In an effort to combat auto theft, the Mexican government has created a free phone app that allows people to check if a particular vehicle is reported stolen or not. The app is called ChecAuto MX and it is available for Android and iOS.
The two easiest ways to check a vehicle are by license plate number (placa) or the vehicle identification number (número de serie/NIV). It is not likely that you’ll have the other two numbers handy (folio or NCI).
The app has a photo feature that can read the license plate and automatically enter the data — well, in theory it’s supposed to work that way. I wasn’t too impressed with the camera option and found it much easier to just enter the information myself.
Once you enter the vehicle information, it will tell you if it is reported stolen or not. If the vehicle has been correctly entered into a government tracking program called REPUVE, then the program will return detailed information about the car (see below).
Tips for Using It
More often than not, you’ll only receive a short message indicating that the vehicle is not reported stolen without any additional information about the vehicle.
If the vehicle has a REPUVE sticker on the windshield (shown below), then the check should return detailed information on the car.
If it doesn’t, it could be due to one of the following: 1) the system is down, 2) the license plate was not correctly linked with the vehicle in the REPUVE system (most likely cause), or 3) the license plate is not assigned to that vehicle.
If you’re buying the car and this happens, check the vehicle by the vehicle identification number (número de serie/NIV) or the REPUVE number (circled above) in another site. Click HERE for more information about that.
What Happens If the Vehicle Is Reported Stolen?
If the vehicle is reported stolen, an alert will be automatically sent to the authorities (it is unclear who that is exactly) and the app will ask you if you want to call 911 to make a report.
If the car was previously reported stolen and later recovered, the app will tell you that too:
Let’s Wrap This Up
This is a useful app if you’re buying a used car in Mexico, or if you’re bored and want to help the police recover stolen vehicles in your area.