownership. Vehicle registrations can be purchased from the DVLA and other third-party resellers.

People change plates to personalise their vehicle's, but they can also change them to hide their history. This information can assist buyers in asking the seller about the vehicle's past to satisfy it doesn't present any risks.

Road Tax

Road tax, also known as Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), is due to be paid for most vehicles to the DVLA over the period you keep a vehicle for. Currently this is based on the vehicle's carbon emissions with only vehicles that emit no carbon dioxide at the tailpipe (such as electric vehicles) exempt.

The road tax marker tells you when a vehicle has been taxed up to. However, once you have bought a vehicle you will be required to pay road tax from the point you become the registered keeper. If the previous keeper has overpaid then they will receive a refund from the DVLA. You can pay on a monthly, six-monthly or annual basis. For guidance on how to tax a vehicle please visit the site.

If the vehicle is recorded as a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN) it means you will need to register for road tax with the DVLA before you can drive it. A SORN is normally issued if a vehicle is kept off the road for a period of time before it is sold on.


This will tell you if according to the DVLA the vehicle you are checking has been marked as scrapped. This means it should not be on the road in any form and is only suitable for the scrap yard. If a vehicle has been scrapped then it has either been written off due to suffering significant damage, or the previous keeper opted to scrap it due to its resale value being so low.

Driving a scrapped vehicle presents serious safety risks and any attempt to knowingly sell a vehicle that has been scrapped is illegal. For more information about the importance of a scrap check please read our scrap check guide.

Salvage History

When vehicles are involved in incidents in which they sustain damage they may end up with a vehicle salvage company. These companies put damaged vehicles up for sale usually through salvage auctions. Some of these vehicles may also be recorded as written off in the Motor Insurance Anti-fraud and Theft database, but some will not.

We collect data from the salvage auctions to see if a vehicle has ever been listed for sale, and report it under the 'Salvage History' div of our reports. This check helps users to in find out if a vehicle has ever been placed for sale at salvage auction. If it has then it is very likely the vehicle has been reconditioned after being damaged.


This check highlights vehicles that are identified as being reported stolen in both the Police National Computer and the Motor Insurance Anti-fraud and Theft (MIAFTR) database.

Criminals almost always attempt to hide the true identity of a stolen vehicle when selling it on through practices known as cloning and ringing. That is why it is incredibly important that you undertake some checks on the vehicle's VIN number to protect you from buying a stolen vehicle. See our used vehicle buying advice for more information.

Stolen vehicles remain the property of the individual or organisation from whom they were taken from. You must never buy a vehicle that is recorded as stolen because you stand to lose both the vehicle and the money you paid for it.


This will tell you if according to the DVLA the vehicle you are checking was once marked as scrapped and subsequently had that marker removed. This is where a scrapped notification to the DVLA was made against the vehicle in error.

An unscrapped marker therefore confirms that the vehicle should not have been marked as being scrapped in the first instance. But it is worth checking this with the DVLA prior to purchasing the vehicle.

Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) inspected

If a car has been VIC inspected, it means either its identity has been called into question, or it was written off by an insurance company and has attempted to be returned to the road. Either way, you should be very wary of vehicles displaying this marker. If you plan to go ahead and buy a vehicle with a VIC marker ensure you have paperwork that supports the vehicle passed its VIC inspection.

VIC inspections were introduced in 2003 to protect motorists against ringing and the scheme ended in 2015. Vehicles that were written off, repaired and brought back to the road during this period had to be VIC inspected by the DVSA before a V5C registration certificate was issued for the vehicle. Previous to 2003 criminals were using the system to have stolen cars written-off and repaired so that they could obtain the certificate to legitimise the vehicle's identity and sell it on.

The VIC compared the details the DVLA had about the vehicle against the vehicle itself. It also involved checking the car's accident damage.

Written Off

This will tell you if a vehicle has been subject to an insurance total loss claim (categories A, B, C, D, S or N), because of damage or because it has been stolen and not recovered. This check looks at the data supplied by the insurance industry's Motor Insurance Anti-Fraud and Theft (MIAFTR) database to find out if a vehicle has ever been written off.

You should never buy a vehicle that is subject to a category A or B write-off or has been stolen. If the write-off category shown is C, D, S or N the vehicle can legally be repaired, but its value should be much lower than the market average and you should request paperwork that confirms the repairs were carried out to a good standard. For more information about a write off check please read our write-off check guide.

VIN Check

To run this check you will need to view the vehicle and record the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) which is provided at the base of the windscreen, on the driver’s side door and in the engine bay.

If the VIN you enter into this field does not match the registration number then it could be a sign the vehicle has been cloned and could therefore be stolen.

Cloning is where the number plates of a stolen vehicle are removed and replaced with the registration number from a legitimate vehicle. This practice helps criminals to disguise stolen vehicles from the police and other authorities and sell them to unsuspecting buyers. For more information on conducting a VIN check please see our Car Buyer Advice.

Vehicle Details

Body Style

A description of the physical shape of the vehicle. This gives the user an idea of the shape and size of the vehicle.


This is the basic colour description of the vehicle recorded by the DVLA.

Engine Size

This describes the size of the engine. It can be used as a good indicator of the power of the vehicle.

Fuel Type

This describes the classification of fuel that the vehicle needs to operate. Generally this will be petrol, diesel, or electricity and some other alternative fuels.


This is the name of the company that made the vehicle. Popular manufacturers for example are BMW, Renault and Ford.


Each manufacturer gives its vehicles a name, this is commonly known as the model and is used to differentiate between vehicles from the same manufacturer. For example, Ford make many models of vehicle such as the Fiesta, Focus and Kuga.

Model Details

Further descriptive information about the vehicle model. This usually includes information that separates it from other models such as a particular technical feature, level of trim or body style.

No. Of Doors

This describes the number of doors on the vehicle, and can include the boot as a door (This is why you will often see a vehicle described as having 3 or 5 doors).

No. Of Gears

This is the number of gears available in the vehicle, this includes forward gears and reverse. Therefore the most common number of gears is six, five forward gears and one reverse gear.

No. Of Seats

The total number of seats in the vehicle.

Transmission Type

This describes how a driver changes gears in the vehicle. Manual gears require the driver to use the gear stick and clutch to move up and down the gears while driving. Automatic vehicles change the gears for the driver and do not have a clutch. Almost all electric vehicles do not have gears but the industry classifies their transmission type as automatic.

VIN (Ends With)

VIN stands for 'Vehicle Identification Number' and is a unique serial number used by the automotive industry to identify individual motor vehicles. The VIN number is associated with a particular vehicle registration number, i.e. your registration plate. Criminals often replace the registration plate on vehicles they steal, so checking that the VIN matches the number plate is the most important check to ensure the vehicle is not stolen. Here we show you the last four characters so you can compare with the VIN on the vehicle.

When buying a used vehicle it is important that you carry out physical checks to ensure the VIN number it displays is the same as what is provided on a Total Car Check report and the vehicle registration certificate. For more information please view our used vehicle buying advice.

Vehicle Valuation

Based On Mileage

This is the mileage reading we base all of our used valuations on. The value is normally the mileage recorded at the vehicle's last MOT. If the vehicle's current mileage is higher than this figure then you can expect the vehicle to be worth less than the valuations provided.

On The Road

The amount you would have paid to drive the vehicle on the road when it was new. This valuation includes the vehicle's list price, registration, any delivery fees, road tax, insurance and half a tank of fuel.

Dealer Forecourt

A guideline for the amount you should expect to pay to buy the vehicle from a dealer using the 'based on mileage' figure.

Private Average

A guideline for the amount you should expect to pay to buy the vehicle privately using the 'based on mileage' figure.


A guideline for the amount you should expect to pay to buy the vehicle from auction using the 'based on mileage' figure.

Part Exchange

A guideline for the amount you should expect to receive for the vehicle if you were to part exchange it, using the 'based on mileage' figure.

Fuel Economy

CO2 emission figures

Outlines how much carbon dioxide the vehicle emits in grams per kilometer (g/km) driven and determines how fuel efficient the vehicle is. The lowest levels are rated A and the highest M. The carbon emission band the vehicle is categorised into translates into the amount of road tax you would be required to pay.

There are two fuel economy tables provided depending on when the vehicle was first registered. This corresponds to the two different UK road tax schemes in operation for cars before and after 1 April 2017.

To see the vehicle tax schemes and rates in operation please see the DVLA web page

Fuel Consumption

This div of the fuel economy table tells you how many litres of fuel the vehicle will use to drive 100km (metric measurement) and how many miles can be drive for a gallon of fuel (imperial measurement). These are standardised measures of fuel consumption that all manufacturers calculate for each make/model of vehicle they produce.

There are three values provided for each measure based on the environment the vehicle is driven in. Urban denotes driving in a town or city where the vehicle is required to start and stop frequently which reduces fuel consumption. Extra-urban relates to driving on B-road/A-road motorway driving environments where the vehicle is usually in constant motion with little stopping.

VED for 6 months

The vehicle excise duty or road tax payable over a 6 month period for the vehicle.

VED for 12 months

The vehicle excise duty or road tax payable over a 12 month period for the vehicle.

Mileage Information

Last MOT Mileage

This is the value recorded on the odometer at the last MOT. An odometer is a mileage recording instrument contained within all vehicles. It normally provides a mileage readout within the speed dial on the vehicle's cockpit.

Avg. Annual Mileage

This is the average distance travelled each year between MOT's.

Mileage Last Year

This is the actual distance travelled between the last two recorded MOT's.

Extended Mileage Chart

This shows you the history of mileage recorded for the vehicle and the source.


Current Ownership

This is the duration the current keeper has had the vehicle since the report was completed.

Current Keeper Acq.

This is the date the vehicle was acquired by the current keeper.

Manufacture Date

This is the date the vehicle was manufactured according the DVLA.

No. Of Previous Keepers

This is the number of registered keepers that have kept possession of the vehicle since it was manufactured. Every time the keepership of a vehicle changes the DVLA is informed. This field returns the total number of keepers.

A high number of previous keepers might indicate a mechanical quality issue with the vehicle. It is recommended that where a high number of keepers is showing (e.g. 3 in a year) you should investigate why.

Prev. Keeper Acq.

This is the date the vehicle was acquired by the previous keeper.

Prev. Keeper Sold

This is the date the vehicle was sold by the previous keeper.


This is date the DVLA has recorded as the first time the vehicle was registered with them, which is a process that has to occur before the vehicle can be legally used.

V5C log book date

This is the date the last V5C logbook was issued by the DVLA. When buying the vehicle you should check to make sure the seller provides you with a V5C logbook and ensure the logbook displays this date on it.

Vehicle Age

This is the approximate age of the vehicle, calculated from the date of manufacture until the date the report was generated.

Engine Specification


This is a technical description of how the engine sits in the vehicle. It describes how the engine is mounted in the context of the crankshaft and long axis.


BHP stands for Brake Horse Power. This is the common imperial measure of an engine's power. The larger the value the more power the vehicle has. Its name is a historical reference to the industrial revolution when a steam powered engine was measured by the number of horses it could replace.


This describes the quantity and the way in which the engine cylinders are laid out in the engine. Common layouts are 'Inline' and 'V'.

Engine No.

This is a unique reference number etched onto the engine of a vehicle. It can be used to help confirm the identity of a vehicle and is an important check before you buy a used vehicle. See our used car buyer guide.

Fuel Delivery

This describes the system used for admitting fuel to the vehicle engine. The most common method is 'Injection'.


This describes the place the engine can be found in the vehicle. Often this is either at the front or rear of the vehicle.

Power Output

This is the Kilowatt metric measurement of Brake Horse Power, which measures the power output of a vehicle's engine.


This is the number of valves the engine of the vehicle contains.

Other Specifications

0-60 MPH

How quickly, in seconds, the vehicle accelerates to a speed of 60 miles per hour from a stationary start.

Euro Status

This is a European engine status marker value.


This is a measure of the distance between the base of the vehicle and the highest point of the vehicle chassis.

Insurance Group

This is the insurance group which the vehicle is classified under. It represents how risky (for the insurer) and costly a vehicle is to insure. There are currently 50 insurance groups with 1 being the cheapest to insure and 50 the most expensive.


This is a measure of the distance across the length of the vehicle, from the front of the vehicle to the rear.

Top Speed

This is a measure of the top speed the vehicle is capable of travelling.

Vehicle Type

This is a description of the classification of vehicle, the most common being 'Car'.


This refers to the gross weight of the vehicle and is measured in kilograms.


This is a measure of the distance across the width of the vehicle at the widest point.

Electric Vehicle Data

EV Type

This specifies if the vehicle is one of the following electric vehicle (EV) categories:

  • Full Battery Electric – BEV – the vehicle is powered solely by a battery and does not contain a combustion engine.
  • Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle – PHEV – the vehicle is powered by both a combustion engine and a battery.

Drive Type

This determines how the battery power is distributed to the wheels of the vehicle e.g. which wheels drive the vehicle. Electric vehicles can be Front Wheel Drive, All Wheel Drive and Rear Wheel Drive.

Real Range

The average number of miles the electric vehicle can travel on a single full charge based on varied driving environments and speeds.

Maximum Range

The maximum number of miles the electric vehicle can travel on a single full charge.

Slow Charge (0% - 100%)

The length of time taken for an electric vehicle to be charged from having no charge to being fully charged, using the On-Board Charger (OBC) issued as standard.

Fast Charge (10% - 80%)

The fastest time for the electric vehicle’s battery to be charged from 10% to 80% capacity. The figures provided show the fastest charge time available for the vehicle being checked.

Plug Type

This tells you the type of charger plug that is fitted to the vehicle:

  • Type 1 and Type 2 – most vehicles sold in the UK have a type 1 or type 2 connection. The vast majority of vehicles use a Type 2 plug with older vehicles containing type 1.
  • CCS – this stands for Combined Charging System. If the Type is followed by ‘/ CCS’ then this means the vehicle is capable of being charged using a rapid charge point and will normally have an additional 2 pins under the main Type 1 or Type 2 plug. Most US, European and South Korean manufactured vehicles use CCS.
  • CHAdeMO – this stands for CHArge de MOve, a pun for a Japanese phrase that translates as ‘Let’s have a cup of tea while charging’! It’s no surprise therefore that this connector type is found in most Japanese manufactured vehicles and rivals CCS. If the Type is followed by ‘/ CHAdeMO’ then the vehicle will contain this additional plug connection for fast charging purposes.

Plug Location

Where the plug for the vehicle is located, on the vehicle, so it can be recharged. The plug location can be important if you are planning to have a charge point installed at your property.

Battery Capacity

This is the maximum amount of energy that can be stored in the vehicle’s battery, measured in Kilowatt hours. It represents the amount of power (kilowatts) the battery can generate in one hour. Vehicles with more battery capacity will have a longer range and more power. The average battery capacity of a vehicle is 40kWh with some having up to 100kWh.

Battery Efficiency

A measure of how efficiently the battery uses energy to power the vehicle. It is calculated using watt-hours / mile. The lower the figure the less energy is used and the more efficient the vehicle. This and the battery capacity determines the vehicle’s range.

Battery Warranty

The period of time the battery is under manufacturer warranty for.

Domestic Charging Costs

An estimate of the cost of charging the vehicle at home to enable it to travel for 1 mile, 100 miles and 12,000 miles. This is calculated using average of domestic electricity prices.

Public Charging Costs

An estimate of the cost of charging the vehicle at a public charge point to enable it to travel 1 mile, 100 miles and 12,000 miles. This is calculated using average public charge point electricity prices.