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How to change car ownership

August 02, 2021 by

Selling your car is one of those things that, let’s be honest, tends to be a bit of a pain.

Well, if you want to make it dead easy you can now do so through carwow, with potentially over 3,000 dealers ready to make an offer on your car. Tap here to find out just how you can do that.

If you’ve sold your car privately though or very generously given it away to someone, you’ll need to inform the DVLA of the change of ownership. Wondering how to do that? This handy guide explains all.

How to change car ownership

Step 1: Check you have the V5C logbook for the car

This is something you should ideally do before listing the car for sale. Every car registered in the UK should come with a V5C and if you still have yours, great, that’s the first step done and makes life much easier.

If you’re not sure what this is, it’s typically a red book that may be in with your car’s other documentation — though cars registered prior to 2014 may have a blue one.

If you no longer have the V5C or didn’t have one in the first place, don’t panic. You can apply for a new V5C through the government website.

If nothing needs to be changed from the original V5C, it’s a reasonably simple process and will usually cost you £25.

If you do need to make changes to the original logbook, you’ll need to download and post a separate form to the DVLA.

Step 2: Tell the DVLA you’re transferring the car’s ownership

At the point of selling or, if you’re feeling generous, giving the car away, you’ve got two options.

Transfer car ownership by post

The first is to head to the DVLA website and fill out a form stating a change of keeper. This is a pretty simple process, you’ll just need details of the new keeper along with the 11 digit reference number from the V5C logbook.

Transfer car ownership online

Alternatively, you’ll need to complete section 2 of the logbook (or section 6 for older versions), take the green new keeper slip out of the V5C and pass that over to the new keeper. They’ll need this to tax the car.

You’ll then need to send the remainder of the V5C to the DVLA.

Step 3: All done

Once you’ve informed the DVLA, you shouldn’t need to do anything more. They’ll process the transfer in ownership and send a new V5C logbook to the new owner as soon as possible — this is usually within 4 weeks of you notifying them of the change.

FAQ: Transferring car ownership

Do I need to transfer ownership of a car?

If you’re selling or just giving a car to somebody, it’s a legal requirement to tell the DVLA you’re transferring ownership of it.

What happens if I don’t transfer ownership of a car?

If you sell or give a car to someone else without informing the DVLA, you could be fined.

Plus you’ll need to deal with any potential offences such as speeding tickets that the new owner commits if the car is still registered in your name, so it’s worth the small effort for avoiding that risk alone.

Can I transfer ownership to a family member?

Yep, you can. Even if you’re living at the same address, you’ll need to follow the process outlined above to transfer the car to another member of your family.

Can I transfer my car tax?

Unfortunately, you can no longer transfer any remaining car tax on a car you’ve sold. The new owner will need to retax the car in their name, and you’ll need to apply for a refund on any remaining months you have the car taxed for.

How do I transfer ownership of my car to a dealer or scrap yard?

If you’re selling your car to a dealer or scrapping it, you’ll need to hand over the full logbook to the trader and just inform the DVLA that you’ve done so. You can do that here.