If you want to sell your car but find you're missing the V5C logbook, you're probably wondering what your options are. Although the V5C is the most important document when selling a car, there are still a few things you can do if you don't have one.
Selling a car without a V5C logbook is legal, but your options are limited. Learn what you can and can’t do if you want to sell your car without one.
Can I Sell My Car Without a Log Book (V5C)? [2023 Guide]
In 2022, 130,389 cars were reported stolen in the UK — up from just over 100,000 in 2021. Around one-third of these vehicles are never recovered.
It goes without saying that many thieves steal a car because they plan to sell it. Those who do attempt to sell their stolen vehicles remove the V5C logbook first because it contains important information about the true owner of the vehicle.
As this is common practice, a missing V5C logbook is one telltale sign of a stolen vehicle. That's precisely why you shouldn't sell a car without it — it will turn away many potential buyers and force you to come down on the price.
Still, it is perfectly legal to do (and not as difficult as you may think). This article shows you what your options are and how it's done.
What is a V5C, and why is it important?
The V5C logbook is a vehicle registration document issued to every vehicle in the UK by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). It contains important information, including:
- Name and address of the registered keeper (i.e., the car's main user who registers and taxes it)
- The make, model and colour of the vehicle
- Engine size
- Fuel type
- Date of registration
- Registration number (number plate)
- Date of registration
The V5C is printed on two sheets of red paper folded in half to create a four-page booklet. Since it contains all your information, it acts as proof that the vehicle in fact belongs to you.
The V5C logbook plays a critical role in the car-selling process. In a typical sale, your buyer would ask for the V5C as proof of ownership. When it's time to transfer the car to its new owner, you would hand them a green V5C/2 slip indicating they are the new keeper. You would then notify the DVLA and send in your V5C. In response, they would mail a new V5C to the new owner.
Selling a Car Without a V5 Document: Is it possible?
Selling a car without a V5C document is indeed possible and 100% legal. However, having the V5C makes the selling process easier. Despite not having the document, the validity of your sale remains intact, and you won't face any negative repercussions. It's always a good idea to provide any other relevant documents you have to the buyer to ensure transparency and build trust in the transaction.
There are a few caveats, however.
Selling a car without a V5C looks shady.
The DVLA officially states it is never a good idea to purchase a vehicle that doesn't have a V5C. That right there is enough to make some buyers shy away from a purchase.
Frankly, we have to agree with the DVLA on this one. A car with no V5C could cause them to:
- fall victim to a car selling scam.
- purchase a car that doesn't work as promised.
- take ownership of a stolen vehicle.
- become liable for unpaid debt.
- bear the costs of a written-off car.
Selling a car on finance without paying off the loan would force the new owner to take care of the outstanding debt. It's also somewhat common for people to sell a salvaged car without informing the buyer, which could land the buyer in trouble if it isn't roadworthy.
You won't get as good of a price.
Put yourself in your buyer's shoes. Even if you know your sale is legitimate, how could they?
You may have a legitimate reason for not having a logbook. Maybe you purchased the vehicle without it. Maybe it was lost or destroyed. But your buyer (who doesn't know you at all) has no reason to believe you.
If they do buy your car, the sale won't come without a good dose of skepticism. Since your situation is more "desperate" than a seller with a V5C, you'll have to start with a lower asking price. It's simply the cost of doing business without a logbook.
It isn't always possible to sell your car without a V5C.
Because of the implications, you will have a rough time selling your car online if you don't have a V5C. Most dealerships won't take it, either.
For third-party car resellers, it's a liability issue — if they don't know exactly where your car came from, they won't be comfortable selling it to another buyer.
Even if you plan on selling a non-running car to a scrap yard, most will have policies against doing so without a V5C because of the liability.
So while it is possible to sell your car without a V5C, your options are limited and the odds are stacked against you.
How to Sell Your Car Without a V5C Logbook
If you decide that selling your car without a V5C logbook is a better option than replacing it beforehand, you can use the following steps to carry out the process:
1. Prepare your other documents.
Aside from your V5C logbook, there are other documents needed to sell your car. These include:
- Service and maintenance records
- Parts receipts
- A valid MOT certificate
- Receipts of purchase and ownership
Having all your other documents will help you build rapport with potential buyers.
2. Get an HPI check.
A car without a V5C could be stolen or have an outstanding loan attached to it. To prove your buyer isn't taking a risk and you aren’t selling a damaged car, you should get an HPI check on the vehicle (and a printed report) so they know exactly what's going on.
Presenting this information with the rest of your documents can reassure your buyer you aren't trying to scam them.
3. List your car for sale and clearly state it is missing its V5C.
Since selling your car is still legal, you can list it on classified sites like Autotrader and Gumtree. You may also find success listing it on marketplaces (e.g., Facebook Marketplace).
On your advert, clearly indicate you are missing your V5C logbook to avoid wasting buyers' time. You must also warn them that they can’t pay taxes for the vehicle or change information in the registry until they order a replacement V5C.
4. Include as much information about your car as you can.
Just as you would with any car, include the make, model, year of manufacture, and any other details that will help the buyer know what they're getting. Also mention accessories, replacement parts, or repairs you've done on the vehicle.
The more descriptive you are, the better your chances will be of making a sale without the V5C.
5. Notify the DVLA.
You will have to inform the DVLA in writing that you have sold your car and transferred ownership. Fortunately, you can notify them online. All you need is the following information:
- The vehicle's registration number
- Your name and address
- The name and address of the new keeper
- The date you sold your car
- How you sold it
6. Create a bill of sale.
For your buyer to apply for a new V5C, they need the appropriate vehicle information. This includes the following:
- Vehicle make and model
- VIN plate number
- Your full name
- Your buyer's full name
- A signature from both parties
- Sale price, date and payment terms
- Acknowledgement that the vehicle is "sold as seen"
7. Ensure the new owner is officially the registered keeper.
Once they have the necessary information, they will have to fill out form V62 to apply for a new logbook. This will make them the vehicle's registered keeper.
If they do not do this, you will still be liable for any fines, road tax or other penalties incurred on the vehicle.
8. Verify with the DVLA you no longer bear legal responsibility.
Once your buyer fills in the V62 form, they will receive a new logbook in the mail in about five days.
Keep in touch with them until then. When they mention they received their new V5C through the post, reach out to the DVLA to make sure that they are now the legal keeper and you will no longer be held liable for fines.
Getting a Replacement V5C for Your Car
If you are the registered keeper you can easily replace your V5C. It's incredibly easy — all you have to do is apply for a duplicate using their online V5C replacement service. It costs £25 to replace and takes about five days to receive in the post.
Replacing your V5C is 1,000x easier (and smarter) than selling your car without one. You can fill out the form in a matter of minutes, pay £25 and be done.
Then, your options are nearly unlimited when it comes to selling your car. You can sell it online or through a private dealer without hassle. Most importantly, you'll get a much better price.
What to do with a V5C when selling your car
When selling your car with a V5C, all you have to do is fill out sections 2 ('Selling or transferring my vehicle to a new keeper) and 6 ('New keeper') with the new owner's relevant information.
Your buyer keeps these small green slips (shown above). You are responsible for notifying the DVLA through their online portal (same as the V5C replacement service). Within five days, the new owner will receive a new logbook through the post.
Want to learn more? These are the questions our sellers ask us most.
Do I need my V5 to scrap my car?
Since it is not required by UK law, you do not need to have a V5C to sell your car to a scrap buyer. You can inform the DVLA you took the car to an ATF (Authorised Treatment Facility). Still, these dealers prefer to have documentation because it absolves them of the potential liability associated with your car.
What should I do if I’ve lost my V5 and want to sell my car?
If you've lost your V5C logbook and want to sell your car, your best option is to order a replacement. You can easily order one on the UK government's website and it only costs £25. This is a comparatively small amount considering you won't have many options for selling a car without it (and can't expect nearly as much money for it).
Could I get in trouble for selling my car without a V5?
From a legal standpoint, you can not get in trouble for selling a van or car without a V5C document. It is legal to do so and your car's new owner can still receive a V5C of their own without a problem. If you or the new owner fail to properly notify the DVLA of the transfer, however, you will be liable for the road tax — and failure to pay your road tax can land you in trouble.
Should I buy a car that doesn't have a V5C logbook?
The DVLA advises prospective UK car buyers to never purchase a car without a V5C logbook. This is because it's impossible to prove who owns a car without the appropriate documentation. The buyer should always insist on seeing the V5C document (or, if not available, apply for a new one) before buying — as well as other relevant documents like service records and proof of MOT.
How do I know if a V5C logbook is authentic?
A common car selling scam involves selling a stolen car with a falsified logbook to help buyers feel confident in the purchase. To check the V5C document for authenticity, hold it up to a light source and look for the DVL watermarks on both sides.
How can I change the registered keeper's address without my V5C logbook?
To change the registered keeper's address without a V5C logbook, you will have to apply for a new one. First, fill out a form V62 to apply for the V5C. Then, you can fill out form V88 to change the address on your logbook. Address changes are free, but the new V5C will cost £25.
What should I do if I bought a car that doesn't have a V5C?
If you already bought a car without a V5C, do not worry — you can still get a V5C of your own. Provided your seller notifies the DVLA, all you have to do is fill out form V62, pay a £25 fee and send it to the DVLA. Unfortunately, you may end up waiting as long as six weeks for your new logbook. You might not be able to tax your vehicle, either.
Can I transfer ownership of a vehicle online without my V5C document?
Almost all online private dealers will automatically reject any car without a valid V5C. From a business standpoint, they would be taking on too much liability by accepting the transfer without one. The only option for selling a car without a V5C is to sell it offline as "sold as seen" with both parties signing a bill of sale. This way, you will still have evidence of the transaction and make it easy for the new owner to apply for a new V5C.
Where can I find my V5C number without the logbook?
Your V5C number is only labeled on your V5C document. If you have a photo of it or decided to write it down, you can access your V5C number that way. Other than that, you will have no way of accessing your V5C number without your document — in which case, you will have to apply for a duplicate V5C as soon as possible.
Can I view my V5C online?
Oddly enough, there is no way to access your V5C online. In an increasingly digitized world, the V5C remains an essential paper document for anyone who owns a car in the UK. You can, however, use the DVLA's online resources to handle numerous V5C-related tasks such as vehicle transfer of ownership, ordering a new V5C, changing the keeper's address, and more.
How long does a V5C take to arrive?
The DVLA assures every new V5C will arrive to the registered keeper within five days of ordering. Orders placed on weekends will take a bit longer, so they advise buyers to order their V5C at the beginning of the week for optimal delivery times or planning for additional days for weekend orders.
Can I still sell my car if I have a V5C/2 or V62 instead of the V5 document?
V5C/2 is a part of the V5C document and it is not available as a standalone form. If you have both parts, however, you can sell your car without issue. As for the V62, it is an application form used to apply for a duplicate logbook or change its information — that alone will not be enough to transfer ownership of your vehicle effectively.
Will selling a car without a V5 document affect its resale value?
You will almost certainly have to come down on the price if you're selling a car without its V5C document. The buyer will assume the trouble and costs of getting a new V5C logbook and adjust their offer accordingly. That's why it's a much better idea to apply for a new V5C before you sell your car.
What can I do to ensure a smooth selling process if I don't have the V5 document?
The most important thing to do to make the process go smoothly is provide all the other documentation your buyer needs to become the new owner. Reassure them you are a legitimate seller and provide them with other documents to back your claim (such as parts receipts, MOT certificates, and service history). Walk them through the process and follow up with them to ensure they fill out form V62 to apply for a new V5C.