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What documents do I need to sell my car?

October 26, 2021 by

Having your paperwork in order will help the sale of your car to go smoothly, and in some cases not having it could put buyers off or stop the sale in its tracks.

What paperwork do you need to sell a car?

Technically speaking, you can sell a car without any paperwork, but it can be a hassle. Not having the right documentation can lower the value of your vehicle and put buyers off. Here are the documents you should have to make your life easier when you come to sell.

  • V5C logbook
  • Service history
  • MOT certificate history
  • Repairs and parts receipts
  • Remaining car warranty
  • Number plate retention form (V317) if applicable
  • Car owner’s handbook
  • Proof of reservation and purchase receipts

V5C logbook

The V5C, otherwise known as the vehicle’s logbook, is the most important piece of paper when it comes to selling your car. This is what you’ll use to transfer ownership of the car over to the buyer.

What you do with the V5C depends on whether you sell the car privately or sell it to a dealer. If you sell it privately, you’ll fill out section 2 and 6, whereas if you sell it to a dealer you’ll fill out section 4. A lot of dealers will take the whole V5C document and send it off for you.

If you sell your car privately you must make sure you fill out the relevant sections and post it to the DVLA as soon as possible after the sale, as you will still be responsible for any tickets picked up in that vehicle until the DVLA are notified of the change in ownership.

Alternatively, you can fill out an online form on the DVLA’s website to transfer ownership of the car. Once this is done, the new owner will get a new V5C through the post proving the vehicle is now registered in their name.

While it is possible to sell your car without the V5C logbook, it can be complicated and may put a lot of buyers off. If you’ve lost your V5C, you can apply for a new one online.

Service history

A comprehensive service history is a key aspect of getting the best price for your car because it shows that the vehicle has been looked after and maintained well.

The car’s service book is normally in the folder with the owner’s manual and the servicing dealer should stamp it when a service has been carried out. It’s worth checking when picking your car up after a service that the book has been stamped.

The service book will also detail what type of service has been carried out, when it was done and what the mileage was at the time.

You’ll need to give these documents to the new owner for them to continue the service schedule on the car.

MOT certificate history

An MOT is a health check for your car to make sure it’s roadworthy. Any car over three years old has to have an MOT certificate to be legally driven on the road, so any prospective buyer is going to want to see it.

They will want to see that the car has a valid MOT, but also check if it has any outstanding advisories that may need attention.

The MOT records reveal a lot about the condition of the car and how it’s been treated.

Nowadays, it’s not such an issue if you don’t have all of the paper MOT certificates for your car because you can use carwow’s online MOT history check tool. However, it never hurts to have the hard copies, as well as any invoices for advisory work that’s been completed.

Repairs and parts receipts

Any time you get a repair carried out on your car, the garage should give you an invoice detailing any work that has been done and what parts were used.

When you sell the car, having evidence of when essential maintenance has been performed and with quality parts can help seal the deal.

Remaining car warranty

If the car you’re selling is still under warranty, you’ll need to tell your provider that the car has been sold.

In most cases, the car’s warranty can be transferred to the new owner. If this is the case, it could help you secure a better price for your car.

If you do intend to transfer the warranty, the new owner will need any documentation you have for it.

Number plate retention form (V317)

This one only applies if you have a private number plate that you want to retain for your next car.

You can download a V317 form from the website, and there are two options for keeping your plate.

You can either apply to transfer it straight onto a different car, or keep it on a retention document for 10 years if you haven’t yet bought a new car. The fee for both of these is £80.

Simply fill out the form and send it back to the DVLA.

Car owner’s handbook

The owner’s handbook is usually found in the glovebox and is effectively the instruction book for the car.

It contains all the information the new owner will need to operate things like the infotainment system. It also has the car’s specifications for tyre pressure, fluid levels and similar maintenance items.

Proof of reservation and purchase receipts

When someone comes to view your car, it’s not often the case they will pay the full amount there and then. They may need to go away and sort their finances out or get a loan from the bank.

In the meantime they may leave a holding deposit to secure the car, and this is where you’ll need to give them a receipt as proof they have left a deposit. The receipt should include:

  • Seller’s name
  • Buyer’s name
  • The vehicle make, model, registration and VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)
  • The deposit paid
  • The balance outstanding on collection of the vehicle
  • The date the deposit was made
  • Signature of the seller and the buyer.

You and the buyer should have a copy of this document. It will protect you from any arguments about the agreed price when the buyer returns to collect the car, and it gives the buyer peace of mind that the car has been secured.

When they return to collect the car, you should then fill out the same receipt again, this time detailing the full amount paid, and again have one copy for you and one for them.

Sell your car with carwow

If you want a hassle free way to sell your car for the best price, you can get a free quote through carwow.

Simply enter your registration, answer a few questions and upload some photos of your car. You’ll then get prices back from our trusted dealers who will arrange inspection and collection of your. You can just sit back and relax.