Driver's Guide

How to Register a Stolen Car [A Crime Busted]

Howdy, Driver? Did you recently buy a car you think is stolen? Well, I will expose how to register a stolen car legally, but only if the police admit the registration. Of course, it is advisable to inform the police or the court before you register a car you know to be stolen.

how to register a stolen car

What happens if you buy a stolen car unknowingly? If you buy a stolen car unknowingly, the motor vehicle department may figure out that the car is stolen and will not register the car. The agency may detain you for questioning regarding the stolen car and you may be fined and jailed. However, if the crooks you bought the car from succeeded in making the stolen car legal, you will not have difficulties registering the stolen car or even risk a jail term.

Unless the police pull you over to run a check on the car, nobody will know that you are driving a stolen car. Also, if you do not report the vehicle to the police, it increases the chance that you’ll end up in jail unless you are able to prove that you are unaware that the vehicle is stolen.

In this article, I will reveal the information you should know regarding how to register a stolen car you bought unknowingly.

How to Register a Stolen Car

In this section, I will drill you on the basics of registering a stolen car you bought unknowingly.

Buy the Car through a Mechanic Lien

You recently discovered that the car you have been driving is a stolen car. Sincerely, you are not at fault, even though the best option is to report the vehicle to the police as stolen.

What happens if I unknowingly buy a stolen car

But if you intend to defy the odds of running into trouble, you could simply dump and buy back the car from a mechanic.

Over my years of experience, I can tell that the automotive business is one of the dirtiest businesses out there.

It is a profession that accommodates lots of crooks that go about VIN-switching and making stolen vehicles legal.

First, you want to drive to the nearest and infamous mechanic shop near you. Discuss your fate with the mechanic and assure them of a lofty percentage in the deal.

They will advise you to report to the police but because you insist, the mechanic will agree to get a mechanic lien and put up the vehicle for auction. Of course, you will win the bid and buy back the car.

The reason for auctioning the vehicle, according to the mechanic would be that you could not afford the cost of repairs. And the stolen car will remain in the storage yard where it accrues storage charges all for the sake of having it in the record that the owner could not afford the cost of repairs.

In truth, nothing is wrong with the vehicle, and the debt will not affect your credit score because the deal does not even exist.

So, after you win the auction, what? You will obtain a title legally and register the car without a problem.

Sue the Dealer

In any country, it is tough to register a stolen vehicle without going under the table. The reason is that there are checks, especially in advanced motoring agencies, when you go to register the car.

Someone stole my registration from my car

If you have a title at all, it is either the title is not registered with the state or it is fake.

So, to register a stolen vehicle legally, your best shot is to report to the police. The chance is that the police will seize the car and return the plates, if any, and if you purchased the car legally.

Next, contact the attorney and discuss suing the dealer that sold you the car. Of course, the attorney will fight to regain the money you paid for the vehicle, and the crooks might even pay for the cost of the attorney.

In essence, do not keep that vehicle because you never know when you will be pulled over for checks. And when the cop identifies your car as stolen, you will have the justice system to contain with.

Register if the Car Was not Reported Stolen

If the car was not reported stolen but you believe it is stolen, you may proceed to register the car. Regarding how to register a stolen car, it is unethical to register the car if you are aware that it is stolen.

What happens if I unknowingly buy a stolen car

If the car is not stolen, it will reflect in the information on the VIN. If it does not, it is either the crooks switched the VIN with the VIN of a legal vehicle or the car was not reported as stolen.

Try Your Luck

Do you have the registration and title of the car? It is likely that the dealer issued these documents to you.

How to register a stolen car you bought unknowingly

Contact the motor vehicle agency and request to register the car. Of course, you want to pretend that you are unaware that the vehicle is registered. If the agency says they cannot register the vehicle because it is stolen, do not drive the car; it gives them the impression that you are aware that the vehicle is stolen.

You might want to confirm whether the registration and title you have are authentic. I believe they are fake unless the vehicle is registered with a different VIN.

Switch the VIN

Okay, since you are just discovering that the car is stolen but you want to keep it, you may want to switch the VIN.

Bought a stolen car with title

VIN-switching is illegal, and when you are caught, no excuse can provide you with immunity. You might want to read about the various techniques of VIN switching. The general method is VIN cloning and only a crook mechanic or a dealer can help to switch VIN.

You will buy a salvaged car with a similar color and model year to the stolen car in your possession. Then you will switch the parts of the car containing the VIN and take it to the local motoring agency for registrations.

Of course, the agency will register the vehicle for you as salvaged and issue you a title.

How Long Does it Take for a Stolen Car to be in the System

Typically, it takes about 6 months for a stolen car to be in the system; a crook takes a bit of time to make a stolen car become legal. And to sell the car to you as genuine, the crook would have to gather a fake paperwork such as a bill of sale to convince you to buy the stolen car.

If you recently discovered that the car you bought is stolen, it will take 5 months and additional weeks of investigation by the police for the car to be in the system.

However, I do not guarantee that the police will ever permit you to continue driving a stolen regardless of the fact that the original owner could not be traced.

The car would end up in the police impound until the day the police will auction the car. You may be fortunate to win the bid and regain owner of the car legally this time around.

Final Thought

Sometimes, the police may let you have the car; after all, you purchased the stolen car legally. Only that you would have some serious paperwork to handle. And it can only happen after the law enforcement agency nabs the crook(s) that sold the stolen car to you.

However, if you value peace of mind, go to the nearest police department and report the vehicle.

The police will require the title and registration, which you will hand over, and explain that you recently realized that the car is a stolen car.

The police will likely impound the vehicle after a series of investigations and if they cannot return the car to the lawful owner.

And if you admire the vehicle, you can buy the car from a police auction and acquire it legally. Before you report the stolen car to the police, inform the attorney in case the police attempt to hold anything against you.

Latest posts by Bernard Juchli (see all)

Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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