Selling a car without a logbook

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need your car’s logbook in order to sell it. However, not having a current V5C makes the selling process a bit more difficult, and may deter potential buyers in the first place. And when the pool of potential buyers shrinks, so does the vehicle’s value, of course.

The reason why it’s so hard to shift a car without its current logbook is because the DVLA advise against purchasing a car that doesn’t have one. Sometimes a car will come without a logbook for a genuine reason.Though interestingly, the advice has lately been ‘withdrawn’ from the DVLA website (link here).

However, if the V5C is not present it could indicate that the car in question has a hidden past. It’s a valid concern because over 100,000 vehicles are stolen in the UK every year. So a lack of logbook will make any cautious buyer a little bit suspicious. This in turn makes it harder to sell the car.

What is a logbook?

The logbook, also known as the V5C registration document, serves as the official record of a vehicle’s ownership.

This important document identifies the legal keeper of the vehicle and is used by the DVLA to maintain accurate records of vehicle ownership transfers, whether through a sale or scrapping process.

In short, it plays a vital role in updating the DVLA’s database and ensuring the proper documentation of ownership changes.

As well as having the name of the current person who’s legally responsible for the car (the keeper), it will also have their address and some details about the car including the make, model and number of previous owners.

Do I need the logbook to sell my car?

Although highly recommended by the DVLA you don’t actually need the V5C document in order to sell your car.

The logbook does make the whole process easier though. Many potential buyers won’t consider buying acar that doesn’t come with a current and valid V5C, so it limits the number of people who are willing to buy your car.

The knock-on effect of this will be that the car is less desirable so if anyone does want to purchase your car they may reduce their offer to reflect the fact that they will have to sort out the V5C themselves.

The majority of dealers and private buyers will not consider purchasing a car without a V5C. This also goes for the large car buying companies like Webuyanycar. Fortunately if you don’t have a logbook because you’ve lost it, it’s fairly easy to get a replacement which will make selling your car that much easier.

How to sell a car without the logbook

In short, to sell a car that doesn’t have a logbook, you will need to give the new owner a Bill of Sale when you sell the car to them. The Bill of Sale must include the following information on it:

  • The make, model and registration number of the car
  • The car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • The full name of the buyer
  • The price of the car, and the terms of payment
  • Written confirmation that the car is sold as seen
  • The date of the sale
  • Signatures of both the seller and the buyer

The new owner of the car can then use the above information from the Bill of Sale to apply for a new logbook for the vehicle.

Do I need the logbook to scrap my car?

In short, no.

While it may be worth getting a V5C if you wish to sell your car, there really is no need if you’re just looking to scrap it. It’s perfectly legal to scrap your car without a V5C.  When you scrap a car without a logbook present you need to ensure that it goes to an Authorised Treatment Facility, and any payments need to be made by a traceable means such as cheque or bank transfer. Once you’ve scrapped the car you then need to notify the DVLA.

Do I need a logbook to scrap my car?

I’ve lost my logbook! What do I do?

As mentioned earlier it’s possible to sell your car without a logbook, but there’s no denying that it will make the process more difficult.

The best advice if you’ve lost your logbook will be to get in touch with the DVLA and apply for a replacement. There are two ways to apply for a new V5C, depending on whether or not any of your details have changed since the last V5C was issued.

If your details have not changed, you can apply for a replacement V5C online on the .gov website, or by phone. The DVLA will need you to provide them with the following information:

  • The registration number of the vehicle
  • The vehicle’s VIN
  • The name and postcode on the most recent V5C

You will also have to make a £25 payment using a credit or debit card.

If any of your details have changed then the process is slightly different. In this case you will need to go to the DVLA website and download a V62 form. Once you’ve completed the form you’ll need to send it along with a cheque or postal order for £25 made payable to DVLA Swansea to the following address:

  • DVLA
  • Swansea
  • SA9 1DD

It can take a couple of weeks to receive a new logbook if you’ve had to fill in a V62 form.

If you haven’t received a logbook after four weeks then you need to contact the DVLA as soon as possible, because if 6 weeks pass and you haven’t notified them then you will have to complete the process again, which includes making another payment of £25.

How do I stop myself being scammed?

When selling a car without a logbook, it’s crucial to be aware of your legal obligations and take necessary precautions to prevent fraud, scammers or any an noying legal complications. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Proper Change of Ownership: As a seller, it’s your responsibility to ensure a proper transfer of ownership. This involves completing the necessary paperwork to notify the DVLA of the change in ownership. Without transferring the ownership officially, you might remain legally liable for the vehicle, including any fines or legal issues it may incur. Make sure to provide the buyer with a receipt or proof of purchase as evidence of the transaction.
  2. Notifying the DVLA: After selling the car, it’s essential to notify the DVLA promptly. This can be done by completing and sending the relevant section of the V5C logbook to the DVLA. Alternatively, you can notify the DVLA online using their vehicle registration service. By notifying the DVLA, you protect yourself from any liability associated with the vehicle after the sale.
  3. Honesty : Throughout the selling process, maintain honesty and transparency with potential buyers. Disclose any relevant information about the vehicle’s history, condition, and the reasons behind the missing logbook. Providing accurate information builds trust and reduces the risk of legal issues or disputes down the line.
  4. Verification and Documentation: Encourage potential buyers to conduct thorough checks to verify the vehicle’s history and ensure its legitimacy. Suggest options such as obtaining a vehicle history check or HPI report, which can reveal important details about the car’s past, including outstanding finance, previous accidents, or mileage discrepancies. Additionally, if available, provide any alternative documentation that supports the vehicle’s history, such as service records, MOT certificates, or repair invoices.
  5. Beware of Scams: Selling a car without a logbook may attract dodgy individuals who seek to take advantage of the situation. Be cautious of potential scams, such as buyers offering to pay through unconventional methods or requesting personal information unrelated to the transaction. Always prioritize secure payment methods, such as bank transfers or verified cheques, and be wary of any suspicious or unusual requests.
  6. Legal Advice: If you’re uncertain about any legal aspects or feel the need for guidance, consider seeking legal advice: a solicitor experienced in vehicle sales can provide valuable insights, help ensure compliance with legal obligations, and protect your interests throughout the selling process.

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Is it possible to sell a car without the logbook?

Yes, it is possible to sell a car without the logbook (V5C), but it may make the selling process more difficult and limit the number of potential buyers.

Can I scrap my car without a logbook?

Yes, it is legal to scrap a car without a logbook. However, it is important to ensure that the car is scrapped at an authorized treatment facility and to notify the DVLA afterwards.

What should I do if I've lost my logbook?

If you've lost your logbook, you should contact the DVLA and apply for a replacement. The process involves providing necessary information and making a payment of £25.

How we reviewed this article:

Our experts continually monitor motor industry news & research, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

  • 8th July 2023
    Current Article - By Harry Edwell
  • 5th January 2024
    Checked & Reviewed - By Sjoerd Bakker
  • 8th July 2023
    Copy Edited - By Harry Edwell
  • 29th April 2024
    Reviewed - By Gary McKrill

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