How to sell a car without a V5C logbook

January 12, 2024 by

Lost your V5C logbook and looking for answers about how to sell your car? We have all the information you need

If you’re here, you’re probably looking to sell your car without a V5C logbook — and wondering if it’s even legal to do so.

The good news is, yes you can, but it’s a little trickier than it would be with it. Read on for the carwow guide to selling your car without a V5C.

Oh, and once you have a V5C, you can now sell your car through Carwow. See how thousands of dealers could be bidding to buy your car. It’s free to use and simple to do.

What is a V5C and why is it important?

The V5C for your car, commonly referred to as the logbook, is the registration document that has your details and information on the car. It’s not legally proof of ownership, but is used to show who is responsible for taxing and registering the car.

While many other aspects of motoring have gone fully digital, the V5C is still sent out in paper form. You can update the details online, but there is no fully digital copy.

On top of indicating the name and address of the registered keeper, the V5C contains other information such as the make and model, colour, engine size and a car’s unique Vehicle Identification Number. These can be checked against the car to make sure the logbook is for that particular vehicle.

Can I sell my car without the V5C?

It’s entirely possible to sell a car without a V5C logbook, and 100% legal, though it’s worth the investment to get one before doing so.

Not having a V5C is likely to deter potential buyers, as it can be a sign of a stolen vehicle. Not to say that’s the case, but you do have to put yourself in the shoes of the person parting cash for your car who has never met you before.

You may even find buyers will look to haggle the price down in the absence of a V5C, so shelling out £25 for a replacement logbook and waiting for one to be issued may not look so bad with that in mind.

Buyers faced with a car with no logbook may worry that the seller has taken out a ‘logbook loan’. This involves borrowing money using your car as security, handing the logbook over to the lender as security until the loan is repaid.

If you are going to sell your car without the V5C though, here’s how:

Selling a car without the V5C

First, when you list the car for sale, make sure you’re clear and up front about the fact that it does not have a V5C. It’s better than putting off buyers by surprising them further down the line, and saves wasting both your time and the buyer’s by filtering out those who don’t want to buy it without the logbook.

Not having a logbook does not limit where you can sell the car, but you might find it even more difficult through a car dealer, who will be more likely to require full documentation.

Once the vehicle is sold, you’ll need to inform the DVLA of the sale in writing. You do this online using the Government’s official service, but you’ll need these details:

  • Your name and address
  • The vehicle registration number
  • The make and model
  • The exact date of sale
  • The name and address of the new keeper
  • How to change car ownership

One small but potentially helpful detail: if you know the document reference number on your V5C, perhaps because you wrote it down previously or took a picture of the document which you have since lost or misplaced, you can transfer registration of the vehicle using this, saving you having to wait for a new logbook. This will only likely work with a dealer who knows and trusts you: private buyers would be unwise to buy a car off the back of just a reference number; this also demonstrates why you should never share details from or images of your V5C on social media.

Getting a replacement V5C for your car

Despite the fact that it is entirely possible and legal to sell a car without a logbook, it is highly recommended that you get a replacement document before listing your vehicle. Doing so is quick and easy, and removes any concerns prospective buyers might have, ensuring you get the best price possible.

Replacing your V5C is done through the DVLA’s website. It usually costs £25, which can be paid by card, and you’ll need a few details including the vehicle’s registration number, chassis number (usually found on top of the dashboard of your car), your name and your postcode.

If you apply online, you should get your replacement document back within five days. Contact the DVLA if the new one hasn’t arrived and it’s been longer than two weeks since you applied for it.

What to do with a V5C when selling your car

Once the car is sold, you have to hand over the green ‘new keeper slip’ to the buyer, which acts as a temporary document showing the new owner’s name and address. You must then inform the DVLA that the vehicle has been sold, providing the full name and address of the buyer. This will also trigger any vehicle tax refund you might be owed.

If the new buyer plans to take the car abroad and register it there, you must fill out the ‘permanent export’ section and send it to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BD.

Selling a car without the V5C FAQs

What does a V5C look like?

The top half of the front of the V5C will look like this:

A V5C, or logbook, does not prove ownership of a car – it only shows to whom it is registered

The bottom half of the front will contain a box with the registered keeper’s address, plus some initial instructions and advice. Inside, you will find a series of green, blue and yellow colour-coded sections, which differentiate which section should be completed when you are buying or selling a car.

How long does a V5C take to arrive?

If you have bought a new car, the new V5C logbook in your name should arrive within four weeks. Notify the DVLA if it has not arrived after four weeks as, if it has still not arrived after six weeks and you failed to do this, you will have to pay £25 for a replacement.

If you have bought a second-hand car and the transfer has been done online, a new V5C should be sent out to you within three to five days. If transferring ownership by post, allow four weeks for the V5C to arrive, contacting DVLA if it does not materialise by then.

Can I view my V5C online?

Nope. While many administrative elements of the V5C have moved online, it is not possible to view the actual document via the internet.

Where can I find my V5C number without the logbook?

You can’t, unless you have previously taken a photo of the logbook or written the number down.

How do I know if a V5C logbook is genuine?

Hold the V5C up to the light and look for a ‘DVL’ watermark, which should feature throughout the document. The DVLA also advises that if the V5C’s serial number is between BG8229501 to BG9999030, or BI2305501 to BI2800000, it could be stolen and you should call the police.

Get a free valuation with carwow

Wondering how much your car is worth? Get a free, no-strings-attached car valuation from carwow. A network of trusted dealers will bid on your car and you can choose the best price. If you want to sell your car through carwow, you will need your V5C document.