Can I sell my car without a V5C?

Last updated November 10, 2021

Selling a car without a V5C could deter potential buyers from purchasing your car despite it being completely legal to sell your car without. This is due to the DVLA advising against buyers purchasing a vehicle without a valid logbook for several reasons. The primary reason is that somebody selling a stolen vehicle is unlikely to have a V5C document and not having one could raise suspicions with a potential buyer.

Replacing a V5C document is not expensive and can be done easily via the government website. To apply for a replacement logbook, you will need to be the registered owner of the vehicle and you should receive your new document within 5 working days. The service costs £25 and requires you to apply online with the vehicle registration, VIN number of your vehicle, your name and postcode.

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What is a V5C?

A V5C, also known as a log book is a document about your car that includes information such as the registration plate, the make and model, colour, engine size and details on the previous owners.

The logbook is a booklet of perforated pages that are removed and sent off under different circumstances, such as if you have sold the vehicle to trade, dismantler, or insurer. According to the DVLA, a V5C document can’t be used as proof of ownership and instead indicates who is responsible for registering and taxing the vehicle.

Whilst most other car documents are now online, the log book has remained in paper form. Despite this, you can now change ownership and the address of a vehicle online, which was introduced to make the process easier and save you having to tear off the relevant section of the V5C document and post it to the DVLA.

How to replace a V5C document

It is a very straightforward process to replace your V5C if it has been lost, damaged, or destroyed. You can apply for one online here, which is the quickest option and will take around 5 working days to be posted to your address. If you don’t feel you are able to follow the online process, you can also contact the DVLA over the phone, however, keep in mind it takes six weeks to receive your log book if you apply this way. The fee to get a replacement V5C is £25.

You won’t be able to get a replacement log book online if your name or address has changed, or the vehicle has been sold or transferred to a new owner. If either of these apply to you, you’ll need to apply for a new logbook by post and you should usually receive a new V5C document within 6 weeks.

What if you bought your car without a V5C?

Sometimes a genuine seller can misplace the V5C document, and you may have bought a car without the log book. However, we recommend that before you exchange any funds, you should ensure the seller is the registered owner of the vehicle and conduct a vehicle history check to make sure there is no outstanding finance on the vehicle and that it hasn’t been declared stolen.

After you have conducted the relevant checks, you can get the seller to apply for a replacement logbook online so that you don’t have to buy the car without it. The seller will have to pay £25 and the new duplicate logbook will be sent to the address on the V5C document. Instead of buying the car without the log book, you should consider waiting a few days until the owner has all the correct documentation before transferring any funds.

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