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Kentucky License Plate Search: How to Search Kentucky License Plate

Kentucky License Plate Search: How to Search Kentucky License Plate
October 30, 2022

Kentucky is one of the southeastern states in the United States. It is bounded to the east by the Appalachian Mountains and to the north by the Ohio River. 


If you are a resident of the Bluegrass State and you cannot afford a brand-new vehicle, you can opt for a pre-owned vehicle to save costs. 

However, how do you know the history of the car you wish to purchase? This is where a license plate lookup comes in. 


With a Kentucky license plate lookup, you can ascertain the vehicle’s market valuation, equipment details, current warranty, fuel efficiency, specifications, and National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) report. 

You can also discover details that the previous owner or dealership may not disclose. Continue reading to find out the meaning of Kentucky license plates, the types of Kentucky license plates, and how to perform a Kentucky license plate lookup.

a blank license plate on a car

Overview of Kentucky License Plates

Every vehicle on Kentucky highways and public roads must carry a license plate alongside current tags and auto insurance. Kentucky license plates consist of characters on metallic or plastic plates attached to registered vehicles in the state. 


It is illegal to drive on Kentucky roads without a license plate. 

Kentucky is a one-plate state, meaning every vehicle on its roads must have a license plate attached to the rear. In addition, the license plate must have a sticker displaying its expiration and renewal dates. 


The Kentucky Motor Vehicle Licensing Division of the Transportation Cabinet is responsible for issuing license plates to owners of vehicles. 

If you recently purchased a new vehicle or only recently moved to Kentucky, you have a 30-day window to register your vehicle with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KTC). You will be required to provide the following documentation:

* Title 
* Valid ID card
* Bill of sale
* Proof of insurance 
* Payment for registration fees.

After registration with the KTC, you will be issued a temporary license plate that must be visible on the car, or else you may have your car pulled over. 


Suppose your license plate sticker is damaged, stolen, or lost; in that instance, you can apply for a replacement. The County Clerk will provide you with a standard-issue plate and file a request to have your plate remade. 

Kentucky License Plate Lookup: Types of Kentucky License Plates

The Kentucky Motor Vehicle Licensing Division issues over 150 types of passenger and motorcycle license plates. However, there are two main categories of license plates; specialty and standard. 

Specialty number plates are at a premium in relation to standard plates and can be personalized. Specialty plates can be used to represent special interests or entities, as well as plates for armed forces and veterans. 

Other categories under which license plates are issued include university, military, independent college, regular, military motorcycle, special, disabled, miscellaneous, and special motorcycle plates. 

Further, Kentucky allows drivers with the military, special, and standard motorcycle plates to customize their number plates. 

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Personalized or customized plates are regulated under Kentucky Administrative Regulations (KAR) 601 KAR 9.012 and Section 186.164 and 186.174 of Kentucky Revised States. 

Customized passenger license plates consist of six numbers and letters in addition to a dash or space. Personalized motorcycle license plates include five characters consisting of figures and alphabets, with a dash or space. 


In addition, the state only allows numbers ranging from 1-9 and alphabets between A-Z, and there must be no indecency or vulgarity on the license plate. 

Why You Should Perform a Kentucky License Plate Search

For most people, running a license plate lookup is an excellent way of knowing a vehicle’s history. 


However, it goes beyond this; a license plate lookup can help you verify the owner’s information and other safety-related concerns. 


You can also confirm if the seller or dealership is being honest about the vehicle they are offering for sale. 

A quick search can help inform you about the vehicle’s past, including traffic violation history, arrests, title information, and if the vehicle has been involved in an accident or not. 


Other details disclosed through a license plate lookup include: 

* Salvage and junk records
* Odometer verification
* Owner information 
* Total loss records
* Vehicle options and manufacturer’s specifications 
* Accident and damage history 
* Vital statistics of the vehicle 

Kentucky does not, however, disclose the personal details of the owners. This is in accordance with the provisions of the Kentucky Driver’s Privacy Protection Law. 

Search Kentucky License Plate: How to Conduct the Lookup

Gone are the days when you have to visit the office of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to confirm the status of the pre-owned vehicle you wish to purchase. 


These days, to conduct a Kentucky license plate lookup, you only need a smartphone, computer, or tablet and an active internet connection. 


The Kentucky Motor Vehicle Licensing Division maintains an online database that allows residents of the Bluegrass State to conduct a license plate lookup. Here are steps on how to use the site: 

1. Open your browser and navigate to the Motor Vehicle Division website 
2. Fill out the necessary details
3. Enter the vehicle and the Request form’s plate number 
4. Click on “Submit”

The site will provide you with matching results, including images and videos submitted by the community.

It is important to note that this option is only available to the owners of the vehicles. Interested parties can also contact the DMV using the following details:

Kentucky Department of Motor Vehicles
200 Mero Street
Frankfort, KY 40622
You can also reach out via phone:

There are also other third-party platforms that offer free or paid services for license plate lookups. 

a man sitting in front of a laptop with a coffee cup and a notepad


Most free platforms provide basic information, while paid sites offer more comprehensive reports collated from government-based agencies. Some of these third-party websites include:

* VinPit
* AutoCheck
* Cebia 
* Bumper
* AutoDNA
* CarVertical 


If you are looking to purchase a pre-owned car in the state of Kentucky, a Kentucky license plate lookup must be on your to-do list. 


You can employ any of the techniques discussed above to perform a Kentucky license plate search, and discover valuable details about the vehicle that you are about to purchase.

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