All vehicles operating in Massachusetts should be legally registered with the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) and must have a legal title. You'll have 30 days to register your new vehicle.
All motor vehicles are required by law to display two license plates. One license plate should be on the rear side, while the other should be on the front. The license plate on the car's rear must have a validity sticker.
Be sure to get a license plate lookup report before buying a used car. With the report, you'll be able to spot red flags in a potentially fraudulent deal, saving you a great deal of time and money while also providing you great relief from falling for a scam.
Where is the Massachusetts Plate Number?
Generally, you can easily your plate number easily by looking at the issued license plate attached to your car. However, there are instances you need to lookup car license plates while away from your car; the car's certificate of registration and other car-related documents may have it printed.
License Plate Registration in Massachusetts
In accordance to the Massachusetts title law, all vehicles and Trailers are to be titled within 10 days of purchase. Only trailers with a weight of less than 3000 pounds are exempted from titling.
If you have purchased your vehicle from a private seller there are requirements that you must meet for you to have your vehicle registered. The documents you need for registration include:
- Proof of identification
- Correctly filled registration and title application
- Previous owners certificate of title
- Registration fees
For those who have purchased a vehicle from a car dealership in Massachusetts, you need to produce the following:
- Vehicle insurance cover
- Personal identification
- Bill of sale to show you’re the legal owner
- Filled registration and title application
- Registration fees
If you just moved to Massachusetts and own an out of state vehicle, you are required to register it in Massachusetts. Note that out-of-state vehicles must be registered immediately as the state doesn't give a grace period. To transfer your vehicle registration details, you will need:
- Proof of title
- Previous state registration details
- Current Massachusetts Insurance cover
- Titling fee
Consider visiting the RMV website for further details and clarification on relevant processes.
Types of Vehicle License Plates in Massachusetts
Standard plates: These are 6 alphanumeric characters in length, which use the Spirit of America plate design. Plates must be renewed every two years.
Vanity plates: These are personalized plates that are up to six alphanumeric characters in length (up to five for motorcycles and up to four for antique vehicles). Plate combinations need to abide by the following criteria:
- All plates must start with at least two letters
- The letters “I,” “O,” “Q,” and “U” are only allowed if the combination they're used in is "clearly defined and correctly spelled"
- No special characters or spaces are allowed
- No number digits allowed in between letters (e.g., AA222A is not allowed)
- No offensive, vulgar or obscene combinations
Military plates: These are issued to active-duty or retired military personnel of any US military branch. Available plates include recipients of medals and honors such as the Bronze Star.
Disabled plates: Persons with disabilities require certification of their disability/disabilities by a licensed medical practitioner to apply for these plates. Disabled parking placards are available for those with disabled plates.
Specialty plates: These plates exist for people who want to identify with or show support to certain organizations, groups, interests, and charities. Plate options include:
- Collegiate plates
- Organization/association plates
- Environment and conservation plates
- Antique plates
- Volunteer organizations/professions
- Government plates
- Sports teams/events
You can view all plate designs here.
What You Get from a License Plate Lookup
Before you buy a vehicle in Massachusetts, it is advisable to first run a license plate check online. By running a free check on VinFreeCheck, you will be able to get all relevant, legal and updated information on any vehicle.
Note that all vehicles in Massachusetts should be registered with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (DOT).
Previous owners: Get some information on the vehicle's previous owners and the duration in which they owned the vehicle for. The report can give you up-to-date information for both of those queries, but doesn't disclose any private or personal information of these owners.
Market value: The license plate report will reveal the actual market price of the vehicle you're looking at. You'll be able to find out if you're being under- or overcharged for a used car.
Vehicle specifications: Provides you with all the information you need about the vehicle’s make, year of manufacture, its model and more. Having all the relevant information at hand will help you with making a more informed decision.
Flood records: Informs you of any history of damage from floods. If you find the vehicle was damaged by floods, you need to find out how much potential damage the vehicle may have undergone and what repairs were made to restore its condition.
Accident reports: Lists any accidents the car may have been involved in at any time. If it was a significant accident, you should have an independent check performed on the vehicle. You might find damage that wasn't repaired which could affect the vehicle's performance.
Odometer readings: The report will provide detailed odometer records of a vehicle, allowing you to look for signs of odometer tampering. Sellers might alter the readings to give the false impression that the car hasn't been driven that much.
Junk/salvage title check: If a car is severely damaged in an accident or has been scrapped for parts, an insurance company might write it off as a ‘total loss.' It would mean repairing the car will be very costly, on top of it being in no condition to operate on the road.
Lien records: Provides information on whether the car has been used in a lease, as collateral for a debt, as a rental car unit, etc. There have been cases where cars with an existing lien were sold to unknowing buyers. These buyers end up having to repay the lien, even if it wasn't their fault.
Why Should I Get a Lookup Report?
Having the ability to protect yourself from the possibility of being conned can really help you navigate the difficulties of used car buying. The report allows you to make wise car-buying decisions and spot red flags in a deal, possibly a deliberate action to hide key details of a car's condition.
One of the more common scam tactics is odometer fraud, where the odometer readings are changed to make it seem that the car wasn't driven very far in its service life. This is a federal offense, and without checking if the readings are accurate or falsified, you could end up owning a lemon. You'll then end up sinking tens of thousands of dollars trying to keep a problematic car running. It's better to be safe than sorry, and that's what makes the report so essential to anyone looking for a car to own.
Moreover, the information you receive comes from extensive and verifiable information from reputable (and constantly updating) sources like the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). With trustworthy data available at your fingertips, it would be an optimal choice to get your hands on a lookup report before you start looking for a good used car deal.
Make use of VinFreeCheck's free and fast lookup service, and you'll have peace of mind when shopping for a used car!
Is it Legal to Perform these License Plate Lookups?
Yes, we comply with the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), as we do not disclose information about the vehicle's owner personal details. Our license plate lookup does a reverse lookup to obtain the VIN number and query the vehicle history reports for it. Nothing in our report is personably identifiable to a particular individual.
Additionally, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows any individual the right to access to information collected by the government. There's no reason for you not to give our auto license plate lookup tool a try. It's totally legal and FREE!
State Based Informational Guides
We have compiled a list of state specific guides for you. Feel free to check them out.