MOT checker in France: how to check a car history?
In the UK, the DVLA allow anybody to check the MOT tests history of any vehicle. This tool works by simply providing the car number plate. IS there a similar MOT checker in France? Yes, it’s called HistoVec! And although more info is required to generate the report, its content is much more detailed. Here is how to check MOT history for a French car.
Why a MOT check?
Used car scams are still all too common, in every country in the world. Dangerous vehicles that have been patched up with the complicity of crooked experts, doctored odometer, dodgy history… There are many ways to pass off a used vehicle for what it is not. In France, a tool aiming at fighting those scams appeared in 2018. Alarge part of those frauds can be avoided by checking the HistoVec report of a car prior to its purchase. It is a significant step towards more transparency on the second-hand car market.
This initiative was launched with Measure 16 of the major road safety plan of January 2018. To put things into context, the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) had noted, after checks carried out in 2016, that nearly half of French second-hand professionals were selling cars with « abnormalities » (minor or serious). It was therefore necessary to act. This is now done with the creation of this platform allowing you to check the history of any used vehicle registered in France. It keeps getting improved. For example, full MOT history was added in 2021.
How to know the history of a used car
The HistoVec platform, developed by the government, is not a chimera (don’t be fooled by the BETA word on the screenshot above). It has been around for a few years now. This means that any motorist is able to take advantage of it before buying a used car in France. By providing the registration number of the vehicle as well as the “formula number” (unique number of the gray card, the “numéro de formule”), it is possible to get acquainted with important elements of the history of the car, to check all the MOT tests:
- Origin (if the vehicle was registered in France or imported)
- Serious accident (if the vehicle has been subject to a damaged vehicle procedure)
- Owners (the system will show how long the current owner has owned the car, as well as the history of ownership transfers)
- Administrative situation to display any anomaly: unpaid fines, stolen car, lien, dangerous vehicle…
- Mileage history
- MOT history
How to do a MOT check with HistoVec?
In principle, it is not possible to obtain the report for the vehicle you want to buy yourself without some info. Only the person who is in possession of the gray card (V5) is able to generate the report. As a buyer, you will have to ask the seller to do the process for you. Or ask him/her to provide you with the information you need to generate it. If he/she refuses, there may be something wrong.
On the HistoVec website you will find a « I’m requesting the report to the seller » button as a buyer. This script only generates a pre-filled email in which you just have to indicate the recipient. You can of course ask the seller to generate the report orally.
How to generate a HistoVec report, the French MOT checker, as a seller?
- Visit the official website
- Click on the green button
- If you are a business, click on the Business tab
- Fill in the fields
You will then be able to share the report with any potential buyer.
What do I need to make myself a MOT check in France as a buyer?
4 pieces of information are needed to use the MOT checker in France:
- First name
- License plate number
- “Numéro de formule” on the car registration certificate (a unique number), or car registration date if old number plate
How do you know if a car has been in an accident?
How do you know if a used car has been involved in an accident? HistoVec can provide information about certain accidents. That is, only if the car has been subject to an official procedure such as VGE, VEI, etc. In other words, when the crash was serious, in terms of financial damage or threat to safety. You will therefore not find information in the report concerning smaller claims. To find out more about this, you can try to contact an official dealer. Some issues might also show up in the French MOT history.
Conclusion MOT checker in France
To conclude, some useful information about this database concerning the history of French used cars:
- HistoVec is completely free
- At first only vehicles with a rather recent license plate (SIV) were searchable (i.e., in AA-123-ZZ format), this is now also possible for some older FNI vehicles (before 2009)
- You need the name and surname of the owner, the car number plate and the “numéro de formule” (or the date of the registration certificate for older cars) in order to generate this MOT check report